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Listen Up, Freshmen!

We asked seniors to give their best advice to fellow OCU Stars who are taking on their academic careers this year. Although the university experience has changed due to the ongoing pandemic, some things remain the same. 

Senior Vance Klassen

Stay on top of your mental health

“After nearly four years at OCU, I can say that there are many things I wish I would have known as an incoming freshman. One of the most important things I have come to learn is that not everything deserves 100% of you. Negotiating your mental health for the sake of making the grade, pleasing your friends, or making extra money is one of the biggest mistakes one could make in recognizing personal worth. Always take the time to find yourself, explore, challenge, embrace, and most importantly, pick yourself back up again."

- Vance Klassen

Make mistakes, but learn from them

“Be responsible, be smart, and learn. 

It is extremely important, especially now with COVID-19, to be responsible not only for yourself but for others around you as well. What this means is abide by university policy, wear a mask, practice social distancing, etc. Remember also to be fiscally responsible. I recommend creating a budget to find how much spending money is an appropriate amount per month. 

Be smart in making decisions. Easier said than done, of course, but try and understand potential repercussions before you make a decision that might have unintended consequences. Go to class, try not to procrastinate, and overall understand you can avoid many issues if you both think and plan ahead. 

Lastly, remember to try and learn as much as possible. Don't be afraid to make mistakes or to try and live life to the fullest. Making mistakes is completely fine and natural, but what's important is to learn from them.” 

- Jayden Wieser

Senior Isabel Finney

Take advantage of opportunities

“My advice is to study abroad! Study abroad teaches a person so much more about themselves and the world around them. While you’re there, do something that’s out of your comfort zone! Whether that’s making a solo trip, asking for directions in another language, or trying new foods, you’ll be glad that you did it. Spending a semester in Germany truly changed my life, and I hope that you have the opportunity to study abroad during your college experience!”

- Isabel Finney

“I am a senior Political Science major, History and International Studies minor as well as a pitcher on the OCU baseball team and Secretary of Policies and Initiative for SGA. My advice to freshmen is to make the most of every opportunity you get, value your relationships with friends/professors/coaches, trust God’s plan, and help others in any way you can. Overall, the key to success in my opinion is to do as much as you can, for as long as you can, until you can’t anymore. If you do that, by the time you are done, you will be fulfilled and satisfied and ready for the next chapter of life.

PS: The library exists — use it!”

- Caleb Evans

Senior Robert Walker

“My advice to freshman would be to try to get involved in some way, shape, or form. It helps mold better leadership skills, and the networking benefits that come from it are tremendous. You also open the eyes of some future employers as well!”

- Robert Walker

Please call your parents

“The biggest piece of life advice I could give to an incoming freshman would be to really explore who you are and seek out new experiences that may be out of your comfort zone — you never know what you like or don't like until you try it! These next four years are what you make them; join a club, go on adventures, but remember that you don't have to stay somewhere you don't feel comfortable being. Life is too short to spend it unhappy! And don't forget to call home. Your parents will love hearing from you, and it will make you feel better after a long day. Soak up every second and enjoy being a Star! 

The biggest piece of academic advice I could give to incoming freshmen is simple: You seriously don't know how to study, and now is the time to figure it out. Try everything! Use the whiteboard, make study sheets, get a room in the library and order take out. I thought coming out of high school that I was disciplined enough to sit down and study, but I quickly found out that I really didn't even know where to start.”

- Emily Hernandez

Senior Bobby "Trae" Trousdale

Don't be afraid of change and vulnerability

“1. Know that you will never be the smartest person in the room. That's okay! Everyone has their own area of expertise. Learn to exist on a team that allows these to shine through. This not only keeps you humble but also ensures that you can work and truly value those around you. 

2. Know that you learn just as much outside of class as you do in the classroom. Get involved! The people surrounding you and the experiences you can have leading organizations can teach you life lessons that you cannot purchase and be graded on. Take advantage of that now.

3. Expect growth and keep your standards high. The person you are when you walk on to campus is not the same person who leaves. Expect to be challenged and meet these head on with high expectations for yourself and the work you produce.”

- Bobby "Trae" Trousdale