Make the Most of your Freshman Semester

Monday, March 02, 2015
People Woman Coffee Meeting

Greetings! My name is Shazeeda, and I am an animal science major at North Carolina State University. I plan on going to veterinary school after I finish my undergraduate studies to become a small animal veterinarian. I attended an early college high school, so luckily I was prepared for college. However, there is a huge difference between high school and college, and these are some hints I want everyone to know after recently completing my first semester:

1. Do not just memorize information; understand it.

In high school, you could probably cram for a test or memorize facts and do well. In college, the professors do not expect you to memorize information, but to understand and apply it. One should get into the habit of understanding what he/she is being taught. For example, if you are told that mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, then you should understand how it produces “power” for a cell. Understanding the information will help you do better on the test and help in the real world. For example, if a patient comes to you with certain symptoms, you have to apply everything you learnt to diagnose the person. You do not have to know everything because everyone uses references, but you do need to have a basic understanding of certain subjects.

2. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

Professors can be strict, but they are not mean, and I have not had a problem with a professor. Every professor I have had holds office hours where students can go to their office to get help or say hello. It is extremely easy to fall behind because the classes are paced faster than high school, but if you ask your professor for help, he/she will not say “no” Professors would not be teaching if they did not enjoy working with students, so you should not be afraid to speak up and ask for help. Even if you feel like you cannot ask a professor, there are plenty of other resources available, such as tutoring centers or peer tutoring.

3. Do not forget to have fun and be involved with your school.

It can seem difficult to find time for fun with homework, studying and jobs, but if you are too stressed out then you may not perform well. Find something fun to do once in a while, whether it be reading or hanging out with friends. I am a part of three amazing clubs (Pre-veterinary medical association, Companion Animal Club and Animal Science Club), and I get to do a lot of fun service activities, such as helping children milk cows or giving to someone in need. Joining clubs you enjoy gives you a way to have fun, meet new friends and make important connections with staff. You can also join a sports team or find a free evening activity, anything that helps you alleviate stress.

I have enjoyed my college experience more than high school because there are more activities to choose from and I can choose classes that interest me. Although college should be taken seriously, there is still time to have fun. Do not feel like you cannot keep up with or handle college because it is very doable if you put forth the effort. There are plenty of people who will help you and want to see you succeed!