We know that starting out can be challenging but that doesn't mean it has to be overwhelming. The best way to begin is to take small, but purposeful steps. Here's what we suggest:
It's your first day of the semester. You moved into your apartment, residence hall, or just got off the train from your hometown. You may not have class today, but you do have an assignment: walk around your new school. Find your classrooms, the bookstore, and places to hang out.
Everyone is new today. Even returning students feel new on the first day of the semester. It's fine to get lost and ask questions, it's normal.
Explore buildings on the campus map. The staff who work here want you to ask us questions. Go on your own or find a buddy, but go.
Now, get specific. Locate key offices that will be a resource for you. Finding them online and in person is a must. Your interests may vary, but here is a short list of common offices that you will use while at Suffolk:
Make note of their services, websites and schedules. The services these offices provide are free.
Do not forget about Campus Life. Check them out online and read all the options because your first month is coming soon and so is your next assignment.
You know your new schedule, you are familiar with your new campus. Maybe you have even found a coffee shop or a corner in the library where you like to read or study. Now you are expected to try getting involved and exploring campus life.
You may think that advising is about courses and schedules but it is not. Advising is about learning how to put together the best college experiences to grow an incredible resume that will eventually launch you into a future career path.
Your assignment for your first month is to try one new thing so by the next holiday weekend you have a new story to tell. It doesn't matter if it is a good story or bad story, but you must have a new story (weekend parties, class assignments, or dorm-life doesn't count here). It has to be a story from trying out campus life.
You tried something new. Was it good or bad? Guess what? It doesn't matter. You are supposed to try things on to see if they fit. Every time you try something new, you have a new story. These stories may not seem important at first, but they are very important. Learning to tell a story is how you learn to interview for internships and jobs.
Your degree and your major are expected by your future employer. That is the bare minimum. Employers want to see more and trying new things and gathering stories that grow into leadership roles make you look interesting on paper and get you an interview. Once you have the interview, you need to also be interesting in person, which is why we suggest you practice telling your story to faculty, friends, and family. The more things you try, the more stories you will have to tell.
Your future employer wants you to do more than punch the clock. They want to know that you will help build their brand. Show them you will by building your brand.
Congratulate yourself. You stepped outside your comfort zone and tried new things. You are starting to understand what you like and what you don't like. Now it is time to focus on your specific interests and identify opportunities to help you develop those interests.
Did you attend an interesting club meeting? Continue attending each week. Did you take a class that peaked your interest in a new subject? Visit that academic department and meet one-on-one with a faculty member to find out more about the field of study. If you need a referral, ask advising. Draft your resume and bring it to the Career Development Center for advice.
Continue having regular conversations with your advisor about your experiences and draft a plan for next year. Faculty who teach you in class are also advisors. Talk to them outside of class. You will be surprised by their varied knowledge, experiences, and backgrounds.
Most importantly, continue trying new things. After you successfully complete your first year at Suffolk, your next assignments are: