I wish I knew what the workload would be.
You have to work hard. Classes are difficult, and if you're having trouble, you need to ask for help as soon as possible.
The one thing that is always told to college freshman is to try everything, because it's a period of new things and adjustment. While trying lots of things is important, it's most important to know what you are truly passionate for, and seek those things out, because it's there that you will make friends. I joined lots of clubs my first year, but eventually, I stopped attending many of them because the activity or people were not to my liking. Even though college is about exploration, it's important to stay true to yourself and know what makes you happy.
The kids are weirdly-obsessed with academics
I wish I would have known to take advantage of any opportunity that came my way in college. I didn't learn this lesson until the end of my freshmen year, when one of my friends told me to break out of my shell and try new things. I'm so glad I took his advice, because I have been so lucky to have experienced so many different aspects of college in which I have been able to pursue my dreams and passions. Bottom line: try new things every day!
The main thing that I wish I had bothered to learn before coming here is money management. Since there are so many great and easily accessible stores, restaurants, and fun places to go around Williamsburg, I spent way too much money during my first semester. I've been working on saving my money though over the course of this semester by making it slightly less accessible though. For example, I deposited most of my savings into a one year CD. That way, I won't be tempted to withdraw it and it will be able to accumulate interest!
There is an incredible emphasis placed upon extra-curricular activities. Many students try to do almost too much. Sometimes I wounder when or even if they sleep.
How many opportunities there are and the diversity of activities. Also, I wish I had known how accesible the professors.
As I intend to go to Medical School after I graduate, I wish I had known how early an undergraduate pre-medical student must begin preparing for medical school. In my experience, to be competetive for "good" medical schools in the United States, a pre-med student should begin research his or her first semester of his or her freshman year. He or she should simultaneously begin volunteering, shadowing doctors, and gaining clinical experience. Of course, he or she must do all of this while maintaining an astronomically high GPA.
I wish I had been better prepared for gen ed requirements. I was a little lost freshman year trying to figure out what classes I needed and wanted to take. I also wish I had known that my IB scores did not count as highly as AP scores would have.
Before coming to William and Mary I wish I had known that the school would offer such a fenomenal variety of activities open to all students. I had no idea how many opportunities awaited me.
That it is amazing, and if I could go back, I would have only applied to this school.
That I didn't need to bring so much stuff--but, I should have bought rainboots and an umbrella!
Registration can be frustrating, and it is difficult to get on-campus housing.
The social and dating pool and exactly why they call this an academic school.
There are many Conservative southern people here that are not very accepting. Social life without a frat/sorority isn't great. Study a lot and enjoy when you go home.
Four semesters of a foreign language is required, but can be filled in high school.
This school is facing serious financial issues that seem to threaten its quality and reputation. The professors are almost universally great, the students are very hardworking and many are brilliant, but the administration is bureaucratic and heavy-handed, and in my opinion they do not make appropriate use of what money they have (investing in a new sports complex, for instance, rather than raising our pathetic faculty salaries) and may worsen the financial woes of the institution. Also, the town is a conservative retirement community that is over-policed and often hostile to students.
Professors aren't scary! Get to know and love financial aid/academic advising people well. THEY WANT TO HELP YOU. Ask and you will recieve tenfold.
I wish I had known how socially awkward everyone was here.
How hard the classes are! And how hard it is to transfer into. I came at the beginning of Junior year, and people already had their own groups. Not as friendly as I thought.
I wish I had known that planning ahead is really as important as your parents and every tourguide tell you it is. Every opportunity is available to you at this school if you plan for it in advance, and I've discovered that that is the key to getting the most out of the college experience. Having so many options for social and academic improvement can be overwhelming so knowing to plan for what you want is a useful thing to actually do.
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