There are a few things I wish I had known at the beginning of my freshman year at Marquette. These include the correct pronunciation of “Schroeder,” “Lalumiere,” and “Cudahy,” along with a few deeper pieces of advice. And actually, someone probably did tell me the things I am about to tell you, but anything you hear the first two or three weeks of college tends to go in one ear and out the other. I really wish I had been given advice like this about a month or so into the school year. So freshmen, read this, don’t absorb any of it, cut it out and stick it in your planner so you can stumble upon it around the end of September.
The thing I really wish I’d been told way back in 2009 (wow, I’m old) is that it’s OK to be sad and homesick. Calling your mom crying is nothing to be ashamed of, and, honestly, it’s probably going to happen in the very near future. On a similar note, the number to the Counseling Center is 414-288-7172. It is not a sign of weakness to call or just walk in. Talking to someone is sometimes the very best thing you can do for yourself.
Change your major! It may seem like you have your life mapped out five, 10, even 15 years past graduation right now, but if you find yourself unhappy with that plan, or dreading it, now is the time you can do something about it. You may find yourself wishing you had studied philosophy instead of biomedical engineering or Spanish instead of business. So take that leap of faith now because you are literally the only person in charge of your own future. You never know, you could change your major multiple times and end up right back where you started. It might take a year away from something to realize how much you love it and can’t live without it.
On the subject of change, don’t be afraid of it. You are not set as the adult you will be at age 18. Change is good and normal. Change your political views. Change your religious views, your philosophy on life. The one thing you probably will not change is your sports affiliations, and I totally respect that.
I told this to a group of freshmen in the honors program the other day, but they aren’t the only studious freshmen at Marquette: Don’t forget to have fun! That seems like a silly thing to say at this school, but if you are similar to my freshman-year self, you may get caught up with your classes and overstress about your grades. Don’t get me wrong; grades are important, but so is the rest of college life. Join the organization that catches your eye at the Organization Fest. Accept the invitations to hang out on Tuesday nights instead of studying.
My final piece of advice is to not listen to anything I’ve said if it doesn’t work for you. College (and life) is a learn-as-you-go sort of thing. You are going to make mistakes and try new things, some you like and some you don’t. If you find something that really makes you happy, keep it up. Everyone is different and you’ll find a lifestyle that works for you, eventually. It’s a process, but it’s a fun one. Tough it out through the hard times, and ask for help if you need it. Enjoy every second of your time in college and here at Marquette – it flies by.