Advice for First-year Students on Navigating the College Experience
Advice for First-Year Students on Navigating the College Experience
Fellow Terriers offer their heartfelt guidance
The academic school year is officially in full force. To help welcome our first-year Terriers to campus we tapped the shoulders of some of our sophomores, juniors, and seniors for their advice on how to best approach the college experience. From how to make friends to achieving your highest academic potential in college, their responses offer clarity to those who are trying to navigate this new transition.
“Get to know the people in your classes. You have time built into your schedule to see them, you already have at least one thing in common, and on a more practical level, you have someone to bounce ideas off of for assignments. Reach out, schedule homework/study sessions, walk to class together, grab a treat after a test, and go to office hours together—it really is a win-win.”
—Jenny Kornreich (COM’23)
“Be proactive. If there’s an issue, opportunity, or cause that no one else seems to care about, be the one to step up and take it on. Don’t allow yourself to become jaded and complacent.”
—Dhruv Kapadia (CAS’24)
“Involve yourself in extracurricular groups you’re interested in. I met some of my best friends in college by not holding back, and involving myself in everything. Also, don’t be scared to leave your door open when you’re hanging out in your dorm (and if your roommate is okay with it)—you’d be surprised how many friends from your floor you will make that way.”
—Mia McCarthy (Pardee’23, COM’23)
“Take your time. It’s going to feel like everyone around you is thriving and getting the hang of college. Trust me, they’re not. You’ll find your people with time.”
—Kennedy Williams (CAS’23)
“Really put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to speak to random people, even though it can feel awkward. That’s how I met my best friends in college.”
—Jade Brownstein (CAS’24)
“Take advantage of every opportunity BU gives (which are many) and talk to a lot of different people. BU is so big you can do many activities and take many courses. Don’t stay in your comfort zone.”
—Beatriz Iglesias (Questrom’23)
“Hey, Terriers. My advice is to GO FOR IT. Try your best to put yourself out there by going out of your comfort zone and being as active as possible. Do things that excite you, go on crazy adventures, form special bonds, and create some great memories along the way. Don’t be afraid to ask your upperclassmen any questions whatsoever and certainly never feel that you are alone, because we all have your back. Best of luck to all the incoming Terriers. I am sure that you will have an absolutely amazing time here at BU.”
—Rohin Bajaj (ENG’25)
“Schedule one activity that you enjoy doing that has nothing to do with school or work or anything you need to do. It could be a weekly walk, a dance class, or some time to do art. Whatever it is, taking some time away to relax and enjoy yourself in a healthy way can give you the clarity and calm you need in college.”
—Sujena Soumyanath (CAS’25)
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Get involved and take up every opportunity that presents itself, inside and outside the classroom. Break your barriers, meet lots of people, and stay open-minded, shape your future based on experiences, and grow through every challenge.”
—Arianna Castillo (COM’23)
“My advice would be to really get to know your professors. The School of Hospitality Administration is special because most of the professors have work experience in the hotel industry. So, actually investing time in getting to know them will only benefit you, not only during your time at SHA, but once you graduate.”
—Sam Wiesenfeld (SHA’24)
“I would advise first-year students to work smart and maintain a positive mindset. But, I would also tell them to be gentle with themselves during this transition. Time flies, and balance is key to enjoying the opportunities BU and Boston offer.”
—Marian Karam (ENG’23)
“You really get out what you put in. Socially—say yes and see who might come into your life. You will meet so many different friends, but it takes time to find your people. Academically—do the work outside of the classroom too. Networking is so important. Speak with professors about their backgrounds and meet with industry professionals…it will help you out so much later on. Find comfort in being uncomfortable and learn to just have fun with it”
—Sam Ruh (SHA’23)
“Time goes by quickly, so definitely take every opportunity you have to build relationships, grow, and step outside of your comfort zone. You’re officially out of the house, so how you spend these next four years is entirely up to you. Make your time here count.”
—Alanis Broussard (COM’24)
“Going into college with an open mind is key. Try new things: join clubs, be open to meeting people, and don’t feel upset if things don’t go according to plan. College is an ever-evolving experience, to veer off your initial path and experiment is what it’s all about.”
—Zach Schwartz (COM’25)
“Work and get as many internships as you possibly can The best way to find what you love to do the most is by trying. Get involved in extracurriculars—that is how I met my best friends at BU.”
—Paulina Preciat (SHA’23)
“Get to know everyone on your floor and your RA. It’s always nice to have people to go to if you need something and your RA is always there if you need anything too.”
—Divya Virmani (CAS’25)
Good advice. Also…
Boston is more than the North End, Seaport, Comm Ave, or some trendy “speakeasy.” Nearly everything is within walking distance or accessible with the T. Get out and explore when you have time!
Learn how to enter/board and use the T.
Don’t crowd or stand directly in front of the doors of the trolley when you are waiting to board — a local Bostonian or stressed out student will probably bulldoze you while saying a few choice words. (No, seriously!) Clear the way and allow people to exit before boarding. When you enter the trolley/car, do not crowd or stop at the entryway or fare box — keep moving, fill in the gaps, and take your bag off. Do not use the T without paying.
Learn how to walk on Comm Ave.
Like driving: stay on your right, pay attention, move with a purpose, and get out of the way. If you want to have a conversation, move to the side instead of stopping in the middle of the way. Use the bike lanes if you are on bike, scooter, etc.