Top ten advice for the freshman class

As I have in past years, I want to welcome new and returning students back at BGSU for the 2004-05 academic year! We are excited about this school year; besides the great classroom teaching provided by our faculty, the campus offers a myriad of opportunities. Attending and participating in theater, music, and athletic events, joining at least one of our over 280 student organizations, and working on campus are just a few examples of the kind of experiences you can get involved with at BGSU.

Annually, I offer some advice to new students through the BG News. Some of the advice may be pertinent to returning students as well. In the spirit of summarizing and knowing that you probably do not have a lot of time these first few days on campus, I offer you a “2004 Top Ten” list of tips for succeeding at Bowling Green. Although these are similar to last year’s items, I do believe they are still pertinent.

1. Get to know your professors and instructors. They are more than willing to talk with you, meet with you, and do what they can to answer your questions. Introduce yourself as soon as possible. Find a good seat in class where you can hear and see them (sit close to the front–it’s the students in the back who are called on!).

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember that there are many people working here whose job it is to help you succeed. BGSU is very student-centered. Not only are we glad to see you here, but we are committed to you succeeding while here. You do not have to handle any problem alone.

3. Explore the campus. Once you become comfortable with your residence hall or living environment, see what the rest of campus looks like. Venture out of your room, find out where buildings, programs, services and events are. Don’t be self-conscious about using a campus map or asking somebody how to find something. It might seem impossible at first to find your way around, but you will get the hang of it in no time.

4. Find your best place to study. This may take a bit of experimentation. The key will be to find a place where you can concentrate and that works for you. It is important to have a spot where you can read, prepare for class, write, and study for exams. Sometimes it’s nice just to have a place to think.

5. Become familiar with the services and programs offered to students. You will be amazed at the number of services and programs which exist to help you in every aspect of your life here. We offer assistance in everything, such as academics and studying, personal and career concerns, recreational activities, health needs, multicultural activities. If you live in the halls or small group living units, you will receive information from your staff on these services and programs.

6. Read your Student Handbook. It is the one with the brightly colored picture of students on the front cover that contains many useful policies and important information for students. It also includes everything from the academic calendar to information on student services.

7. Become involved. Get a complete list of the student organizations and activities. Look for posters around campus and in the BG News announcing initial meetings of these groups, and give them a try if you’re interested. Organizations are looking for members and would be overjoyed in your interest. While you can stay involved in some of the things you did in high school, this is your time to become involved in ways you perhaps never thought you would be before. For example, if you never got to play a sport in high school, try one of the many club sports, or get involved in intramurals. Help plan Homecoming or check out fraternity or sorority recruitment. It’s your chance to continue, start again, or become involved for the very first time in almost anything.

8. Take advantage of opportunities. Check out the activities sponsored by your hall or floor, participate in Welcome Week activities. There are events offered every weekend, from movies to trips to camping and other outdoor activities. The vast majority of activities here at BGSU are absolutely free to you, including musical performances, football games and other sports events, and some theater productions. Anyone who says that there isn’t anything to do at BGSU on weekends has not looked around at what is available.

9. Meet at least one new person every day. An important part of being a member of a community is knowing each other. You will make many friends here that you will have for life; that will be there to celebrate important times with you, support you when you need it, and just to be a friend. The more people you know here, the better off you will feel about being at BGSU. Everyone else is going through the same transitions, suffering the same nervousness and experiencing the same things that you are.

10. Most importantly, relax. You do not have to do everything, be everything, or accomplish all of your college goals your first week here. Become involved at your own pace. No matter how hard you study or work, remember to take some time out for yourself.

One final suggestion: Be careful crossing Wooster Street.

Best of luck and confidence for a successful year!