The first steps of starting college

Instructors give advice for incoming freshman

Summer is upon us and incoming freshmen will be leaving their homes and friends to start the rest of their lives learning to be professionals.

What you probably won’t be told in so many words at Ferris State is covered below. There’s plenty of ways to succeed in class, and also ways to get to know yourself better and enjoy your first year at college a bit more.

Get involved in the halls
Living in the residence halls, you’re sur- rounded by people all the time so there’s plenty of opportunities to make friends.

“The resident advisors (R.A.s) at Clark played a big role in getting us involved,” said Ferris social work senior London Johnson. “They set us up with different programs, and they would tell us to come out to the lobby and do stuff and activities. We bonded as a hall, and we all got together to do stuff outside of the hall.”

To have friends, be friendly
As the old saying goes, “No man is an island,” and not just men but everyone.

Keep your door open and strike up conversations. You’ll most likely be happier for it. “Don’t be afraid to be open as far as getting to know different people and branching out. Just be willing to step out there and get to know different people. That’s how I met some of my best friends, people I know I’ll be friends with for a lifetime,” said Johnson.

Get involved in a fraternity/sorority or registered student organization (RSO)
There are hundreds of opportunities to get involved at Ferris State, whether it’s a Greek organization or a special interest RSO. These are good opportunities to network, get involved as a leader on campus, meet new people and have fun during outings organized by the group.

“I joined the Pi Lamba Phi fraternity, that’s the social fraternity, and it got me out of my shell and talking to people,” said Ferris respiratory therapy sophomore Stephen Gilmore. “When you’re a freshman, you want to just meet new people, so there it was as easy as walking up to people and starting a conversation.”

Plan your classes early
Planning is key, so make every effort to talk with your advisors and to keep a watch for key sign-up dates during the semester. “Sign up for your classes early to get a better schedule and good teachers,” said Ferris pharmacy junior Taylor Page. “For this last semester, I used ratemyprofessor. com. It helped with picking good teachers who fit into my schedule.”

Work/life balance
The saying from the Shining fits in right here, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Plan your work and plan your fun, too.

“Being able to balance work and play without anyone there, like a parent, controlling that balance is a key skill that is a very important part of the development of a college student,” said Ferris professor of biology Bradley Isler.

Study right
Get to know your instructor’s teaching style. Not all of them will give tests, and not all tests are created equal. If you don’t study according to the material your instructor provides, you’ll have a tough time.

“Another key item is incoming students need to begin to think beyond the ‘memorize and regurgitate’ on exams method of education,” said Isler. Probably the toughest transition for incoming freshmen is when they realize that simply memorizing information without any context to that information won’t get the job done as they move forward in their college career.”

Don’t expect extra credit
Don’t expect it. It rarely happens and most college instructors hate the idea of extra credit.

“Most students don’t realize they can easily fail and not have any chance to get extra credit,” said Ferris professor of English John Cullen.

Don’t expect unlimited second chances
There might be re-writes available, or a chance to turn in a late assignment for full credit under special circumstances if your instructor is feeling merciful, but don’t expect the favors to keep rolling in.

“Most students don’t realize that while the teacher does want the student to do well, the teacher assumes the student is an adult and makes his own choices and then lives by them,” said Cullen. “Freshmen shouldn’t expect unlimited second chances or teachers who run around chasing them down to get assignments from them.”