There are many freshmen at West Virginia University who are first-generation college students. Without a sibling or parent to answer all of your questions and give you advice, sometimes you can head into this experience with more nerves than you know what to do with.

We asked some upperclassmen at WVU to tell us what they wished they knew heading into their freshmen year to try to help you out and turn those nerves into excitement. Check it out!

Adam Carte
(@adamcarte on Twitter)

Hey freshmen class! Keep up with the latest WVU news via WVUToday on Twitter (@WVUToday). Use #wvu17 when posting on social media throughout Move-In Weekend and Welcome Week!

“You don’t have to be perfect. It’s great to have high expectations for yourself, but it’s also very important to realize that setbacks will happen while you’re in college. If you make a bad grade on a test or forget to turn in a homework assignment, don’t let yourself get too stressed out over it. Take a step back from everything and look at the big picture. Most of you are going to be in college for four or more years. It’s a long journey, but it’s much too short to waste time on worrying about things you cannot change. Whenever you do make mistakes, learn from them but move on. You’ll end up being much happier this way. The time you spend in college truly should be some of the best years of your life. Just remember to roll with the punches and have some fun along the way!”

Patrick Cushing

“As freshmen, you will hear certain things over and over – get involved, balance your time, school is truly why you are here – but I think the biggest thing is to be open to discovering who you are. These four years are the time where you start to figure out how you fit in to the world around you. Make your C.V. or resume something that truly represents you as a person. If you find yourself graduating after four years of trying to fit into the crowd, you really haven’t grown at all. And people will see that, especially those who decide whether or not you deserve a particular job or whether you are a good fit as their significant other. From syllabus week until you are shaking hands on the stage at graduation, WVU gives you the opportunity to learn how to ‘be,’ the most important verb in the English language. It’s how your traits, talents and shortcomings best exist in your personal environment, but also how you best fit in with others, whether it be in a lab group or a Greek organization or even a relationship. And remember, if you feel like you have lost your way, lost your ambition to ‘be,’ keep your eyes open, something will be there to help you find it again.”

TJ Espina

“As an incoming freshman at WVU, I didn’t fully appreciate everything that WVU athletics has to offer to students. I knew that WVU had great football and basketball teams, which I was able to see firsthand as a member of WVU’s athletic bands. It wasn’t until my junior year that I really started to take advantage of sports outside of football and basketball. In 2011, I had the opportunity to see WVU men’s soccer upset No. 1 Connecticut in an incredible match at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium. Since then, I have been in the crowd for conference championships, major upsets and historic firsts as WVU entered the Big 12 Conference. Heading into my freshman year, I wish I would’ve embraced WVU sports like baseball, soccer, hockey, volleyball and gymnastics as much as I do now. It means a lot to student-athletes and coaches when the student body comes out in full support. As a student at WVU, make it a goal to go see every team play. I guarantee you’ll see something truly amazing and special. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see a conference or national championship.”

Katie Heller

“The first piece of advice I can give to the new freshman class is to know that you’re not alone! We’ve all been through those awkward first weeks of school. You’re thrown into a brand new atmosphere, you don’t know many people and you just walked into the wrong classroom. Relax. You’re a part of thousands of new students who are in the same situation. It’s exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time. Therefore, it’s really important to step out of your comfort zone and use every opportunity to introduce yourself to others. Take initiative to meet the people in your dorm, in the dining halls and during Welcome Week events. Don’t think you’re ‘too cool’ to go to your floor’s ice cream social or BBQ on the Green. These are all opportunities provided to help you get acclimated to your new scenery. Take advantage of them. Developing these friendships early on will make your new transition a lot smoother. From one Mountaineer to another; welcome to the family.”

Steve Orlowski

“Freshman year of college is an exciting time in anyone’s life. Something that I wish I had known prior to move-in day is how important it is to get involved on campus. As you are about to begin your journey at this great University, it is crucial to join various student organizations and to spend your time wisely. During your freshman year, you have the unique opportunity to choose your own destiny. Whether that’s joining student clubs, playing intramural sports or going Greek, get involved as early as possible. Before you know it, you will be walking across that stage holding your diploma. While walking across that stage you want to have no regrets and know that you actually accomplished something at WVU. You will only live college once, so make the best out of it, and do what makes you happy! Be smart, have fun and be proud that you are a Mountaineer!”

Summer Ratcliff

“Coming to WVU as a non-traditional student was a very intimidating endeavor. I didn’t have the typical introduction to college life by living in a dorm and being forced to meet the people on my floor. Instead, it took me close to two semesters before I had made any connections and began to get involved. As a freshman, no matter your age or circumstance, the entire college scene can be very overwhelming, but if you know where to look to find the answers you’re searching for the transition can be made easier. If you can’t seem to find the answer on your own, don’t hesitate to reach out to those around you. If that means stopping at the front desk of E. Moore Hall, or stopping in to speak with your advisor or maybe visiting the Student Organization wing in the Mountainlair, no matter where you decide to seek assistance, there WILL be someone there that is more than happy to help you with whatever your question or need is. Never forget that there are thousands of people all around you who want to see you succeed at WVU: teachers, advisors, peers, etc. We are all here to help you! My other piece of advice is to GET INVOLVED. Do not sit in your room alone, wishing you had friends or wishing you had something to do. There are over 300 student organizations at this University. Whether you are interested in being in politics one day and want to be involved with Student Government, or whether you love Japanese animation and want to join the Anime Club, join a group that suits your personality and make connections that will help you succeed. With a strong support system, both academically and social, you are sure to enjoy your time here at WVU.”

John Terry

“College isn’t just about the learning. It’s a huge part of it, but freshman year is also about making friends and starting life away from your family for the first time. I was a huge nerd during my freshman year. I stayed in on Friday and Saturday nights to study. I stressed about homework and assignments I knew I would easily finish. I even missed a football game to study for an exam. I did really well in school, but looking back on it, I didn’t really have as much fun as I should have. I wish I had branched out more and made more friends. WVU is a huge place full of a lot of interesting people from different parts of the country. I could have easily finished my work while meeting more people and experiencing new things. Quite frankly, it’s a miracle I came away with really good friends. I dedicated more time to friends and in the next three years and was also able to do well in school.”



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