Tips to Survive and Thrive Your First Year | St. Lawrence University

Tips to Survive and Thrive Your First Year

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

I may be biased as an Orientation Leader, but I believe that those few exciting, exhausting, and daunting days are so important to build the framework for your time at St. Lawrence. These are the days you will reflect on for all four years and beyond when you made your first college friends. New connections will last a lifetime and impact your SLU experience. The best thing to do is attend all of the events, be informed, and be present. These long days are action-packed with icebreakers, so grab your water bottles, your fun facts, a great attitude, and your school spirit! Heyyy St. Lawrence!

Clubs and Activities
Every semester, St. Lawrence holds a club fair with approximately 150 organizations to join. It’s so hard not to be involved when there is something for everybody. I wish I had more hours in the day to attend more club meetings! My best advice is to talk to as many tables as you can and sign up for all of their clubs. This is a great way to meet new people and branch out on campus. It isn’t expected you show up always, but it’s nice to know what is going on around SLU. Through various clubs, you can accomplish so much from volunteering to advocacy to community connections and more. It is so important to be active on the SLU campus, and it fosters a dynamic system that keeps our close community running smoothly. If you want to create a club that we don’t have, it’s easy to start one! At the end of the day, it is so rewarding to be an engaged member on campus.

Set Goals
College is a fresh start for everybody in their first year. Setting goals and aiming to accomplish them is a great way to keep yourself on track. Whether they are personal, academic, or career goals, it is skillful to strive for the best and work for a purpose. Maintaining goals keeps you grounded. It can be beneficial to round up some friends to share in a common goal to work toward together and keep each other in check. This is a transformative time period, and it is up to every individual where they go with it.

Explore the Area
St. Lawrence is a beautiful campus with so much to explore. The University offers many hidden gems to uncover with a little curiosity and exploration. Small study spots, breathtaking flora, and underutilized cozy places give the campus a feeling of home. Beyond the walls of 23 Romoda Drive, St. Lawrence is set in the quaint town of Canton. This small town is a part of the greater connection of North Country, or “NoCo” towns. Short drives within 20 minutes off campus provide scenic views, places to eat, and an abundance of nature. We are fortunate enough to have a charming backdrop of the Adirondack Mountains nearby offering activities galore. A passion for hiking might turn you into the next 46er! The possibilities for discovery and adventure seem endless, and I am uncovering new and exciting places well into my third year.

Meet New People
I have met so many amazing and successful people here on campus. One of the biggest pieces of advice I have is to be open to new connections because you don't know what could come of them. They will teach you so much inside and out of the classroom. I have fostered many connections that I know will stand the test of time, and I know that I have found my family here. My friendships mean everything to me, and it makes my day to get a friendly "hello!" and a wave walking across campus. I have connected to so many people through others, growing my network of relationships. They have proved to be strong and useful, and bring a smile to my face knowing that I have people to fall back on at the end of every day. This only fortifies and foreshadows our status as the #3 alumni network in the country, and I cannot wait to be apart of it.

One of the best things any student can do is practice self-care. In between the hustle and bustle of work, school, and activities, every student must take time for themselves. SLU places a large emphasis on the health and mental well being of its students. This is achieved in so many ways! While many prefer to practice self-care through exercise and the gym, others may find comfort in a weekly movie night with friends, a walk around campus, a drive into the mountains, or a face mask in your room. I encourage you to find what works for you and stick to it. Mental health is important to maintain, so do some meditating and find your inner zen. Climb a mountain and discover what it is that makes you happy. Personally, I like to kick back, wrap myself in a cozy blanket, and throw on some Netflix. I am currently open to new show suggestions.

Have Fun!
Don’t get caught up in worrying too much, you’re in the hands of your SLU family now. Your time here is valuable and you will make the most of it. The amazing people and widespread support in all realms characterize SLU and ensure you flourish. Try new things, make new friends and connections, and revel in new experiences. Take a multitude of classes (thanks, liberal arts!) and join all the clubs. Listen to a new band at Java, or sit with a new friend in Dana. Gather up all your SLU spirit and make it loud and proud. Take in a breath of that fresh North Country air and know that you are home.