Pragmatic Perspective: Tips for a freshman

It would be safe to say that I’m quite a nerd. There are more contributing factors to my nerd status than I would like to admit, but one of them, undoubtedly, is my love of school and academics in general. The thought of sitting in a classroom and listening to a lecture on international law and organization or leading a discussion on Plato’s Republic excites me more than just about anything.

I haven’t always had this passion for the classroom, but much of my developed admiration for learning and the learned stems from my first semesters at Weber State University. Thanks to great professors at a great institution, I was hooked, and was able to firmly plant my feet in my academic interests. In spite of my interest and desire to perform well in school, there are a few important boats that I missed or did not take full advantage of when I began my college career in the summer of 2009. There are three areas that I feel like each new Wildcat should take into consideration, so as to avoid making the same problems that I made as a new student at WSU.

Preparation: I often wondered, before becoming a college student, why it takes people so long to graduate. Is it because they can’t make up their mind on a major? Partly. Or are they working too much and only going to school part-time? Possibly. The real reason I’ve seen is a lack of preparation. Do you know exactly which classes you need to complete your general-education requirements? Not to mention diversity and scientific inquiry credits, which are a must for any major? And do you know when the classes you want to take for your major are offered? Because heaven knows that upper-division classes are not offered each semester. If you are unable to answer these questions, then don’t panic, but take it is as a subtle hint that there is a lot to prepare for if you’re planning on graduating in the typical four years. Talk to your academic adviser, and if you haven’t met with one, find out with whom you should be consulting. Preparation will save a lot of headaches and heartache when you have to pay for an extra couple of semesters that you hadn’t originally anticipated.

Participation: Get involved. We all have interests, and there is almost always a student organization or club that will help you magnify those interests. Not only will you make great friends and have great experiences, but extracurricular activities are fantastic resume fodder if you’re planning on continuing your education on the graduate level or looking for employment after graduation (which most, if not all, of you are).

Pride: There is a stigma that accompanies WSU, and, while it is slowly fading, it still exists. I would strongly recommend, when someone asks you where you’re going to school, to never respond “just Weber.” This answer not only discredits your merits as a student and individual, but it also discredits WSU as a fine institution of higher education and learning. Leave the “just” for the community-college kids. Along with being proud of your school internally, you should also show your pride externally. Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to wear a purple-and-white shirt each day (or that you need to wear WSU gear at all), but, for Pete’s sake, do not wear paraphernalia from other schools! Do you realize how stupid you look walking around campus wearing an article of clothing with “BYU” or “U of U” plastered all over it? All you achieve by wearing such things is letting everyone know that you don’t know what you want in life, and that you don’t know how to get it. Don’t settle for WSU. Aspire to WSU.

Hopefully these tips will help both the newest and the oldest WSU Wildcats.