Attention all freshmen: Advice for the new year

Welcome to Chadron State College, whether you are returning or just starting. It’s that time of year again. Classes are starting, football season is creeping up and freshmen are thrown into the college life.
We, at The Eagle, have been in your shoes. Everyone older than you, has gone through what you are. The big move to college can be difficult for some. Here are some tips to help make this change smooth.
Number one: Go to class. I know you have spent the past four years in a high school sitting in classes for eight hours a day, but you still need to go. Independence is amazing. You are now free from your mom breathing down your neck about everything, but your freedom does not excuse you laying in bed all day. Surprise, but most teachers take attendance and even if they don’t, they notice who is in class. Stay caught up in class and get the education you’re paying for. I know that 8 a.m. class might sound really terrible on a Monday morning, but get up and go. Habits are hard to break and once you are in the habit of skipping, you are destined for bad things.
Number two: Be respectful. If you live on campus, that is your new home. Treat it how your mother would want you to. Just follow the rules, respect quiet hours and don’t be stupid. Not everyone likes to stay up until 3 a.m. playing Xbox, so be respectful of your roommates and floormates. Your RA’s have a job to do, so if you follow the rules of the dorms, there won’t be a problem.
Number three: Get involved. I know this is cliche, but it really does help you feel like a part of the community. There are many clubs on campus that are always looking for new people. Do some research, find things that interest you, because there are other people that share your interests. Participate in on campus events. Residence Life Association works really hard to put on events on campus for students to be a part of. Watch for advertisements for events you might be interested in and bring some friends. If you are not sure who to talk to about getting involved, talk to your RA’s.
Number four: Stay organized. This is easier said than done. I have bought a planner and filled out one page and never used it again, but organization helps tremendously in college. Buy a dry-erase board and write yourself reminders about upcoming assignments, tests or meetings. Use sticky notes for reminders. Constantly check Sakai and EagleMail for deadlines and emails from professors. You don’t want to be the person that shows up to class when it’s canceled because you didn’t check your email. I’ve been there. Check your MyCSC account and make sure you pay your bill on time. The last thing you want to do is get evicted from campus. Also, keep track of your student I.D. That card is literally your food source, so don’t lose it!
Number five: Be smart. You aren’t fooling anyone. Everyone knows why you stumble into the dorms at 2 a.m. on the weekend. Your teacher knows why you never show up on time for Friday morning’s lecture. College parties seem like the greatest thing on earth, but this isn’t like the movies. Be safe, smart, and don’t put yourself in a position to get into trouble. Watch out for your friends. If they are putting themselves in bad situations and losing control, put the brakes on. There is no shame in leaving early and getting home safe. It is all fun and games until the party gets busted and you have to make a wonderful phone call telling your parents that you are receiving an MIP. Don’t forget the real reason you are here is to get a higher education. You have paid a lot of money for this opportunity, so don’t just drink it away. In a perfect world, freshmen would study in the dorms on weekends, and absolutely nobody would drink alcohol until they turn 21. But let’s be honest, it is going to happen. Don’t be stupid, know your limits, understand the risks and do not drive while impaired.
Number six: Explore. Chadron has a lot more to offer than many of you may think. Yes, it is a small town with limited places and opportunities for leisure, but don’t be afraid to go outside of city limits. Chadron State Park is just a few minutes south of town. There is fishing, hiking and even an 18-hole disc golf course. If you travel west, Fort Robinson State Park offers great views, with a touch of history, trail rides, fishing and more hiking. There is an 18-hole golf course just outside of Crawford, and if you aren’t afraid to drive on a dirt road, Toadstool Geologic Park is another great outdoor exploration opportunity. If you are tired of the outdoors, or if you just generally don’t enjoy them, grab a few friends, plug in the aux cord, and take a mini road trip. Rapid City, South Dakota, is less than a two hour drive from Chadron. There are plenty of shopping opportunities and more dining options (yes, they have a Taco Bell).
Number seven: Have fun! This is your time to grow, learn and begin the rest of your life. Make friends, make memories and make this the experience of a lifetime.

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