As a junior in my winter quarter, there is the depressing and looming fear of the “real world” coming in my near future. As I reflect back on my time at DePaul, I think of how I would have done my freshman year differently, or what I would have told my freshman self if I could go back in time. Here are the five pieces of advice I think are important to know going into freshman year:
1) Although your counselors or advisors or even your parents will make a big deal about how you need to make a decision about a major, don’t listen to them. You can always change your major, your concentration, or your minor. Just because you made a decision as a 17 or 18 year old about what you want to do about your future doesn’t mean you have to stay with that decision forever. You can always make a new choice.
2) You’ll make friends. Do not worry that no one will like you and you’ll be lonely. I promise, you’ll find a friend, if not multiple. If not, I’ll be your friend.
3) Strike up conversations with the people around you. My freshman year, I was a little too introverted than I should have been. I lived on campus, in the hub of DePaul. I wish I spent more time talking to people in the Dining Commons, in my dorm, and even in my classes. As an upperclassman living off-campus now, I don’t get as many opportunities to meet new people and I wish I could go back and make friends as easily as it would have been when I was on campus. So make sure to put yourself out there and meet new people. DePaul students are very friendly.
4) You may or may not fall in love and that is okay. I was scared out of my mind that I would not find anyone I would want to go on a date with. I was worried everyone would date someone and I would be single and lonely. That is not true. I have friends who are dating, I have friends who are not dating, and everyone is happy with their choice. If you want to date, the option is there. If you don’t want to date, you won’t feel left out.
5) Although the quarter system may seem stressful, everyone is in the same boat and you’ll make it through. The teachers and your fellow students are just as stressed about the timeline as you. The syllabus may look scary at first glance but everything will be okay. Just make sure you keep up with the readings, homework, and attend class. I was so stressed about homework my first quarter freshman year, and I wish I told myself that everything would work out. You’ll get the hang of it.