First Year Advice
Since I’m almost done with my first year at Vandy (STILL can’t believe it), I figured I would give any high school seniors out there my two cents about freshman year, more specifically, what NOT to freak out about:
- Finding your way around campus—No one wants to be the obvious freshman with the confused look on their face or, heaven forbid, holding a map, but this is a problem you’ll solve within the first week. During orientation, new students compete in the VUmazing Race with their Vanderbilt Visions group (which meets once a week for the first semester to help students adjust) and travel all across campus. I think I knew all the main buildings before classes even started.
- Having a roommate—A lot of people have never shared a room before and worry about the roommate situation, but it’s really not a big deal. At Vanderbilt, you take a short survey (3 questions) and then are randomly matched with someone who responded the same way. A few of my friends think that there is some complex machine that weighs every factor to provide the best match, because all of the “random” roommates have been so compatible. You can also join a Facebook group and fill out much longer questionnaires to pick your own roommate (it’s kind of like online dating). I was too lazy to take the Facebook route but I’ve had such a good roommate situation! We’re both messy-ish and pretty laid-back, and happen to have the same taste in movies (She’s the Man is definitely a fave). So there’s always the option of picking a roommate via Facebook if you’re really that worried, but I was assigned an essentially random roommate and now she’s one of my best friends.
- Picking a major—Unless you’re lucky and decisive, you probably have no idea what you want to do with your life. Or even if you do, it could easily change in college, and that’s okay. I started as a Math major thinking Pre-med and am now a Neuro major thinking Pre-pharmacy. I’d never taken a Neuro class before college so how could I have known that I’d love it? I think almost every single person I know has changed his/her major at least once and that’s totally fine.
- Making friends—I’d been going to school with the same people for ten years, so I was afraid I had forgotten how to make friends. Everyone else is pretty much starting over though, so you naturally congregate anyway. Hanging out with roommates and hallmates is a great way to meet people and definitely helped me this year. My hallmates are hilarious and my best friends and I’m going to miss them soooo much this summer (yes, we can be a bit overdramatic). When you’ve seen how crazy someone can get working on a paper at 3 in the morning, eating instant mashed potatoes (apparently those exist), or just celebrating after a final, you’re friends for life.