First, welcome to the campus. Whether you are new to the university, or new to the area, or both, we’re glad you are here. Here are a few helpful hints that may make things a little easier, as you get adjusted to your new surroundings.
- All of the clichéd blogs and Facebook posts you’ve seen– the ones about “putting yourself out there” and “expanding your comfort zone”– are all true. High school is much easier than college; the majority of the time, you grow up with the same people you graduate with; so in reality, you have 12 years of routine and comfort to hide your inability to meet new people. However, Lesley is a very small school, and many people here are either an athlete, an art major, a thespian, a dancer, a singer, or a combination of those. (And let’s not forget the journalists and creative writers!) There really is something for everyone and at all levels. Most of the clubs on campus are not competitive and are centered around bringing people together. Many athletic teams offer walk-on options, most art majors have clubs associated with their classes, and Lesley puts on a multitude of galleries to go with friends! We have over 50 clubs on campus (including the Journalism club). Lesley is truly as big as you want it to be, and if you put yourself in a position to succeed here, you will.
- Take advantage of where you are. I believe the two greatest benefits of Lesley are the size and the location. With only 2,000 undergrad, and a 12:1 student to professor ratio, you will experience a much more intimate style of learning. Most of my professors I have had for several semesters in a row, and I am on a first name basis with a few of them. At Lesley I am 100% confident that if I need to meet with a teacher that I can make it happen in a matter of days. Getting comfortable with professors and other staff will be huge for future you when looking for recommendations in your field. Take advantage of it!! Also, take advantage of Cambridge! The Harvard and Porter T stop are less than a 10 minute walk away and can lead you straight to downtown Boston. Even if you are from Massachusetts, living in Cambridge is especially a privilege. This city has a lot of history and beauty, and plenty of drinking, shopping, and eating spots.
- My personal favorite spots around Boston and Cambridge that are cheap or even free would be: The Lawn on D, MFA (you can get in free with your student ID), The Cambridge Common (right on Mass ave), Tasty Burger (late at night), Montrose Spa (across the street from Admissions), Downtown Crossing (off red line for shopping), Fenway Park (sometimes Lesley provides discounted Red Sox tickets), and the Boston Public Library (admission is free and it’s a great place to study or grab lunch).
- Try a global studies or art therapy class. Global Issues and Challenges (a psychology requirement class) offers an interesting perspective on crises happening all over the world. It’s a challenging course with a lot of depth into humanity and struggle. Art Therapy teaches a progressive style of healing, and you do not actually need to be good at art to participate. These are the two best classes I have ever taken at Lesley. If you come into Lesley undecided, I would recommend trying a introductory psychology, global studies, and or business course in your first or second semesters to get a grasp of what each major entails. If you feel like a major is not specific enough to what interests you, Lesley offers over 50 minors (including Communication and Media Studies).
- Brattle Hall has a better weekend brunch than White Hall Dining. (And even if White Hall is closer for you, it’s worth taking that walk!)
- Living with people can be tough, especially if you only met them during orientation or just online. The most important thing you can be is honest with your roommate. Ask the tough questions about personal space, privacy, and sleep schedules ahead of time. If you are more of a social butterfly type, White Hall might be more up your alley. If you are interested in substance free living, Mackenzie Hall is a quieter scene. Take where and who you live with seriously and maturely. Your roommate does not have to be your closest friend, but if you two are polar opposites, speak up to Reslife soon. Don’t let a bad roommate situation ruin your time here.
- Take advantage of the counseling center. If you’re having a tough time expressing yourself, adjusting to college life, or you just need someone to talk to consistently, the counseling center is always open. The first few sessions are completely free, and often the counselors also offer other types of therapy (including a therapy puppy that comes around). Counseling is not a taboo topic at Lesley; most of my friends and myself have at least spoken to or participated in a counseling session here. Everyone needs extra help from time to time. As I said earlier, Lesley really is as big as you want it to be. There are so many programs, clubs, interesting classes, and activities (we also get a number of guest speakers); all of this facilitate community and participation on campus. We are also in the biggest college city in America, with so many other schools and so many college students around the corner. You should not limit yourself to anything on campus or in the city. Use all of your resources, both on and off campus, and you’ll never be bored! I wish you a successful and productive first year at Lesley!