LEXI RODENCAL | FEATURES EDITOR
With the 2016-17 school year upon us, things are changing around campus. New first-year students have arrived and begun the new “SNC 101” program replacing FYE (First-Year Experience), classes have started and the campus picnic and fireworks have come and gone – now the real work sets in. Students of all different years are facing different challenges and goals this year, so here’s some advice to make the load a little lighter.
St. Norbert’s new first-year class is facing countless new difficulties now that they are truly living on their own and making more independent choices. It’s important for first-year students to get connected on campus and be engagied in the community around them. This can range from getting to know the people on your dorm floor to joining clubs and groups on campus. St. Norbert offers everything from a Squirrel Watching club to Greek Life, so there is sure to be something every student can become a part of. Another piece of advice for St. Norbert’s newest class is to make sure you are going to your classes! Now that you are truly independent and making even the smallest decisions on your own, it’s important to stay on top of your academic work by attending class regularly. This will cut down on study time and help you start figuring out which subjects you want to pursue.
Last but not least, remember that it’s okay to be homesick! Give your family a call or visit once in awhile, especially once the drudgery of schoolwork starts to set in. Care packages from home are some of the best things to get in the mail on campus.
Hopefully, by the time sophomore year has rolled around, you’ve ditched the lanyard and have taken to carrying your keys and student id in your pocket, backpack or wallet like a seasoned college veteran would. Sophomore year brings about a lot of decisions: deciding a major or two, getting first-year requirements out of the way and delving deeper into your major’s field of study. It’s also time to do some damage control on your first year of college, whether that be switching advisors, majors or even friend groups. It’s also a good idea to start thinking about internships and establishing relationships with your major professors and advisors, as only good things will come out of this.
By the time you’re in your junior year of college, you’ve decided on your major and any minors, have (somewhat) started to get your life on track and have got the whole ‘college thing’ under your belt. You know what to expect and have embraced being a member of the St. Norbert community. Advice can be hard to give to juniors, who are in the strange limbo stage between not being underclassmen anymore but not quite knowing where they belong just yet. Be sure to take every opportunity you can, whether it be going to school sporting events, game nights or even spending the weekend in with your friends. You’ll regret not trying everything offered to you once college has flown by and you’ve graduated. Be sure to be applying for internships and jobs related to the field you want to pursue post-graduation, and reach out to the extensive network of support offered on campus. Junior year is also the time where a good portion of students choose to study abroad, so start looking into the various programs St. Norbert offers both in the U.S. and overseas.
The start of senior year is a rollercoaster of mixed emotions. The biggest thing to remember this year is to live in the present. The year will go by before you know it, and you’ll find yourself a college graduate in seemingly no time at all. It’s okay to panic about your post-grad plans, job offers and everything else under the sun – every other senior is probably doing the same thing. Soak up all the time you have on campus and be sure to make going to the cafeteria for potato bowl days your first priority. Another thing to keep in mind is to savor your friendships, as it only becomes harder to keep in touch and see them once you’ve graduated and are living all over the state or country. Embrace the tight-knit community St. Norbert has, as there’s else quite like it. It’s time to live up your senior year, make some memories and reflect on how far you’ve come since your first year on campus.