Seniors give advice to freshmen

The Class of 2020's guide to The Bluff

By Tessa Rodgers | September 11, 2019 3:53pm

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Seniors give advice to the freshmen class. Photo illustration by Annika Gordon.

Correction: An earlier version of this story inaccurately referenced Matt Deshner instead of Matt Daily. Matt Daily is the program manager for special populations and learning assistance at SARC.

College is a thrilling time filled with personal growth and development. It’s the time of self-transformation and finding yourself amidst the chaotic labyrinth of syllabi, expensive textbooks and nightmare roommates. Despite obstacles that may seem insurmountable, you will rise to the occasion time and time again. Meet a few students from the class of 2020 and take note of how they survived their last few years on The Bluff.

Serenity Mallon tells freshmen that it is okay to admit loneliness because true friendships and relationships develop with time.

by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

Serenity Mallon, Spanish and Biology Major

As a senior, what advice would you give to freshmen?

I think just sitting down with Matt (Matt Daily, program manager for special populations and learning assistance at SARC) or one of the other counselors that they have there, telling them how you're feeling what you're dealing with is a really good place to start. I was really confused about like, how I was going to take care of my mental health, how it was going to go abroad, how I was going to make this Spanish bio thing work without going insane. And he pointed out all the resources I needed. Right, as a freshman, I was able to get on the right track.

If you could start over, what would you have done differently?

I would have gotten more involved with my hall really early on. The closest friends I have right now were actually my hall mates from freshman year. But we didn't talk very much freshman year, we kind of just met each other after and we were like, ‘Oh, we were both in Mehling!’ and then kind of talked from there. Then we were like, ‘Oh my God, why didn't we hang out all this time?’ So, I think just meeting other freshmen through your Hall is a really good way to do it.

What was your most embarrassing memory in college?

I don't like to have embarrassing moments. I think that as long as you're open for just being yourself, no moment is really that embarrassing. I think when you let go of the mindset of trying to be cool and trying to impress people, and you just kind of are you, nothing you do is that embarrassing. Because it's just you being you and other people are going to gravitate towards that.

What’s your favorite memory on campus?

My favorite memory on campus would have to be going to soccer games with my friends and cheering with the Villa drum squad. Because as annoying as they are, they’re fun.

Bonus words of wisdom:

It’s okay to be a little lonely. It's going to feel like everyone else has a lot of connections and a lot of friends already. But they're kind of just pretending. It's like the whole fake-it-till-you-make-it thing. You don't have to fake it. You can be open and honest and say that you are scared or lonely or that you're homesick or that you're not homesick and you don't want to go home for the breaks — you can voice that concern too. You will find other people who feel the same way you do.

Sai Tanguturu admits that she wishes she would have tried classes like photography, jazz or theater even though she is a nursing major.

by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

Sai Tanguturu, Nursing Major

As a senior, what advice would you give to freshmen?

To try new things. It's scary freshman year, and that's okay. It's okay to be scared. It's okay to not know. I think my biggest advice is to try out new things. Freshman year is the time to do things that you're not comfortable doing. Because as years go on, things get narrower and narrower, and it's harder to meet new people. Freshman year you have people from all kinds of majors and backgrounds, and it's just so worth it to try everything you can try and everything you can give the time for.

If you could start over, what would you have done differently?

To try classes that I wasn't really sure about more often. I think that's something that's really cool in college — that you can take any class you want if you can fit it in your schedule. And I wish I took some classes. I wish I took photography or jazz dance, and I wish I took theatre.

What’s your most embarrassing moment in college?

One thing that comes to mind is during freshman year I had really long hair. And I was really tired. And I was trying to wipe it out of my face. And I just swiped my hand into some guys arm and I didn't notice that we had linked arms. We walked like a couple steps arm in arm. And then he stopped and I got kind of pulled back by it and I was like, “Oh!” And we just walked away really fast. Yeah, this is stupid. I just linked arms with a stranger.

What’s your favorite memory on campus?

I think Espresso UP has a lot of really good memories. Me and my friends used to go together every Wednesday. I've spent so much time with so many friends just relaxing. It's so easy to get caught up on things and taking a break on something and getting myself to remember to treat myself and doing it with friends is really fun. So, free drinks, food and hanging out with my friends. It's really fun.

Bonus words of wisdom:

Things sometimes suck. But finding your support system and knowing that they’re there for you helps. And if you feel like you don't have a support system, the campus has so many resources. This campus really wants you to succeed. Whether that's your priest, or counseling center, SARC, your professors — people here really, really care. And I've seen that over and over again, we want to help you, just ask.

