April 2012 Archives

First Day Jitters

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My name is Chuck Seymour, and I am one of four Student Program Coordinators who work in the office for Orientation & First-Year Programs. As I write this post, I am finishing up the last few weeks of my third year here at the University of Minnesota. I am studying Scientific and Technical Communication through the Writing Studies Department, so I spend a lot of my time in front of a computer typing up memos, directions, proposals, and technical essays. When I am not glued to the computer screen, I spend my time hanging out with my friends, playing racquetball or running, and exploring Minneapolis and St. Paul. I often venture down to St. Anthony Main area for good food and a beautiful view of the city. If you ever feel active the trails along the Mississippi River are fantastic to run along and, they border the St. Anthony main area.

I grew up in Aurora, Illinois, so choosing to start over in Minneapolis was a little intimidating for me. I realized a few weeks after I accepted my invitation to be a Golden Gopher that I would not know a single person at the U or even in Minnesota. I had just spent the last eight years of my life with the same close group of friends, and now I had to go start all over. I wasn't even sure if I knew how to meet people anymore. How was I going to find a close group of friends at the U where there are nearly 30,000 students? As move in day approached, my nervousness started to get the best of me. In fact, I began to have an internal battle about whether or not I made the right decision to attend college in Minnesota. At the end of the day, I was not sure I would fit in.

Nevertheless, move-in day eventually came, and my parents and I packed up the car for the 6-hour drive to Minneapolis. The entire drive up I was constantly thinking about how life would be once I moved in and my parents would leave for Illinois. I didn't want to admit it at the time, but I was a flat out scared. I didn't want my parents to leave right away; however, they helped me finish unpacking and hit the road for home before dinner. I met my roommate later that day, and to my surprise, we were a lot alike. Thankfully, he also happened to have a few friends in his fraternity to introduce me to, so in the matter of one day I met a group of guys that I shared similar interests with. That night a bunch of us went out to the volleyball courts and played a few games with other students in the Super Block. Meeting everyone that day immediately helped ease the anxiety that had built up over the months prior to moving in, and I started to believe I had made the right decision about college.

As I continued to explore the University and adjust to college life I began to realize that the more I met people and became involved, the more comfortable I felt on campus. I first recognized this when I joined the same fraternity as my roommate. Various social and philanthropic events that Greek organizations held provided me with a great opportunity to make new friends during my first few months on campus. I expanded my circle of friends when I decided to get an on-campus job during my first semester as well. A few of the students I worked with actually had some of the same classes as me. In fact, a few of us volunteered together throughout our first year through the opportunities that were provided through our leadership course. I still continue to get involved in various ways on campus so I can make the University feel like home.
To all the students in the incoming freshman class, make sure to explore all of the different resources and activities here on campus to find the right fit for you. You may find that your first few days or even weeks on campus will be a hard transition, but keep finding ways to meet people and I promise that you will eventually find the right place for you. Despite all the people I met early on in college, it still took me a few weeks before I could comfortably call the University of Minnesota home. Three years later I am still meeting new people and learning more about the Twin Cities. And each day I find that I have created my new home away from home.

Best Regards,
Chuck Seymour

Dear Class of 2016,
If I'm doing my job right, hopefully you have some familiarity with who I am. I'm Raven, the Digital Media Intern in the Orientation and First-Year Programs (OFYP) Office. I've been attending the U for the past four years. I started off as a part-time PSEO student (for those of you who don't know, PSEO is program that allows high school juniors and seniors to take college classes for credit), but still remain officially in the class of 2013. I'm a Studies in Cinema and Media Cultures major, which is a just a very long way to say film studies, and a double minor in Art and Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature. So if you ever want to discuss film and movies, social theory, or the rule of thirds, I am your gal.

When I'm not writing papers or spending long nights in editing labs, I enjoy spending time with friends and watching 30 Rock on Netflix. I like to wear Converseā„¢ and spend too much money on McDonald's. I think the world would be a better place if everyone listened to Laura Marling and I'm currently addicted to Instagram (@rstjohnson). Also, my favorite word is "indexical."

Reading your questions and comments via Facebook have been some bittersweet moments for me. On one hand, it makes me miss the newness and excitement of my freshmen year and yet, I'm extremely grateful for all the experiences leading to where I am at the U now (ugh, I feel old, but hopefully sound ridiculously wise). Everyone's college experience is going to be different, so I can only speak to my own experience and any advice I have should be taken with a grain of salt.

I think it's important to realize that whatever expectations you have for college, you should expect to be surprised, gratified, and disappointed. Yes, it may be one of the best times of your life, but it is also A LOT of hard work. There is a joke you will probably hear a lot soon: 1) Social Life, 2) Good Grades, or 3) Enough Sleep. Pick any two. That is true to a point. It's a big step coming from high school to college, one that comes with a tremendous amount of independence and responsibility. But with that, college is the time to fully explore who you are and who you would like to be, not just prepare for a career. So be open to new experiences and friendships and take part in any opportunities that come your way. In doing that, I promise, you will be able to look back at your college experience without any regrets!

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