For Freshmen: Advice from upperclassmen

Freshman year can be a harrowing experience. A new and unfamiliar environment combined with meeting new people and deciding where to spend your time can send many new students’ heads abuzz. Incoming freshmen, however, should not fret. The Hatchet has asked upperclassmen for some words of wisdom to help you survive freshman year.

Do not confine your education to the classroom. Much of what I have learned during my time at GW has been from internships, experiences with student organizations, and awesome opportunities available only to GW students, like the Kalb Report at the National Press Club. So many opportunities await those of you who take advantage of them…and remember it never hurts to ask!
Dan Curran, class of 2010, Chief of Staff of the Student Association

GO GREEK. Greek Life is an incredible aspect of GW, and provides the opportunity to meet tons of awesome people and participate in so many fun, philanthropic activities. GW Greek life makes the [undergraduate] student body of 10,000 seem smaller, which was something that helped my transition from a small town to a big city. I strongly recommend everyone rushing; in my eyes, you can always go and decide it’s not for you, but if you don’t attend rush, you’ll never know if you will miss out on something life changing!
Erin Cunningham, class of 2012, member of Sigma Delta Tau

Remember you’re going to school
From Twitter user porquejorge

Don’t burn out. Choose the activities that are best for you and focus on them. Do what you want to do, do it well, and leave time to have fun.
Geoffrey Blake, class of 2010, Vice President for Undergraduate Student Policy for the Student Association

While on-campus jobs at GW can be an excellent way to make a little cash without having to go far, taking a job off campus is a great way to interact with your neighbors.and get out of the GW bubble. You never know who you may meet while hosting at a restaurant on the [Georgetown] Waterfront, or what connections you will make working at a nonprofit in Chinatown. Do not be afraid to take a job that requires taking the Metro, you will get to see more of the city and perhaps even make more money. Take advantage of your professors and their connections, they may help you find a great internship or job as many of them are very active in the their field of study. If you choose to go Greek, look to your sorority sisters and fraternity brothers for advice – many have jobs and internships that were passed to them from another brother or sister.
Ashley Olt, class of 2011, Student Association Co-Director of Greek Affairs

Going forward with your education and professional careers, the best thing I can tell you it to really utilize blackboard and the literature your professors provide you. Your professors have access to databases, academic books, and other kinds of publications that you may never have access to again. Creating a folder on your computer and saving the weekly Powerpoint slides or Adobe documents your professor provides you can be an immeasurable value when it comes time to write a thesis, start a graduate research project, or in any number of instances in the professional field. You never know when having that random book snippet or flow chart may prove to be more than worth the time it took to click “Save As!”
Charles Perretti, class of 2009, member of Sigma Chi

if you live on the vern… make friends with freshman on foggy so you have a reason to leave!!! otherwise you’ll be STUCK there!!
From Twitter user standingidlyby

Never give up and never get discouraged. You may apply for positions and not receive them, but always keep a positive attitude. Everything happens for a reason and if you keep trying at it, eventually you will succeed.
Dylan F. Pyne, class of 2012, member of the Student Association Senate

Get in contact with your GPS Guide. The Guide to Personal Success Program is designed to assist you with your first-year experience. Comprised of faculty, staff, and alumni members of the GW community will be yet another personal guide to help you achieve whatever you want on this campus. Whether you have some quick housing questions, want tips on where to go in D.C., and everything else in between, the Guide to Personal Success program was designed and has been implemented to help you accomplish your objectives at GW.
Nicky Sampogna, class of 2010, President of Pi Kappa Alpha and GPS Student Assistant

Meet as many people as possible. Don’t be embarrassed to stop and introduce yourself to someone in an elevator or walking down the hall. People will want to be overly social the first few weeks of the semester, so say hello to someone new every chance you get. Also, don’t settle for just one group of friends. I have some friends who are great to go out with, some I enjoy being in class with and others who fit both of those categories. It’s always nice to walk into a class and see another familiar face and meeting a million people gives you a lot of familiar faces.
Jason Lifton, class of 2011, Executive Vice President of the Student Association

Though you’ll hear again and again to “get involved!” your first few weeks at GW, what no one ever warns you about is becoming over-involved. Try a lot of new things, groups and organizations at first, but figure out what makes you most happy and stick with that. So many upperclassmen wake up junior or senior year and realized they cared too much about GW politics and filled their schedules just to compete with their peers rather than fulfilling themselves and their goals.Find your niche at this school – one that you value and brings you happiness – not just a schedule full of obligations.
Ashley Wells, class of 2010, member of Alpha Delta Pi

As a recent GW graduate, my advice to incoming freshman would be to take advantage of where you are living for the next four years. Your academics are very important, but it is also important that you involve yourself with other things. Be social and go out sometimes, join a Greek organization, go abroad, visit the amazing places you can only visit in the nation’s capital, and make sure you balance your time between these such things and your academics. It is important to keep up good grades, but it is also important to immerse yourself in the amazing cultural and political place you are now a part of. And do not forget to cherish the time you have at GW, because it goes by faster than you can imagine.
Debbie Friedman, class of 2009, member of Sigma Delta Tau

When you’re shopping for classes, try asking a few of your upperclassmen peers for some feedback on professors; you may find out your favorite classes are in subjects or disciplines you wouldn’t initially be want to take, but the professor can really make (or break) the class!
Trish Puttmann, class of 2011, Vice-Chairwoman for The International Affairs Society

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