Approximately a year ago, I was frantically packing. Checking off a list with a red pen, I was attempting to ignore the nerves knotting in my stomach. Everything I had heard about college was from my older sister, who was happy to share; but her advice didn’t help quell any of my anxiety. College is this big what if?; there is a blindness that settles over you and leaves you hanging. My sister felt it, so did my friends, and sometimes, I still feel it even after traversing my freshman year. But Lesley is one of the most exciting places to be taking your next step in higher education. And every person at Lesley is here to make your experience the best it can be. But in case you’re feeling like you want a little bit of light to help you navigate your freshman year, I hope this article eases you in with training-wheel tips for a safe, happy, and fun first year at Lesley University.
- Hey, Look Up! You’re here!
In the midst of the packing, the stress, and the excitement, sometimes it’s hard to appreciate the little things. It took me most of my first week before I felt like I was really giving Lesley the chance it deserved. While some people can go in with no qualms, there are others that find the situation to be almost too overwhelming – I was one of those people. When you’re adjusting to a new life, whether on campus or off, it is almost like you’re oversensitive; it’s necessary to take a step back and really let your nerves settle. So, in these moments just take a second and breathe. Notice the quad, the tables and chairs are meant for a sunny day. Or those window seats in your dorm, perfect for curling up with a book. If you can stop for even only a moment and pacify some of the racing thoughts, I swear that you’ll feel a whole lot better about taking on this new journey.
- College and Class Go Hand in Hand
One of the things I was told most about going to college was that it didn’t matter if you skipped classes. This is false. You’re here at Lesley to get a degree, and attending classes is going to get you there. Not to mention, Lesley’s class sizes are small, which is one of its great defining features, and you will be missed! Don’t get me wrong, if you’re sporting a flu, then take the day, but otherwise, every class counts. There has yet to be a class that I have regretted taking, even with their hardships. Lesley makes sure to hosts classes that are compelling and span a broad spectrum of topics. If you don’t like a class in the beginning of the semester, then you can get a chance to try something new. But, in some cases, I found that when there was a class that I was iffy about, sticking with it was the better choice. The professors here are teaching for you. They want you to learn and to love what they are teaching you as much as they do. Lesley’s academic environment is supportive, positive, and as individualized as it can possibly be. Utilize your time here by making sure you attend classes as much as you can, because it is worth it in the end.
- Hi, Professor!
Make a point to know your professors, especially the ones that interest you. This was something that was told to me at orientation and while I kept it on my mind’s back burner, I never thought that I would put this tip into action. I found the classes where I had personal conversations with my professors were the ones that I fell in love with the most. Again, I mention, the professors are here for you as much as they are there for themselves. If you have a question, ask! If you’re too afraid or nervous to speak up in class, have a brief one-on-one afterwards, or see if you can stop in for office hours (they make these times for you, you know!). If a topic sparks your interest, follow up with them for extra material or an intellectual conversation. Having a professor as someone that you not only learn from, but that you acknowledge as a mentor is always a good thing. Knowing your professors also enhances your learning experience and can make classes that much more enjoyable. Plus, the more comfortable you feel, the more you’ll learn, and that’s what you’re here for.
- Get Involved!
You’ve heard this probably a million times, both in your high school and before college has even started, but it’s true. Especially as freshmen, getting involved in different clubs and organizations is a great way to make friends. Lesley hosts a club fair a few weeks into school, and it’s a great way to check out all the cool things going on here. I went and put my name on a bunch of lists of things that interested me. Even if I never followed through, it was nice to be updated about different clubs that I potentially wanted to attend in the future. Lesley’s club diversity is also impressive; we have everything from improv acting, to newspaper, to knitting, to anime – there is no way that you won’t be able to find something that piques your interest.
- They Call Them Resources for a Reason
Lesley provides so many assets to your college experience that you may find yourself taking them up on. Some of the resources you may consider are the Center for Academic Achievement, ten free sessions of counseling, and reaching out the librarians for research help. One of the things I wish I had taken advantage of first semester is the ability to chat with the research librarians on the library website. Everyone at Lesley is here to help, and this is a mindset that is welcoming especially when college can seem overwhelming. Reaching out for tutoring or counseling is something that Lesley provides for a reason, so take advantage of it.
- CAB Keeps Busy
The Campus Activities Board is an institution that helps bring more fun to campus. From comedians and musicians to bingo night, keep an eye on the posted monthly activities calendars. Lesley does an exceptional job of keeping college not just an academic engagement, but a social one too. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the workloads and the stress, but CAB works to provide fun stress relief and add a little more color to the college life. Grab a group of friends, or go alone, and attend something that you gravitated towards. And even if there is nothing in September that catches your eye, a new selection of events will be rolling around in just a few weeks’ time.
- This is Cambridge!
Lesley is located in one of the most creative and fun cities around. Cambridge has so many nooks and crannies that are just waiting to be explored. Even if you feel like a tourist for a day, it is fun to step outside of the campus bubble and explore a new section of the city you’ve come to live in. There is a reason that Cambridge appeals to college students besides it’s lively bustle, and that’s because there is always so much around that is just waiting to be looked at. Whether you are looking for food, coffee, books, trinkets, or clothes – or something entirely different – Cambridge can offer it all to you wrapped in a historic bow. If you’re too nervous to go alone, make a day of it with a friend. A day spent exploring is a perfect way to jump-start any relationship. Just remember that while it is a relatively safe area, it is a city. Be careful, whether on campus or off.
Coming to Lesley University was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. It pushed me out of my comfort zone, opened so many doors, and makes me feel more empowered than I have ever felt before. While it took me time over the semesters to come to a place where I felt like I was comfortable, I got there nonetheless, and it is achievable by all. So, whether you’re coming in with an air of confidence or feeling a little short of just put together, know that you will fall in love with your new life here at Lesley. Also remember that every experience is different, trust your instincts and if you need a little help, don’t be frightened to ask along the way. Lesley is a community first and we welcome you with open arms. Here’s to a wonderful four years!!!