Worst Mistakes and Best Decisions Freshmen Make at Colorado State University

Colorado State Freshman

By Melissa Shock
By Melissa Shock
Unigo Campus Rep at CSU

Attending a 25,000 plus university can be extremely overwhelming. First year students are merely 18 years old, newly on their own, and ready to conquer the world. Freshmen year is full of firsts, and many students find it difficult to make decisions. Many students look back and reminisce about the good times and the bad.

Many students found that their best decision was distancing themselves from high school friends and really diving into a brand new environment. David Okada, junior music major, said he’s glad that he put a lot on his plate freshman year “because it got me out of my group of high school friends and meeting new people, even if it did wear me out.”

Marketing major Marissa West recalled freshman year being the best place to meet amazing people, “there was always someone to do something with.”

Lance Moormon, a senior communications major, was glad he “branch[ed] out to new people in the dorms, leaving behind old friends.”

Others found that getting involved was something that defined their first year. Shannon Donaldson, a senior marketing and sociology major, says that her best decision was “joining Delta Sigma Pi, because it gave me that push to be part of something that provided me with more than just a college education.”

Senior journalism major Michelle Shank realized that being involved in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) was really the greatest thing about her freshman year because “it allowed me to get involved on the CSU campus and meet so many different people.”

Social aspects of the college experience seem to be at the top of the list for most freshman students. Ryan Trude, a junior history major, however, said that his best decision was actually going to class.

“My courses were interesting and I actually learned something!” he recalled.

Other students saw facilities as the greatest aspect of freshman year and living in the dorms. Jamie Shank, a senior fashion design major, misses dorm food and was glad she took advantage of it freshman year.

Senior finance major Lauren Stowe remembered how “nice it was living so close to the recreation center!” Students really took advantage of meeting new people, involvement opportunities, and dorm amenities.

The many issues encountered freshman year can seem like culture shock compared to high school. Students also discussed some of their worst decisions.

Kevin Gritters said that he didn’t devote enough time to homework.

Donaldson echoed she made the mistake of assuming the 100 level classes were going to be easy.

“I soon realized that those first year classes are there to kind of weed kids out of those majors so only the really passionate ones make it through, and I should have worked harder and studied harder in that first year’s worth of classes,” she said.

Okada said he wished he didn’t commit himself to a degree so quickly and taken time for study abroad and Alternative Spring Break. Shank and Jason Gritters both said they went home way too often and wish they stayed on campus during the weekends. Finally Lance Moormon was the only student to admit that he drank a little too much his freshman year.

Freshman year can be a difficult transition, and as seen above, there are many decisions to be taken into consideration. Based on the examples mentioned, we can formulate some freshman do’s and don’ts:

Get involved!!! Feel like you must graduate in 4 years
Go to class Drink too much
Meet new people Go home every weekend
Be proactive and seek out opportunities Think your classes will be a breeze
Eat the dorm food Hide behind familiarity

My best decision was being proactive. My first semester, I enjoyed classes and the overall college experience but became so easily bored that I sought out involvement opportunities. I went to the student involvement fair and really started networking with other students to find out what I wanted to do. Being a business major, but not knowing anyone in the business school yet, I decided to seek out opportunities within the college. I came across Delta Sigma Pi — a co-ed business fraternity. After talking to members I found that this was something I really wanted to do. It combined the social, professional, and commitment aspects I was looking for.

During the spring of 2005, I rushed and went through a similar pledging process as any other social fraternity or sorority. Four years later I can still say it was the best decision I made not only freshman year, but for my entire college experience. I’ve met so many people — especially other business majors — people I can relate to more with my career objectives. I have also had the chance to hold a variety of officer positions within the organization. This has given me experience in interviewing, networking, event planning and brotherhood. My advice to all freshmen is to seek out any and every involvement opportunity you can — whether it be through your appropriate school or just a hobby — CSU has so much to offer. (For information see, the Student Organization list)

Coming out of high school I was very dependent on my friends and just plain terrified about coming to such a large university. Two of my friends and I decided to live together in the dorms. Everyone advised us against it, warning that we would end up despising one another. This, fortunately, did not happen. We are still close friends today. The problem for me was that it inhibited me to branch out and meet new people. I wanted to meet people but was intimidated and overwhelmed, so I used my friends for security and familiarity. Moving into the dorms with a random roommate would have challenged me to step outside my comfort zone and literally would have forced me to meet new people. It would have enhanced my freshman year experience by purely living with someone new.