Talk to your Professors

By Emma Salo

The 2010/11 school year opens as does every other: with hundreds of freshman flocking to college campuses to pursue dreams of higher education, independence, and parties.  Despite their excitement, many are filled with trepidation for the new year.  A few University of Oregon graduate students offered advice for incoming freshman on how to survive the college experience.

Daniel Wang (pictured below), a graduate student in math, encourages students to talk to their professors.  “They’re people too.  We are all very giving people and if we can help in any way, we will.” He says that talking to professors is a great way to get advice and find out about research opportunities, especially in fields students are interested in.

Brand new graduate student Elizabeth Miskell, who’s focus is on indigenous people in South America, agrees that the number one piece of advice for incoming freshmen is to go to professors’ office hours.  “I wish I knew that when I was in college,” she says.  “Sit in the front row, too,” she adds.

Another math graduate student, Aaron Montgomery says college is simple, “Work hard and go to class.”  He says, “Things move faster and you have to be prepared to work harder than you did in high school.”  Montgomery adds that although socializing is important, it shouldn’t come before academics.  “Work as hard as you can to get your money’s worth,” he concludes.

Some students don’t just work on their academics, however, many have part-time jobs as well.  Wang talks about students who spend $30,000 on their college education, but then have to work part time jobs in order to be able to pay their tuition.  “It’s good to work, but you don’t want it to have a detrimental effect on your degree.”

Miskell’s final piece of advice for freshman is to leave their phones and computers at home.  “It’s so rude for people to play with their phone during class,” she says.  Computers are sometimes used for note taking, but are more often used for facebooking.  “Phones and computers are unnecessary.  Useful, but they don’t belong in class.”

Incoming freshman should be prepared to work hard, leave their technology at home, and talk to their professors. These simple things should help ensure a successful college career.

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