Biggest Mistakes and Best Decisions Freshmen Make at Denison

Denison Freshman

By Features Editor
By Liz Haughton
Unigo Campus Rep at Denison

Freshmen year is scary for anyone. You are leaving your friends and family for the first time to basically start over. I know I was scared, but at Denison I was received with open arms and eased warmly into the transition of college. However, there were a few bits of information I wish I had known before my adventure at Denison began. Included are some tips from current Denison students, including myself, to give you a better idea of what to expect as a freshmen on the hill.

The day I moved into my freshmen dorm at Denison happened to be the hottest day of the summer. I also happened to be on the fourth floor of Shorney (the best dorm) so that created many trips up and down from my packed car. One helpful hint I can give you: do not bring your entire wardrobe. Shockingly enough, that was something I managed to do and as a result had very limited storage room left. I also didn’t use half of what I originally brought, and it took me a full week to move in completely.

During my first couple weeks at Denison, my friends were those in close proximity to me, such as those on my floor and in my classes. I soon find friends outside those sources by joining clubs and groups. That is my biggest tip to you all: Get involved! Even though it can be intimidating, try to sign up for at least a couple of activities. Denison makes it very easy by hosting an activity fair during the first week of school. Try something new or continue a hobby you did in high school. Either way it will make a world of difference in making friends. I came to Denison to play lacrosse, so that was almost like an instant group of friends. I also joined a sorority second semester, which allowed me to meet a lot more people. Whatever your interests are, joining a team, club or organization will be a huge advantage to you. It was the best decision I made during my freshmen year.

College coursework definitely takes some time to get used to. Jenny Strathern, a sophomore communications major, found that waiting until the last moment to start studying was not the best idea. Eric Singh, a sophomore and a political science and history double major, found himself in over his head by taking a junior year course as a first semester freshmen.

Ashlene Brown, a junior sociology/anthropology major, suggests understanding the credit system before starting classes. Each school has a different system. Denison’s consists of taking four four-credit classes a semester. Knowing this can give you a head start in shaping your academic schedule. Figuring out time management and understanding how Denison’s classes work are good ideas to keep in mind when entering freshmen year. You want to find a good balance of the academic and social aspects of college, and coming in with a plan is the right place to start.

For Jenny, the best decision she made as a freshman was branching out while meeting friends. She made an effort to leave her comfort zone, which resulted in meeting new and interesting people she might not have otherwise. Denison’s student body includes students from all different backgrounds and from all over the country. After growing up with the same group of kids your entire life, this might seem uncomfortable or even awkward, but doing so can result in life-long friendships. Eric decided to get a job through the admissions office his freshman year, and that was the best decision he made. Having a job in college gives you structure as well as a few extra spending dollars. Denison offers several jobs around campus from helping out teachers to working at the athletic center. If you feel like you have the time, jobs can be a good experience in teaching time management and responsibility.

One thing we can learn from Ashlene is to hang in there during the first year at Denison. She was very homesick her first semester and originally thought about transferring. Homesickness can occur especially for those that are farther away from home. She decided to give it a second chance second semester and has loved it ever since. Give Denison at least a trial year. It is a small school that isn’t for everyone, but most people learn to love the university, I know I did. Everything takes some time getting used to, from living away from home, to balancing your schedule and figuring out the right classes to take. Freshmen year at Denison is both frightening and exciting at the same time, but entering with some idea will prepare you in finding your own niche on the hill.