As thousands of college freshmen flood to Winona State University and college campuses around the country, there are a few things most have in common. Missing friends back home, finding a time when all the washers aren’t taken and waking up for early morning classes are some of the recurring struggles.
However, navigating all the college advice given from well-intentioned sources may be an additional, unintended task.
Cody Skog, a senior communications studies major said the worst advice he got before coming to Winona State was “to party, experience your new-found freedom, and ‘find yourself.’”
“I found that they were such empty things to chase, and resulted in me being focused on myself more than others,” Skog said.
Lauren Howe, a senior public relations major, agreed.
“The worst advice I got at college was ‘don’t take school too seriously, just have fun,’” Howe said.
Instead, Skog and Howe found enjoyment elsewhere. Skog spends time growing in his relationship with God by reading his Bible every day and praying, while Howe found that being present in class and getting to know her professors made all the difference.
Of course, college life can’t all be about school. Marissa Hines, a senior elementary education major, said your friends can also define your college experience.
“The best college advice I got would be to stay
true to myself. It’s easy to get lost in the wrong crowd,” Hines said.
Cambell Precht, a senior majoring in communication studies, found that stressing over classes is not the most important thing about college.
“One good piece of advice I got was to not
over-stress on school, but take time to do things you love and create memories because college will go so fast,” Precht said.
Brian Waldbillig, a senior public relations major, said putting academics first was one bad piece of advice he received before coming to college.
“I’ve learned that it’s okay to hang out with your friends on a Saturday instead of spending the entire day studying,” Waldbillig said.
Getting involved on campus seems to be a popular suggestion for any incoming freshman, according to sophomore nursing major Hannah Sterkowitz it is good advice.
“Before getting here I was told that I should try to get involved in many activities and clubs,” Sterkowitz said. “This has been really great advice, as I have met some really amazing friends and people through these [clubs].”
While every college campus has some similar qualities, Sterkowitz said she received some advice that is completely unique to Winona State.
“There are so many amazing places and sights to visit and see,” Sterkowitz said. “My personal favorites are bluff hikes, sunrise runs around the lake or across the bridge to Wisconsin, the Farmers Market, Blue Heron and of course you can’t forget about all of the little ice cream shops.”
Strange college advice is universal according to Abigail Blue, a sophomore from Concordia University in Wisconsin with friends at Winona State. Blue said she struggled with who to listen to when it came to advice.
“Everyone was telling me something different: get a job, don’t get a job, take 18 credits first semester, take 12,” Blue said. “A lot of what college means to me is figuring things out on your own, sometimes through trial and error. In the end, it all works out.”