Coming into your freshmen year of college can be exciting and frightening. Going to college is a huge change for many. New students will find themselves in a world with less restraint and boundaries. They will be introduced to new people, ideas, and opportunities. These people, ideas, and opportunities are your choice to make.

You will have this freedom of choice because college is less structured and has less parental supervision. You may feel overwhelmed by all the opportunities presented to you.

Sometimes a freshman may just shrink away from these opportunities. They will go to what is comfortable and live in a small bubble. This is the worst thing you can do at college. It is called higher education for a reason. West Chester gives many chances for new experiences. Putting yourself out there and trying new things is the best decision you can make. That is what the college experience is about.

One of the most important things to do is to try and make friends. For many people, this starts in the dorms. You will first have to meet your roommate. A friendship may not bloom out of this, but it will make living much easier.

As you walk around the floor of your dorm, you will find yourself meeting new people. You’ll probably see many of these same people in your classes, since most freshmen have general education classes. You may have different majors, but general education classes involve everyone. They are a great place to meet new people.

There are also socials hosted by the dorms where you can meet new people. These socials are done on a consistent basis so there are many chances to attend them. Perhaps certain freshmen will be dismayed because they are commuters. They will think they will not be able to experience the pleasures of dorm life. There are still many chances to live the college life without living in a dorm.

Another great chance to expand your horizons is to attend events and participate in clubs. West Chester has dozens and dozens of clubs. These clubs are diverse including everything from politics to music. Attending a meeting does not mean you have to permanently join. You can go to a club meeting without making a commitment to join. Attend as many club meetings as you can. The more meetings attended, the more diverse your worldview becomes.

As far as events go, Sykes After Dark is always a good choice. Every Friday night, creative and ambitious celebrations are thrown. Each night celebration has a new and different theme. The biggest pull to attend Sykes After Dark is the generous number of prizes given. The gifts given include T-shirts, gift cards, and electronics. Every freshman should take the chance to see what Sykes After Dark is all about. It should prove to be an interesting experience.

If elaborate events are not your thing, Sykes presents movies every weekend for you to see. You can watch movies on the big screen at a very affordable price.

The reason I stress that freshmen do these things is because I did not. In many ways, I did not fully utilize my freshman year because I did not branch out. I never attended any club meetings or dorm socials. I spent many weekends at home working or seeing my friends from home.

By my sophomore year, I realized I had not been living the proper college experience. I became much more outgoing in everything that I did. In the end, my life improved. I met many new people and my GPA even improved.

Many opportunities were missed because I stayed in my small bubble as a freshman. I was able to change this pattern. I urge other freshmen not to make my mistakes.

Jack Barnett is a fourth-year student majoring in history and political science. He can be reached at JB723722@wcupa.edu

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