Tips from the top: Advice for freshman from a senior who’s been there

By Alexis Book

Opinion Editor

I can remember my first day at Canisius like it was yesterday. I arrived at Frisch Hall wearing my too-short, Delta Sonic work shorts and a sparkly, silver headband in my hair. After shamelessly announcing to my floormates that I did not drink alcohol or party, I skipped most of my first day activities in favor of aimlessly driving around Buffalo while sobbing to my high school boyfriend. Ah, to be young again.

Three years, 90 credit hours, and countless mistakes later, here I sit. I have long since retired wearing work uniforms as everyday outfits and have made more drunken mistakes than anyone should have to admit. I hand out flyers at the club fairs I once so ignorantly avoided attending and assist in planning the same activities that I once thought were a waste of my tax dollars. College is a time for growth, and you will change tremendously from the moment you pick up your student ID to the time that you sign up for your senior capstone. If you play your cards right, those very changes will help you become someone that you can be proud of. If you’re lucky, they will bring you the best four years of your life.

So, for the sake of sentimentality, I want to offer some advice to all of you eager freshman out there. Hopefully, I have already taught you that your work clothes are not stylish and that your floormates do not want to be lectured about their drinking habits. While we are on the topic of superficial advice: the clothes you wear to the club are not the clothes you should wear to a house party, respect your professors and upperclassmen, don’t date someone who lives on your floor, and for Petey’s sake, please take that lanyard off your neck, everyone is staring at you.

But, more importantly, get out of your comfort zone. Don’t sit at lunch with the same kids you came from high school with and don’t blow off campus-wide activities in favor of sitting in your common room, watching Netflix and drinking PBR from a Gatorade bottle. It’s easy to get in the habit of just going to your classes, coming back, and chilling with the same three people every day. Don’t. Go to the school-sponsored activity, even if it’s just to make fun of it with your friends. Join a club that you don’t know anybody in. Try out for the fall play, check out Greek life on campus, ask your friends to compete in an intramural sport, write for The Griffin (shameless plug). Give extra curriculars a chance and they will change your life, and your resumé

When you aren’t spending your time hanging out in the underground, actually attend your classes. You know which classes need your full attention; don’t talk yourself into missing them. Skipping your 8 a.m. just because you don’t want to wake up isn’t a good excuse. Put on some sweatpants, grab a cup of Timmy Ho’s, and learn from your mistake for next semester and stick to classes after 10 a.m.

While you’re planning your schedule for next semester, take some classes that are outside of your major, just for fun. I know it seems far off, but before you know it, you’ll be anxiously applying for internships, and future employers want an English/COM major who knows the basics of HTML and CSS, or a Finance major who also has a great knack for public speaking and took multiple oral communications classes to enhance it. Forget what they’re telling you, you’re not here to get a degree and you’re not here to get a job, you’re here to learn — and hopefully do the other two along the way. If you focus on being the best, most well-rounded version of yourself, good things will come to you. There are hundreds of candidates with your degree, so make sure you stand out.

You’re on your own for these next four years, and it’s time to hold yourself accountable. Nobody is going to hand you an internship, or ask you how to spend your student tax dollars, or tell you not to go out on the Thursday before your midterm. It’s no one’s fault but your own if you aren’t making the necessary strides to succeed in school. Don’t be the kid that complains about their college on social media. Be the kid who starts petitions, joins a club with a mission, or sits and meets with administrators. This school can do incredible things when the right students are working to turn the wheels in motion. Be a part of that momentum.

Finally, and most importantly, enjoy the time that you have here. You will never have the opportunity to be around so many likeminded individuals again, and the time goes just as quickly as everyone says it does. I’m not an expert on Canisius, or how to succeed in college; I’m just a nostalgic senior who’s looking to fill up space in her section of the paper. All I know is that these have been the best few years of my life, and that if you let them, they’ll be the best few years of your life too.




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