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Words of wisdom for those navigating the uncharted territories of college life.

In what’s become a regular call for insight each August, we asked our Facebook audience what advice they had for the incoming Class of ’19.

Advice for freshmen

The words of wisdom flowed deep and wide—for instance, Quan Lai said “if you ever hear a ‘Bama fan say ‘Roll Tide,’ say ‘Sugar Bowl 2009.'” But of the 132 carefully crafted comments on how to have a fruitful and productive college career, eight themes emerged.

Go to class

It seems so obvious, but at 7:05 in the morning on a dark, 20-degree day in November, skipping class can be quite tempting. Don’t do it. Don’t just take our word for it, read what others have said:

Ree-anne Robin: Go to class! you’ve already paid for it and no one is going to learn this stuff for you. 

Dany Marie Maxey: Show up, sit in the front row, and give it your all every day, you won’t regret it.

Maddy Miller: Go to class. It will keep you from going off the deep end.

Lauren Rowland Williams: Always go to class and don’t ever put off assignments. Be sure to meet with your academic advisor to stay on track with classes and credits to graduate. Don’t be afraid to speak to your professors about any questions or concerns you have. Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the experience. It goes by too fast.

Joe Calderon: Don’t skip class to play pool in the union.

Shop around when it comes to textbooks

We’re not going to quote anyone on this piece of advice because we don’t want to upset the book store even further, but let’s just say the number one comment, with 52 likes, on the Facebook thread related to searching for course material beyond the brick and mortar. Obviously buying books on the Internet is nothing new, but renting is another option multiple people suggested.

Wear comfortable shoes

The University of Utah is not the flatlander campus constructed in the middle of a cornfield that you’ll find in the heartland. We have hills and elevation, which supply some of the most amazing vistas and views of any college in the world. The unique terrain can also make the trek from class to class feel like a hike through the neighboring mountains. By the end of the semester, the leg burn will be long gone and the stretch from Marriott Library to Legacy Bridge will be a piece of cake. And your calves will look great. But, even then, if you’re wearing uncomfortable shoes, the pain might never go away. Especially if a healthy helping of Utah’s legendary snow has carpeted campus.

William Ramsey Smith: Get some waterproof shoes for the upcoming winter. Explore every inch of campus—that place has a magic about it.

Brittany Warner: Wear comfortable shoes, make sure you buy snow boots for rain and snow weather.

You are no longer a child

The shackles of youth—such as curfews, checking in and parent-signed report cards—are gone, which means a whole new level of responsibility and accountability.
Kenzie Crawford: Remember it’s not high school. Don’t expect things to be the same. Most importantly always read and keep your syllabus. The prof won’t care that you forgot. They won’t give you an extension on an assignment.

Davis Anderson: High school is a breeze. Study in college or you will be struggling to catch up.

Dave Johannes: This isn’t high school anymore. Leave the petty “Mean Girls” clique attitude behind, you’re an adult now. You won’t sit with your circle of friends at lunch anymore. Go out and make new friends with anyone you want to be friends with and don’t care what others think of you.

Brittany Green-Miner: There is a lot less hand-holding by professors than your high school teachers did. They’re still very interested in helping you succeed (ask questions and go to office hours if you have questions), but going to class, paying attention and getting homework done depends far more on YOU than it did in high school.

Meet your teacher

They do, after all, decide on your grade. They can be really neat, too.

Gina Jon Bernal: Say hello to your teacher as soon as possible. Despite how big some of the classes can be, all of my teachers have remembered my name and can keep up with how I am doing, which is great for when you need a letter of recommendation.

Emily Cruz: Have a strong communication with your instructors, trust me you’ll need it.

We also gleaned that this also applies to advisors.

Jacque Gustafson Bullock: Meet with your advisor to plan your schedule each semester. It only takes 10 minutes and will save you time and money by avoiding classes that you don’t need!

Don’t forget to sleep

College is hard work—your brain needs its rest.

Jorge Alberto Pille: Get a decent night’s sleep, so you can actually pay attention during class, which makes studying and homework way more efficient and effective. Also, participate in class!

Get involved

It’s cliche, but so true. Lifelong friendships and once-in-a-lifetime experiences can be had, but you have to participate first to reap the rewards.

Tyler Cheney: Get involved in research, get involved in extra curricular activities. It’s what will separate you from the pack when you apply to graduate school, and the U is a top tier research institution so you should take advantage of that asap. Don’t worry if you don’t have experience at first, just get involved in something you’re interested in.

DeMarie Hoover: You are the one that makes your experience at the U amazing! (It is amazing! This is coming from a super senior who doesn’t want to leave!) Get involved with the MUSS, sit by someone new in class, don’t take classes at 7 a.m. your first year unless you want to fail or die. Welcome to the U! You’ll love it!

Ashley Costa: Get involved! Join clubs and organizations, intramural sports teams, student gov – whatever you’re interested in. Be open to new people and experiences! Get to know the people on your floor in the residence halls if living on campus. And order pizza from the Pie!

Smell the roses

College is one of the greatest experiences of one’s life. And it’s an awesome opportunity.

Dale Lund: Enjoy every day. The U was a life changer and enhancer for me! Value your education or you will cheat yourself.

Cameron Anton Andersson: Stop and look around once in a while. Your campus is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Seriously.

Kiku Watanabe Bartschi: Have fun!

To sum it all up, this quote from Karen Crompton is apt: “Get involved in campus life. Make appointments with professors. Get to know new people. Take care of yourself and get enough sleep.”

Oh, and as Ryan Nakamura says, “on any given day, somewhere on campus, you can find free food.” Follow us on Twitter at @UUtah where we’ll try to alert you to the day’s free lunch.

By Andrew Thompson Landerghini, new media specialist for University Marketing and Communications