December 15, 2015

PUTTING IT INTO FOCUS | Eight Things I Learned During My First Semester

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It seems like it was just yesterday when I moved into my tiny dorm room on North Campus and started what would be the best four years of my life. Everyone has had that moment of excitement their first few months here meeting new people, learning from amazing professors, enjoying the gorgeous campus around you. Those first four months contained not only excitement, but amazing learning experiences that I will take with me for the rest of my college career.

1. Take advantage of being a freshman: Freshman year is awesome, never forget that. What’s better than having all of your friends just a five minute walk away from you? This is the only year your class will be together in one place enjoy it. Need some food at 1 a.m.? Nasties is there for all your stress relief needs. North Campus is the epitome of Freshman college life and make use of that while you can.

2. Coffee is not your friend: Beware future freshmen coffee is not that helpful. You’ll drink that first cup and it will work the first night. However, the more you use it, the less efficient it will be in keeping you up. Never be dependent on coffee if you can help it; it will only slow you down.

3. Learn class material in small chunks: Studying for prelims and finals can be a disaster. But it can be much easier when you study what you need to learn in small pieces. What I have learned is that studying every day after lecture and reviewing every week after that helps a lot. Make a habit of reviewing material from previous lectures before the next one — it will help ease your burden when studying for finals. If you really want to learn the material, go to office hours. Professors are really happy to see you are interested in course material and you get to learn the material better.

4. Take an umbrella with you everywhere: Weather in Ithaca is slightly unpredictable. While we have been graced with great weather this semester, I learned all too soon that a 20 percent chance of rain can really mean a 100 percent chance of rain. If you want to maintain some sanity during your day, make sure you have an umbrella with you — you never know if a thunderstorm might show up in the middle of your day.

5. Go to the library: Make a habit of going even if you don’t have that much work. The library is a great place to study and once you have a trend going, you’ll have a habit set for when you do have a lot of work. I usually like going to Mann or to A.D. White Library, but library preference is all based on where you feel most comfortable. Try visiting every library, see which one you like best and stick to it it will only help you in the long run.

6. You will meet amazing people: Freshman year is a time to socialize and to meet really interesting and amazing people. In just four months, you will have enough memories that will last you a lifetime. Whether it be going to Nasties in the middle of the night, shopping on the weekends or studying in the library during the week, your friends will always be there with you on your freshman journey.

7. Plan your day efficiently: Make sure that your day is planned so you have time to do everything on your to do list. If you have a lot to do on a specific day, make a schedule. However, it is important to keep in this schedule some time to breathe and have fun. Never forget that as much work as you have to do, you still need to make some time to get away from it all. Have a coffee break or walk around on campus — do what makes you relaxed.

8. Enjoy!: Your first semester is amazing and you should take some time in the midst of studying to sit back and take it in. Being a student at Cornell means you are in a great place, surrounded by amazing people, a gorgeous campus and an environment that really wants to see you succeed. Take that all in first semester and make sure to keep it with you in your remaining seven semesters here.

After all, Cornell is Gorges.

Ashley Radparvar is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a music enthusiast, a self-proclaimed winter weather aficionado and an SNL devotee. In her spare time, she can be found on the Slope, enjoying the wonderful views Ithaca has to offer. Putting It Into Focus appears on alternate Fridays this semester. She can be reached at [email protected].