DI Voices | Freshman year yields momentous opportunities


Lanie Hibel

Students sit on the quad enjoying a nice spring day. Students all enjoy the quad no matter their age.

By Chiara Awatramani, Columnist

When I first toured the University, I knew I would fit right in. The variety of clubs, classes and sports called to me, so I applied, got accepted and hit the road to move into my dorm at Allen Hall. I had no idea what to expect — despite watching numerous YouTube videos on the subject — but I nonetheless couldn’t contain my excitement. Throughout my first months as a freshman, I collected helpful habits and tips to make the most of my freshman year. 

The first week of classes was hectic, to say the least. I didn’t know what to expect from professors, how to manage my time or how to relax. I only saw what was in front of me — a pile of unread chapters and unfinished notes.

It was only until the third week when I realized I could set some time aside to read a book on the Quad, lift at the ARC or chat with friends late into the night. Those first weeks taught me the importance of time management. 

Applications for the Daily Illini rolled around. I’d always known I wanted to write and because I had time management under my belt, I mustered up the courage to apply. As an English major, this experience at the DI would allow me to explore one career option. 

Gaining extracurricular experience holds equivalent, if not more, importance to academic classes. As a freshman, there are many opportunities to try your hand at different work settings such as labs, newspapers, radio stations, and much more. Don’t be afraid to give them a shot. 

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Registration for the spring semester found its way into my calendar quicker than I had anticipated. I spent too much time looking for the exact classes that fit the requirements I needed while working towards my major. 

To avoid this hassle every semester, I decided to write a rough outline of which classes I needed to take during certain semesters. Other majors such as Biology also contain sequences, making it even more useful to plan classes ahead of time to assure you are eligible for all the classes that are necessary for graduation.

As the semester wound down and the holidays came into view, finals loomed over me. The majority of my classes assigned essays due on the week of finals, so I worked ahead. Working ahead almost always works in my favor with assignments ranging from small quizzes to final exams. 

So while it is easy — as I’ve learned from experience — to sit back and indulge in a movie instead of studying, in the end, procrastination leads to more stress and worse grades — a combination almost every student dreads. 

Overall, these tips have made the University ride much smoother for me and have allowed me to gain the most, academically and socially, out of my freshman year experience.

Chiara is a freshman in LAS.

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