September 4, 2015


We asked young adults about to begin their college/university experience to tell us what they were looking forward to. And we asked those concluding their university experience what they learned that they wish they had known when they were freshmen. —Editors.

cannot wait for my college experience. I have looked forward to this part of my life ever since I was a little girl. Now that it’s almost here I’m beyond excited.

While I’m scared about the new challenges I will face when I leave home, I feel joy more than anything else. I look forward to the difficult classes, new friendships, and independence that comes with the college experience. These are only a few reasons that I’m optimistic about this new chapter in my life.

I know I will face difficulties that I’ve never dealt with before; I know that things won’t always be easy. But I know I will always have my family, my friends, and, most important, God, to rely on when the going gets tough.

—Kristen Varghese is a freshman at the University of Delaware.

I’m about to enter the craziest, scariest part of my life. Having parents who were college professors helped prepare me; no one knows college students better than someone who was surrounded by them daily. But that doesn’t mean that I’m gung-ho about this.

I don’t deal well with change. College is a huge change: new people, new classes, new environment—it’s all terrifying.

When you start college, you think,
Mom and Dad aren’t here! They’re not there to tell you eat this or do that. It’s easy to get a little crazy.

Spencerville Adventist Academy did pretty well preparing me for situations like this. There were always new freshmen, and I had to get used to new people. Spencerville also helped by changing our teachers between our freshmen/sophomore and junior/senior years, a change in routine. And we always had different classes each year, a new environment.

Over the summer my anxiousness has turned into excitement. I’m excited for something new, for something different. Yet at the same time I’m a little bit scared about being thrust into a new situation without my parents there to guide me through it all. But in reality, they’ve been preparing me for this my whole life: every life lesson, every chore, and every ounce of responsibility they instilled in me was all to prepare me; I just didn’t know it.

–Alexandra (Allie) Tennyson is a freshman at Andrews University.

Take school seriously. Figure out what your major is going to be. If you discover that your major is not right for you, it’s better to change early rather than late.

Study hard. Use your time wisely. Time goes by, and if you’re not staying on top of things, you will fall behind.

Take advantage of every opportunity you have to gain more experience, even if it’s just volunteer work.

Plan out your four years so that everything is nice and scheduled, and stick to that schedule. That way, when you get to your senior year, you have all your requirements and you’re ready to graduate.

You have to focus on school. It could be your first time away from home; you get more freedom, but you have to focus on school, because college is a lot of money, and if your grades aren’t up to par, you’re just wasting time and money.

You can’t coast. There are going to be hard classes, and you’re going to have to study.

If your department has a club, make sure you join it. When you’re interviewed for a job, they look to see if you’ve been involved in the clubs sponsored by your department.

—Zachary Sharpe is a senior at Andrews University.

For me, a big thing was knowing what I wanted to do with my life. It’s kind of hard to tell an 18-year-old, “Do what you want to do for the rest of your life.” My advice is: If you don’t really know what you want to do, save a little money and don’t go straight to school.

I’m an introvert. [As a freshman,] I loved to sit in my room and not be around people. I didn’t go to school functions; I didn’t try to reach out. I didn’t try to meet new people. I wish I had done that. You’re with those people for four years, and I’ve grown through that. I’ve learned to reach out a little more. I’ve learned that you can meet some awesome people, people whom you really need. It’s crazy how people come into your life when you need them.

Go to functions, because that’s where everyone is. Go to church, go to vespers, and you’ll meet a lot of awesome people. Be brave and proactive. Go out and do stuff.

—Emily Mastrapa is a senior at Southern Adventist University.

Pay attention in new student orientation. They give you a lot of helpful information.

You have to figure out your schedule. You have to figure out how to live with roommates. You sometimes have to mess up to figure out how to do something right.

What you learn in college has to be learned personally.

—Stephen Wade is a junior at Southern Adventist University.

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One of the biggest things I wish I had known [as a college freshman]: Don’t procrastinate. It is not fun. A lot of people say, “It’s all right; you have time. Don’t worry about it.” But it is stressful. Especially as you approach your senior year, you get busier, and procrastination really does affect you. You lose sleep; you don’t eat as well.

Another big one is the “freshman 15.” You don’t think it will happen, but it will. I wish people had told me, “Take better care of yourself. Watch what you eat; get better sleep.”

When you start college, you think,
Mom and Dad aren’t here! They’re not there to tell you eat this or do that. It’s easy to get a little crazy.

Get involved [in clubs and organizations]. A lot of people told me about clubs, but I didn’t get involved that much. I didn’t realize until later what an advantage it is to get involved. It opens a whole other social experience. I got involved in a business club, and it helped me get an internship.

I made sure to go to worships and convocations to be involved in discussions about spiritual topics.

—Evelyn Torres recently graduated from Southwestern Adventist University.