Alyssa Rosenthal: A fresh outlook for the semester

Campus seems to be filled this week with screaming freshmen reuniting for the first time in a month.

This sight is all too familiar for me, as just one year ago I was coming back after my first winter break, both excited for a new semester but also nervous for the future.

And if there was any advice I wished I had last year, it is this: Bring a fresh perspective to campus life; leave the past behind; be prepared to start anew.

Reflecting on my first few months as a Colonial, I was not active enough in creating my own GW experience. So after returning from break, I resolved to start fresh and have an active role in shaping a new life for myself.

My first concern coming back for second semester was my grades, as I felt discouraged and disappointed after receiving my first semester marks.

While it is easy to say, “I wish I had done this differently,” it is better to come back and say, “I’m going to do this differently.” Rather than feeling dismayed about classes, use the mistakes you made as lessons to apply for the future.

If I could redo my first semester, I would have set higher expectations for myself and gone to office hours more often. Even just sitting down and reading can help push you further toward a higher academic goal.

Beyond the classroom, it can be difficult to develop strong, lasting relationships with others freshman year, particularly at a big school like GW. And as freshman spring semester moves on, it can be scary to see friendships constantly changing.

Being open-minded will help you keep old friends while still allowing you to meet new people. But while an easygoing outlook is a start, be prepared for relationships and friendships to constantly change.

Most freshmen go through these shifts with their friends, so be willing to join clubs, which will make it even easier to meet more people.

During my first semester of college I had planned to ease my way into things. By late January, I was ready to join whatever came my way. Even signing up to get listserv e-mails about an organization is a start. Even better? Attend the first meeting of a club that’s not completely in your comfort zone.

But by taking one step forward and attending a few of the first events of different clubs, you can discover new passions that will allow you to create a personal niche at GW.

Looking back on a little over a year ago, it’s surprising to notice how many changes occur during freshman year. But the best way to prepare for this is to continue to explore campus and to make every semester be a new semester.

Challenge yourself to take on something new, and you’ll find a few good surprises down the road.

Alyssa Rosenthal, a sophomore majoring in political communication, is a Hatchet columnist.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.