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Column: Five Things I wish I knew as a Freshman

From a new living space to different instructors to interacting with peers, adapting to your first year of college can be difficult, but here are a few tips on how to academically succeed, take care of yourself and make some great memories along the way.

1. Getting involved is not as lame as it sounds.

When I first started out at a university, I thought friends were going to be thrown at me. I believed since we were all new freshmen, people were going to be looking for friends as much as I was, so I would not have trouble making them.

It turns out, this wasn’t (and probably still isn’t) the case.

An actual effort has to be made to make friends, and there are so many programs at UNM that can help anyone find their home on campus. Join a club or organization you are passionate about, whatever it may be.

2. It’s smart to get to know students in every class you take.

You are going to have questions in every class.

Whether they are questions about a project or what room your final exam will be in, it is much easier to text a classmate the question than email your professor and wait for their response.

It is easy to get into the habit of simply going to class, not speaking to anyone if you don’t already know them and leaving right after. It is not necessarily a bad habit. Sometimes you will have to battle a class all on your own, but if you can avoid taking it all on by yourself, the class will be much more enjoyable. And if you ever have a question, you know someone to ask for help.

3. Learning the class point system early on isn’t a waste of time.

Almost every class at UNM is graded off of a point system, where every assignment is worth a certain amount of points.

Understanding that every point counts, and what exactly counts towards the points — such as attendance, participation, iClicker questions, etc. — will ease your anxiety and help you pass each class with confidence.

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You do not want to realize you missed out on 100 points at the end of the semester, because you didn’t know an iClicker was required from the beginning.

4. Taking care of yourself isn’t a bad idea either.

The “freshman 15” is real, people, and it can happen in many different ways.

Overeating because you are stressed, neglecting to eat healthy food because it takes more effort and choosing fast food instead, not eating enough — all of these can be harmful.

Not only can your diet suffer, but it is easy to neglect exercising too.

Before college, I was on a dance team for my high school for years, and I loved exercising. I promised myself I would not stop taking care of my body even though I am not required to now. Long story short, that promise was broken within the first month of starting college.

Your tuition pays for the Johnson Center, use it.

5. This will be the least stressful year of college, so enjoy every second of it.

Have fun this year. Meet new people. Join an organization. Get out of your comfort zone.

This is not to say the years after this will not be fun, but this year, the workload will not be as heavy, and you will have a little more free time than upperclassmen.

It’s a cliche, but these four years will go by faster than you believe, and you want to cherish what each new year will bring.

Denicia Aragon is a news reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at on Twitter @deniciaaragon98.

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