From the Upperclassmen to the Freshmen: You’re Going to Be Fine




Freshman year can evoke a whirlwind of emotions — from pure excitement at the idea of starting a new chapter, to extreme fear at the thought of entering a complete unknown. As a rising junior, I think back to my freshman year and all of the life lessons that I learned along the way. Speaking with fellow juniors, I posed the question: What are the things you wish you had known your freshman year?

One important thing to remember as a freshman is to avoid overpacking, according to Jamie Haas, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’20. “You don’t need 15 binders or three emergency flashlights … ever.” To Haas, it may feel like you’re being prepared when you overpack, but remember that you are going to college, not hunkering down for the apocalypse. If you end up needing something, you’ll definitely be able to find it. So, when you’re looking at that 24-pack of Clorox wipes at Costco, remember this advice.

For Loïc Khodarkovsky, FCLC ’20, it was really important to join clubs as a way of integrating himself into the Fordham community and finding friends with similar interests. This advice was also true for Justin Westbrook-Lowry, FCLC ’20, as he felt that he did not insert himself enough into Fordham his freshman year. “I wish that I spent more time getting used to Fordham,” Westbrook-Lowry said. “I missed a great opportunity to meet and make new friends.”

For students in the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. Program, life can be especially demanding due to their rigorous schedule. For Haley Williams, FCLC ’20, finding this balance was one of the most important lessons that she learned as a freshman.

“First semester, especially, it can be easy to stick to your room and FaceTime your friends from home,” Williams said, “but the way to make new friends is to be present with all the new people you’re meeting and invest time into cultivating new friendships, which will be awkward and hard and frustrating sometimes.” However, Williams thinks that “it’s important not to stretch yourself too thin because you’re afraid of missing out. If you take on more than you can handle you won’t be able to effectively devote yourself to anything.”

Fellow B.F.A. student, Bettina Harcken, FCLC ’20, felt similarly about taking time for yourself and she regretted not doing this enough her freshman year. “I wish that I had known to seek out time for myself more,” Harcken said. “While it’s fun to be around people all the time, it can be really exhausting.” For her, it was important to make that time for herself by taking a walk to clear her head or finding a quiet study space where she could focus and be alone. It might feel like you need to be present and social all the time at college, but don’t forget to take a breather for yourself.

The biggest fear that so many people entering their freshman year have is that they are the only ones who are nervous or confused. According to Sarah Grace Houston, FCLC ’20, this idea is nonsense. “Everyone is just as lost as you are, so ask any questions that you have,” Houston said. “Plus, if you mess up, there’s always going to be a way to fix it.” It may seem like everyone else around you is thriving as a college student, but you’re actually all experiencing the same struggles and fears.

Ian Sokolowski, FCLC ’20, had similar advice as he wished he had known that “nobody has their act together as much as it seems, and odds are you’re doing just fine.” To Sokolowski, it seemed that everyone had big plans for internships and multiple majors, but they were just as lost as he was.

Whatever issue you face or fear that you have, someone is definitely experiencing the same feelings, and, in the end, you will figure it out. Freshman year is a new chapter in life. High school is over, and your years of higher education are just beginning. Ultimately, whether you are beyond excited to start your freshman year or dreading every second of it, it’s important to remember: you are going to be fine.