Erick Berrelleza tells freshmen to ask for help and take advantage of people and groups on campus that want to help.

by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

Erick Berrelleza, Political Science and Spanish Major

As a senior, what advice would you give to freshmen?

I would tell them to seek help. Being a first-generation student, it was hard for me to ask for help. And maybe it's a pride thing too, which anybody can relate to. Nobody really wants to ask for help. But throughout the years, I learned that there are a lot of resources on this campus that you can use. And there are people who genuinely want to help you. You just have to go out of your way and push yourself to actually ask.

If you could start over, what would you have done differently?

I would have taken this process a lot more seriously. And I'm not saying that I didn't take it seriously. But I would have started to get more involved freshman year. I would have reached out to people freshman year. I would have actually gone to office hours freshman year.

What is your most embarrassing moment in college?

I feel like freshman year was a bit of a joke to me. And looking back at freshman year, it's not who I am today. I genuinely believe that. And it's kind of embarrassing to look back at it. I think looking back at freshman year, it was embarrassing to be like, that was you freshman year, you didn't take school seriously, kind of just joked around. You prioritized everything else. And I wasn't a bad student, but I wasn't the best student.

What is your favorite memory on campus?

It will always be each and every study abroad experience I've had here. My college career started when I studied abroad, and that was the fall semester of sophomore year. It drastically changed my life, and changed who I wanted to be.

Bonus words of wisdom:

Be very open minded, and say yes to things. Take advantage of anything and everything.

Nadine Prentice shares the embarrassment she felt walking into the wrong classrooms.

by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

Nadine Prentice, Mechanical Engineering Major

As a senior, what advice would you give to freshmen?

My top advice would be to not get too overwhelmed with everything that is available to you on campus. When I started, I signed up for way too much stuff and was not committed to really anything. And now it’s my senior year and I haven't really been involved in like one particular club or community or anything like that. So, I'd say, limit yourself and come in and decide what really matters to you and just stick with that one thing.

If you could start over, what would you have done differently?

Branch out to find more people. In terms of friends and acquaintances, I was pretty shy freshman year so I didn’t reach out. And friendships change, the people I was friends with my freshman year aren’t necessarily my friends now. But I think if I had a wider network of people, it would have gone better.

What was your most embarrassing moment in college?

Probably just going in the wrong room. Walking in the class and then looking around and realizing that you don’t know any of those kids in there. So, I was like, all right, lets 360 back out the door. Super awkward.

What’s your favorite memory on campus?

Honestly, it's kind of the day to day stuff. It was getting into the routine. But just kind of any weekend just spending it with friends and hanging out. Every day was a good day.

Bonus words of wisdom:

Enjoy yourself!

Wyatt Dykhuizen tells freshmen that if something interests them, they should try it.

by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

Wyatt Dykhuizen, Business Finance Major

As a senior, what advice would you give to freshmen?

If you're interested in something, whether it's a club or trying something new, I would really recommend that you go out and try it. For example, I started out as a theater major, because I thought it would be fun. Then I switched over to business because I wasn't enjoying theater too much. And then I switched from accounting to finance. So, I've kind of hopped from place to place. And now I've discovered that music is something I'm really passionate about. I would advise freshmen to really try and search and discover what it is that they’re passionate about, and then follow it.

If you could start over, what would you have done differently?

I would have majored in music, knowing what I know now. All the decisions I've made have made me who I am today. And so even though the path I took really bounced around, and I might not have majored in exactly what I'm passionate about, just having been able to discover that at this school has been so valuable for me. I guess all in all, I don't think I'd change anything.

What is your most embarrassing moment in college?

When I was a sophomore, it was late at night and I sprinted headfirst into a wall. Then I fell onto the ground and the neighbors living next to me in my dorm came out to check if I was okay. And I was doing good, but was still on the ground, I just banged the front of my head. And that’s legit the story of how I met my best friends at college. But yeah, sprinting into that wall, probably a low moment, but it’s pretty funny looking back on it.

What’s your favorite memory on campus?

For the last two years I was one of the Rock the Bluff coordinators. So, I helped put on the spring concerts. Putting in all the work to make those concerts happen along with the rest of CPB (Campus Program Board). And then the actual nights of those concerts — everything leading up to it. The day of has been so stressful trying to get it done. And then once you're actually at that point where you can say, “Oh my gosh!” I can't believe I had a hand in bringing this particular artist here.

Bonus words of wisdom:

Work hard, but also find the right balance between life and school. I've known many people who drown themselves in schoolwork. If you ever find yourself in a bad spot, reach out. It's okay to be stressed out and feel overwhelmed because I guarantee at least half of the other people on campus also feel that way. Just be aware of your mental health because that's maybe the most important thing as you're going through school.

Tessa Rodgers is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at rodgerst21@up.edu.


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