Get by with a little help from your upperclassmen

Freshman advice graphic

Sydney Rae Davis

The switch from a nurtured home life to the freedoms of college can feel like a drastic change to many freshmen. Balancing good grades, a social life and newfound independence can be challenging.

Instead of allowing the newbies to brave it on their own, several WKU upperclassmen offered to pass down what they consider to be their best advice.

Junior Cody Mardis from Elizabethtown wants freshmen to know that it’s okay not to have everything, including a major, figured out just yet.

“I changed my major from psychology to biology, and then to nursing. And that’s what I just now landed with about a semester ago,” Mardis said.

Max McGehee, a junior from Erlanger, encourages students to get involved around campus but not to the point of exhaustion.

“It’s easy to overwhelm yourself. Between hanging out with friends, and classes, and getting involved with activities …there’s just a lot that you can commit yourself to,” McGehee said. “Try and just find what’s most important to you and to do that well.”

Sophomore Darian Doom-DeVoto from Louisville says to keep one’s priorities in check when it comes to socializing.

“If you miss something, like you know, an event because you have to study or something, it’s not the end of the world,” Doom-DeVoto said.

To keep herself organized, Doom-DeVoto uses a planner. She also differentiates her classes by using separate binders, notebooks and folders for each particular class.

Doom-DeVoto recommends managing one’s time by planning ahead and staying organized to avoid becoming overwhelmed by schoolwork.

“Sometimes you’re going to have three papers due all in the same week, and you’re going to have a test on Friday, and you’re going to be very overwhelmed,” DeVoto said. “But if you just plan ahead and don’t procrastinate … it’s going to make your life a lot easier.”

Sophomore Lauren Shelton, from Glasgow, advises freshmen to get familiar with the campus and their schedules.

“Figure out the shortest way to get to class, and make sure that you know that you can get to your class on time,” Shelton said.

When it comes to having a social life, Brandon Goodwin, a junior from Hopkinsville, recommends talking to everyone rather than sticking to a set friend group.

“It’s definitely good to talk around, because I know with general education classes, a lot of people don’t care about each other, (and) don’t know each other,” Goodwin said. “Go out of your way to meet someone in your class, because you never know what comes out of it.” 

Shelton agreed, saying, “Don’t be afraid to talk to anybody, because you never know what you’re going to miss out on if you just kind of stay to yourself.”

Lastly, Goodwin and Doom-DeVoto encourage the new Hilltoppers to be who they are wholeheartedly and unapologetically. 

“Live life your way,” Goodwin advised. During college, he says, he became someone he wanted to be instead of who his parents wanted him to be.

Similarly, Doom-DeVoto encourages students not to worry about what others think of them. “Do you,” she says.