The Old Chapel and library at UMass Amherst
Student Voices

Tips I Would Give My Freshman Self

Freshman year is arguably the most stressful year of college. You’re new, you barely know anyone, you’re miles away from your family and friends, you may be having separation anxiety from your pet… There are a lot of new adjustments you must make once you’re in college. These are things I wish I knew as a freshman.

Get to know your professors!!!

I cannot stress how important this is. Building a good relationship with your professors can be so beneficial later on in your college career. He/she can be used as a job reference on a résumé, or they can be your connection to a job when you graduate. Knowing your teachers may even help you enjoy and comprehend the class better, so be sure to introduce yourself to your professors and TAs.

Go to office hours!!!!!!!

This is just as, if not more, important as familiarizing yourself with your teachers. Professors and TAs host weekly office hours where you can meet to ask questions about an exam, what you’re learning in class, or voice any concerns you may have. This is super helpful for when you have an exams or paper due to clarify anything you’re unsure of or just review course material.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

There are all sorts of ways to help anxiety. If you’re constantly feeling stressed out, don’t just push away the feelings. Meditate, talk to someone you trust, or see a counselor on campus. The Center for Counseling and Psychological Health (CCPH) is a welcoming environment that helps many UMass students. Everyone has their own stresses, and they’re not worth letting it cripple the fun you have your first year in college.

Get involved

There are several activity fairs held during the year, sponsored by the hundreds of Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) on campus. Sign up for as many of them as you want! Even if you don’t end up joining the club, it’s always better to try it than never know. Joining clubs are a great way to make new friends and new connections, and they’re a great résumé booster!

Socialize (in moderation)

I spent too much time worrying about my grades in my freshman year. Because of this, I wasn’t as social as I probably should have been, and I feel I missed out on things. Conversely, I know people that socialized way too much and failed their classes. That’s no good either. My advice is to find a fair middle ground of grades and social life. Live with the "work hard, play hard" mentality — prioritize your grades, but have fun! College is meant to be the best four years of your life, and these years go by quickly!

Go to Du Bois

UMass is home to the tallest research library on any college campus. It’s an amazing resource for pretty much anything academics-related. Hundreds of staff members and resources are there to help you, at your disposal for free. Take advantage of this while you can!

Make the most of your college life. You don’t want to look back on your four years here and have regrets. College goes by too quickly for that!