Hey everybody! I’m not going to get overly sentimental here. I had a great time at JMU, but you don’t need to know my whole story. Instead, here is some advice that I wish someone would have given me as I entered my freshman year:
- Remember that you don’t know everything. In fact, you probably don’t even know as much as you think you do, really. You are obviously very intelligent considering your acceptance to JMU, but one of the most profound and important aspects of your college education will be encountering new ideas and knowledge that will really change how you view the world. Be open to this; it means you’re growing up.
- Don’t stress too much, especially during your freshman year. Looking back, I remember hanging out with friends in the Village and goofing off, not what I got on a math quiz.
- Ditch whatever concepts of popularity or social status you may have learned in high school. There are no popular kids or prom kings in college. Instead of forming cliques and chasing social recognition, search out different kinds of people who you may not have interacted with prior to college and embrace the idea of forming real relationships with individuals who will challenge you as a person. Basically just try to be kind!
- Respect your professors. You will eventually enroll in a course that you will not be particularly fond of, or you will have professor you don’t always agree with. Just remember that JMU professors are experts in their fields and are some seriously smart people. They know what they are talking about, so try to learn as much from them as possible while you can.
- My favorite place to study on campus was the basement of Carrier Library, which is called the Media Resources Center. They have computers and big desks and an extra chill atmosphere. Check it out if other places are crowded.
- Read books and watch movies and listen to music. This will probably be the best time in your life to fill your brain and experience art, so take advantage of that. In my opinion, if you’re not reading books, you can’t really expect to be a functioning adult and navigate all the weirdness of life.
- Walk everywhere. It’ll help you stay in shape and later on if you end up off-campus you won’t be as reliant on finding a parking space.
- Learn to love alone time. You’ll likely be surrounded by people for most of your first few weeks at JMU, but after that you’ll also have a lot of time to yourself. Take this time and nap or think or do one of the things I mentioned in my last piece of advice. Being able to be comfortably alone is a really useful skill, and will make your social escapades that much more fun.
Well that’s what I got for you. Hopefully some of that is helpful! I’ll always remember my time at JMU, and I’m jealous of your new beginning. Good luck and enjoy yourself!