How to avoid a ‘Freshman Freakout’

How to avoid a Freshman Freakout

By Nicole Livingston, Eagle Life Writer

Been there, done that and got the T-shirt. These upperclassmen know what it is like to feel clueless on the first day of college classes. Have no fear, freshmen, help is here. From class scheduling to roommate issues, these students have it covered.

Kelsey Stonestreet, a fifth-year senior majoring in visual communication design, has not had any horror stories to share, but she does know what it feels like to walk into Baldy’s during the lunch rush and have nobody to sit with.

“I remember, it was one of my first days going to the PUB to get lunch and I didn’t have lunch with any of my friends. So, I have all my food, you know, and I’m trying to find a place to sit. I think I had to sit by the creepy old guy who kept trying to talk to me,” said Stonestreet. “It was really awkward being a freshman and getting used to being alone at times.

She said that was one of the things that helped her learn to grow up and not have to have somebody with her all the time.

Stonestreet recommends that students do more than just their schoolwork, though that is important as well.

“For me, it was really important to remember that, ‘yeah this is college and it’s serious,’ but it also, in the long run, doesn’t matter if you get 4.0s in all your classes,” said Stonestreet. “It’s important that you do well, but you also have to remember that this is college and it’s an experience. Take time and not just focus on the school aspect of it, but focus on the social aspect because there’s so much going on on campus that you can take advantage of.”

As a community adviser for the residence halls, Stonestreet has had a lot of opportunities to learn about everything offered on campus to students.

“I learned what the CAs do, which is we program five plus programs a quarter to try to build community. That’s what our big focus was. Build community on your floor and in the building because the students that have the friends and support group around them are more likely to go through school and graduate and they’re also more likely to have a better time,” said Stonestreet.

Stonestreet said that being a community adviser helped her grow and recommends that students try it if they are truly interested. She said that they should be in it for more than the free room and board because it is a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of work.

Her advice for freshman, “Take advantage of what your residence hall has to offer. Go to the programs. Meet new people.”

Austin Chavallo, a senior majoring in finance, transferred from a community college to EWU as a junior. As a freshman his biggest issue was getting registered for classes.

“The biggest issue that I had was definitely choosing which classes to take,” said Chavallo. “I went to a community college, and had heard many stories where other students never went to a counselor and just thought they knew which classes to take, but when their two years ended and they went to confirm their graduation, they found out they had to take an additional one to two quarters because they didn’t take the right courses.”

Instead of dealing with it all by himself and risking making a mistake, Chavallo sought out academic advising.

“That being said, from the first quarter to the last at community college, the best way I dealt with this was meeting with a counselor. They helped because they asked what my major would be, and with that information showed different courses that they thought would be the best to take, and showed how it would fill whichever requirement that it needed to fill,” said Chavallo.

Chavallo said that the best way to avoid a freshman freakout is to use the resources that are available.

“A lot of times, freshmen just don’t know what to do when they are on their own,” said Chavallo. “From which classes to take, to cooking, to just general tasks in life can really take a toll on a student entering their first year away from home.

“But there are simple solutions to the problems that freshmen face. … It is really not that bad, if instead of freaking out, just take a moment and realize that there are many ways to relieve stress if you just use what is provided for you at no additional cost.”

Chavallo also suggests that students go to campus events.

“If you are a freshman, pick up the school paper, or look online to see which school events are coming up. When you are a freshmen, you think that college is going to last forever, but being a senior at Eastern this year and the end being near, I really have an urge to go to as many events as possible. So, while you still have the time, go to everything you can.” said Chavallo.

Shelnila Santos, a junior majoring in foreign language education at Kennesaw State University and former EWU student, is no stranger to roommate troubles. After a falling out with her roommate, Santos sought out the help of  Residential Life staff. She said that after dealing with her roommate she was paranoid about getting into another bad roommate situation.

Santos said that the staff made her transition from her residence hall and roommate situation much easier. Later on as a sophomore, Santos decided to become a community adviser so she could help other students out the way the staff at Residential Life helped her.

Although Santos has transferred to a much larger school, she stressed the importance of using the resources EWU has to offer. Though there are resources students can use at her new school, they are much harder to locate. She said that because of EWU’s small campus size, the resources stick out more and are easily found.

Classes can get overwhelming, finances can seem depleted and homework can pile up. However, seeking out the help of somebody who has been through similar situations can help a lot.

There are several staff and faculty members whose sole job is to help students with obstacles they are facing. Even if they can not help immediately, they may be able to find somebody else who can.