The Best and Worst Decisions Freshmen Students Make at Villanova

Villanova Freshman

By Caroline Renzulli

By Caroline Renzulli
Unigo Campus Rep at Villanova

Of all the questions in the world, one of the hardest to answer for a college student who has just survived freshman year, is one that asks about our “best decision.” When the question was first posed, I sat in silence for a long time, having flashbacks of all the late nights and then all the early mornings when everyone would sit around and ask, “you did what?”

Freshman year closely adheres to the line one of my favorite professors would always say to his students exiting class for the weekend: “Do everything, and don’t get caught!” With this is mind, it is not hard to imagine that many students at Villanova would identify their best decision much in the way Tony Balsam, class of ’10, remembered his social life freshman year. 

“The best decision I made freshman year was going out, every night, regardless of work,” he said. 
Jeff Burke, a ’07 graduate, lived by the same philosophy as Balsam freshman year.

“Easily the best decision I made was always having fun,” Burke said.  

While going out every night of the week is one way to socialize and meet new people during freshman year, it is not the only way to meet other Villanovans. In fact, my own personal best decision freshman year came from one of these alternatives. During my Spring Break freshman year, I decided to participate in a Villanova Service Break Trip to Jones County, North Carolina.  Every year Villanova sends hundreds of students to locations throughout the world to help others, and to “live simply so that others can simply live”. Groups are made up of students of all classes and are lead entirely by students. As I was the only freshman on my trip, I was forced into a situation that required me to meet new people.

Though initially I was hesitant to participate, and even debated dropping out of the group, going on this break trip was easily the best decision of my college career. I was introduced to friends I kept through my four years of college, people I could not imagine not knowing once I had met them.  I have since participated in two other service trips to Alabama and Texas, but I will always remember my first trip as my favorite college experience.

Just as asking a college student to identify the best decision they made freshman year can seem like a trick question, so can asking about the biggest mistake they made their first year.  With so many mistakes to choose from, it is hard to pick which mistake was the biggest. Though going out every night can be the right decision for some, it does not always work for everyone.  Jon Dobzlecki, a recent Villanova alum, said his biggest mistake was not taking his coursework seriously enough. Senior Christine Lovallo also felt the effects of going out every night, as she said her biggest mistake was staying up all night, only to sleep all day.

While I can easily relate to Dobzlecki and Lovallo’s biggest mistakes, my own biggest mistake was not getting to know the girls on my floor freshman year. While I love the friends that I did make, none of them lived in the dorm with me, and as a result I did not know a single person on my floor aside from my roommate, who also turned out to be one of my best friends at Villanova. It’s always awkward running into your next door neighbor in the bathroom at 2 a.m. and not having anything to say! Our RA did a great job of organizing events for our floor, but my roommate and I never attended these gathers. If I could go back to freshman year I would just get to know everyone because there is no such thing as having too many friends!

As a senior now, it is somewhat funny to recall all the silly, stupid, and foolish decisions that my friends and I made freshman year. But just like there’s no such thing as having too many friends, it is hard to argue that there is such a thing as having too much fun. So do everything, and don’t get caught…but at Villanova you have to go to class to get this advice.