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From freshman jitters to senior success: college advice for every stage

As a wide-eyed newbie, stepping onto a college campus can feel thrilling, yet intimidating. Then before you know it, four years have flown by, and you’re a senior with a wealth of hard-won wisdom. In between lies a period of growth and development that can greatly affect the trajectory of a person’s life.

So, how can students make the most of their college experience and emerge prepared for their future? Here, a college freshman and senior offer their unique perspective on making friends, managing academic demands and overcoming obstacles.



Finding the beauty in the unknown

By Emerson Morris

Perhaps you are deliberating on what school to attend, what major to choose, or just trying to enjoy your high school experience. Or perhaps you are an anxious mom, hoping your child will find friends, be successful in sorority/fraternity recruitment or find his or her place in college.

These transitions are tough, to say the least, but it is incredibly important to zoom out a little and look at the bigger picture. Students, your mental, physical and spiritual health should be at the forefront; you cannot pour from an empty cup. Setting time out of your busy schedule to go to the gym or relax a little will calm your mind to do amazing things. And, the best part is, you can do these activities with friends.

As a new college student, don’t be afraid to reach out to the person you sit next to in class, your sorority or fraternity brothers and sisters or the people you pass in your dorm hallways. College is four years long, and these could be the friends that you will have for a lifetime.

My biggest piece of advice is simple: Be kind. If you see something that needs to be changed, do it. Be the bigger person in situations of conflict. Gossip and rumors cut deeper than a lot of people realize. You can be a source of light to those around you; you really have no idea what is going on in other people’s lives.

To parents, siblings and others who are hoping your sweet freshman finds peace and success within their college decisions: Take a deep breath. Your example, whether through family ties or friendship, will be a reminder and guide to the one you love. If you showed kindness, compassion and support, chances are he or she will do the same.

There is beauty in the unknown that is college. This is four years of intellectual growth and social development unlike any other time in life. It is beautiful, and if you approach it with a mindset of kindness and a desire to grow, you cannot fail.

Emerson Morris is a freshman public policy leadership major at the University of Mississippi. She can be reached at


Navigating the college journey: honest advice on advisors, friendships, balance, and embracing mistakes

By Skylar Mavar

Navigating your college experience can be stressful when you don’t know what to expect. As a newly independent adult, you’ll want to hear about the hardships and the harsh realities of being a college student. Here are a few bits of advice about advisor dynamics, navigating friendships, finding balance and embracing the inevitable mistakes:


Your career advisors are helpful. Take advantage of these resources, and start talking to them as soon as you determine your career path. Having said that, make sure to do your own research and verify the information you receive. My biggest regret is not fact-checking my schedule advisors before it was almost too late.

You may be tempted, or even urged, to wait to utilize the advisor resources available to you — believing you have plenty of time. Your time at college will go by quickly, so it’s best to prepare yourself as soon as possible.


The beauty of attending college as a first-year is that everyone is as desperate for friends as you are. Anywhere you go, opportunities exist to make new connections. Join clubs or organizations, attend dorm activities and befriend your neighbors and roommates. It’s surprisingly easy to find friends, even as an introvert.

However, do not expect your first-year friend group to necessarily stay the same until graduation. Friendship may be more about the quantity than the quality at first — but that’s okay! After a while, you’ll establish a network of more meaningful connections.


It’s easy to get caught in the excitement of freedom and independence. Putting yourself out there and enjoying your time is necessary and encouraged, but make sure it doesn’t affect your academics.

That doesn’t mean you should hide out in the library seven days a week. You’re young, and this is the perfect time to make memories and experience new things. I found making a timetable or scheduling my homework sessions made it easier to balance my academics and social life.

Let’s get something out of the way: You will make mistakes. You’re only human. Some errors will be minor, others lifechanging. Either way, show yourself some compassion. Know these missteps do not define your worth or potential. It took me a while to realize not every mistake I made was the end of the world. Take responsibility, learn from your failures, and then move on.

Skylar Mavar is a graduating senior at Texas Christian University. She can be reached at

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