Seniors reflect, share what they wish they had known their freshman year


As finals week looms just on the other side of the weekend, a sense of panic sweeps the campus from freshmen to seniors. Students scramble to cram just a little more information into their exhausted brains, as if just a few more hours will assure them that A — if their professor weights the grade book.

If you are a first-semester freshman, you have a unique opportunity to use this as a “trial” semester. As you move closer to graduation, the finals get harder and the grades matter more.

Many seniors long for that first semester where, had they known what they do now, they could have started off strong with a high grade point average. Had they done so, they wouldn’t be just as panicked as they are now.

So to all you underclassmen, heed the following advice from seniors who have figured out what they wished they had known their first semester freshman year.

The first challenge of finals week is when to begin preparing. Whether it’s from the first day of class to the Friday before finals, time management will always be a struggle to students who don’t develop an awareness of time.

“It is so easy to think I have all the time in the world, because my classes don’t meet,” Aaron Bisch, senior in interior architecture and product design, said. “But, time still flies just as fast during finals week as it does all year round. Don’t let your time slip away.”

For those who may have priorities outside academics like work or social inclinations, focusing on the classes that straddle the borderline between grades is a more efficient use of time.

“If you’ve already been doing well on the tests and are doing well with your grades, don’t stress,” Jay Chenault, senior in architecture, said. “Instead, focus on a few important classes by studying up for a few days before the final. Culminating with an extended cram session the night before. However, if the class deals directly with my major, I try to give it priority over the electives.”

Once the determination to study has been found, then one just needs to find a place to set up shop. Probably a place you’ll be content with not moving from.

“Find your ‘special place,’” Bisch said. “Campus is full of places to ‘escape’ on campus. Find a place in the library, the Alumni Center or in your favorite building to really get down and study.”

After a “special place” has been located for studying, Alex Schram, senior in mechanical engineering, said he has discovered how easy it is to memorize stuff really easily, while math and engineering are a bit more challenging.

“If it’s a math, physics or engineering class, it really helps to work problems, just looking at problems and solutions doesn’t really do much,” he said. “But when you do the problems and then go back and compare, it makes a much larger impact and actually helps on the final. Other classes, history, bio, chem., etc. nothing you can really do besides read it and memorize.”

However, the best advice Schram said he could give would be to take everything in stride. That finals often induce too much anxiety and the best thing to do is just breathe.

“Don’t stress out too much,” Schram said. “Finals are important, but you generally do better than you anticipated, and sometimes there is even a curve. Once your last final is done, go home and enjoy break. Don’t stress about grades being posted. It won’t change anything.”