The Freshman’s Handbook: A simple guide for first-year students at GS

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  • Austin Lanier, senior political science major. 

Brett Daniel

Every year, numerous high school graduates from Georgia and around the world choose Georgia Southern University for their higher education needs.

Thousands complete applications and attend SOAR every summer, preparing themselves for a bright future at GS, where all of their social, academic and professional desires will hopefully become a reality.

However, it is no secret that adjusting to a real-world college setting can be quite a challenge.

Freshmen may find it difficult to ask upperclassmen for help, afraid of what they already experienced at least once in high school: embarrassment, exclusion and rejection.

These worries and fears can all be attributed to freshman anxiety and homesickness, two conditions that affect even the most brilliant and sociable first-year students.

In an attempt to alleviate the symptoms of these conditions, several upperclassmen at GS have agreed to give food and entertainment recommendations, guidance and advice to incoming freshmen.

Participants answered seven questions, and their answers ultimately became the Freshman’s Handbook.

Its central purpose is to smooth the transition from senior in high school to freshman in college. Becoming a freshman all over again is tough, but the Freshman’s Handbook is here to help.

1. Where are the best places to eat on campus?

“I have found the best places to eat on campus are , Chick-Fil-A and Zach’s Brews in the library, the latter generally being opened late during finals week. You can get your coffee or sandwich while studying.” – Austin Lanier

“I found my best places to eat and grab snacks are [Zach’s Brews] on the library’s second floor or the Starbucks in the Russell Union Building.” –AnnaBrooke Greene

“The best place to eat on campus has to be Chick-Fil-A.” –Michaela O’larry

“The Gus Marts have everything you want from Boar’s Head meats and cheese [on] a platter to hummus [and] sushi. The sushi is better than your average sushi bar and you get enough to fill you up. Another good place to eat on campus is [Market Street Deli] inside the I.T. Building.” – Amber London

“[Market Street Deli] in the I.T. Building is the best food on campus, hands down.” – Austin Birch

2. What is there to do for fun on campus?

“Something is always going on, whether it be an activity, a gathering or free food. I would tell freshmen to keep an eye out for posters that will tell [them] about campus events. Personally, I love to go to the CAT (Center for Art and Theatre) and enjoy the galleries, which are free to students.” – AnnaBrooke Greene

“I believe one of the most underrated things to do on campus is to attend the many different guest speaker events. Many of these events are incredibly informative and have the added benefit of counting for extra credit in some classes. I, personally, find a great deal of value in listening to other people’s perspectives on issues, even those you disagree with.” – Austin Lanier

“There are many fun things to do on campus, such as the RAC activities. My favorite thing to do at the RAC is to take a relaxing Yoga class or let some steam off by playing racquetball. Another fun thing to do is to go to a movie night when [Russell Union] has them.” – Amber London

“I have the most fun going to the RAC and participating in some of their group exercises.” – Michaela O’larry

“Honestly, there’s a ton. I, personally, am on the fishing team, and we truly have a club or team or intramural sport to suit everyone.” – Austin Birch

3. What campus clubs would you recommend?

“If you’re religious, there are a lot of church-based clubs that do Bible studies and get-togethers that seem popular on campus. There are also clubs surrounding each major. For example, for an art major, there are several art clubs, such as Club Mud (pottery), and a comic club and animation club.” –AnnaBrooke Greene

“Being a political science major, I would recommend joining the political science club. They host many viewing parties for important political activities, such as debates and election night results. Also, it can help with your understanding of how the government works and what it is supposed to be doing for you.” – Austin Lanier

“I [think] any club would be great to join while at school. I, personally, joined a sorority.” – Michaela O’larry

“Fishing team, definitely. Intramural sports are super fun; softball is my favorite.” – Austin Birch

“I am a fashion merchandising major, so I joined one of the many fashion clubs, Visage Fashion Company. No matter what club you join, though, they will become a part of your family and welcome you in.” – Amber London

4. In your opinion, how can a student succeed in class?

“A student can succeed in class by staying focused and on task. By keeping on track with the course and not procrastinating on studies, a student won’t get bogged down in work, which can often turn stressful.” – AnnaBrooke Greene

“A student can always succeed in class by always going to class. That will show your teacher that you are determined.” – Michaela O’larry

“I think a student can succeed in class by making sure to get all of their work done before going out, or hanging out with friends. If you’re having trouble, go to tutoring! Don’t be ashamed of it. Everyone struggles, and it pays off in the long run.” – Amber London

“Just go to class, and talk to your teacher if you need help. They are usually there to help you in any way.” – Austin Birch

“This is a tried and true method: attend class. You have just arrived at college and for many of you, the newfound freedom is overwhelming. But remember, you’re either here because of hard-earned and easily lost scholarships, because your parents are forking out the money or because you’re taking on massive amounts of student loans. You should not waste this opportunity on partying and drinking. There will be plenty of time for that later. Devote these four years to hard study, and you’ll benefit immeasurably from it in the future.” – Austin Lanier

5. Where is the best place to study?

“I always study in my room. But for those who don’t have their own room, I would recommend studying in the library. There are several different spaces where someone can go, get comfortable and be productive with their studies. [The library] is also a great place to meet a study group.” –AnnaBrooke Greene

“I believe the best place to study varies from individual to individual. I find a quiet, isolated place, such as your home or the top floors of the library, to be the ideal place to study.” –Austin Lanier

“[The] best place to study in the library is the third floor, but if you want a relaxing place to study, Sweetheart Circle in the evening is always a perfect spot.” -Austin Birch

“The best place to study is at Starbucks.” –Michaela O’larry

“The best place to study is the third floor of the library. The third floor is the most quiet and the floor where everyone knows not to speak. There are also study rooms up there you can rent to have study groups and eat pizza while you pull an all-nighter.” –Amber London

6. What should students avoid while in college?

“Avoid being lazy. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of procrastination, getting bogged down in work and not taking good care of oneself physically, emotionally and mentally. Work to stay positive, healthy, safe and proactive.” – AnnaBrooke Greene

“Avoid activities that stress you or take too much of your focus from your studies. Avoid too many parties or too many drunken nights out. You’ll pay for it in the end.” –Austin Lanier

“Avoid the geese at all costs.” -Austin Birch

“Students should avoid going 45 mph on Fair Road.” –Michaela O’larry

“Students should avoid early classes if they are not morning people because I promise, you will skip a few classes and show up late.” –Amber London

7. What other advice would you like to give incoming freshmen?

“Try to do something in college you never expected to do.” –Michaela O’larry

“Call your mom. She misses you.” –AnnaBrooke Greene

“Enjoy freshman year. Make friends with everyone because truly and honestly, college friends are a lot different than high school friends. They are there for one of the biggest chapters in your life, and you never know when they may need you or you may need them!” -Austin Birch

“Do something out of your comfort zone! This will help you become a well-rounded person and discover who you are, even if it’s scary at first! Also, don’t be afraid to talk to people. You meet some of your best friends in college!” –Amber London

“My advice is to utilize every moment of this time to educate yourself. Immerse yourself in the culture and thoughts of those different from you. Engage in debates, defend your opinions and learn from those that defend theirs. Study, gather knowledge, and you’ll be amazed at how much clearer you will see the world.” –Austin Lanier

Tune in next week for more upperclassmen advice for enjoying the Statesboro area.

If you have any advice for a freshman let us know by tweeting @TheGeorgeAnne using #adviceforfreshmen.