What I wish I knew: Advice from upperclassmen

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Ever wish you could go back and redo certain things in your life? There are many things BYU students wish they had known as freshmen, which is shared below to help you prepare for your beginnings at BYU.

Academic

BYU has a reputation for being challenging academically. Upperclassmen recommend staying on top of assignments and studies to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

“Meet with your TAs,” Padro said. “I got a D+ on a paper once. Why? I didn’t meet with a TA. After that, I always met with TAs or went to the Writing Center in the JKB, and I never got lower than an A-.”

“I was afraid when I came to BYU,” Holbrook said. “I knew it would be a lot harder than high school. College is really a full-time job, so if you want to do well, things like studying on a Saturday are things you’re going to have to do.”

“I wish someone had told me to take easy classes the first year,” McAllister said. “Just get used to living on your own before taking calculus.”

“I wish I would have understood better that studying is integrally necessary to academic success,” Glenn said. “It sounds somewhat straightforward, but in comparison to my high school situation where I would study for a short period of time and maintain a 4.0, college is an entirely different educational commitment.”

“When it comes to academics, BYU isn’t high school,” Corbridge said. “Procrastination may have been fine in high school, but it can be lethal in college. It’s habitual. If you can develop good study habits during freshman year then those habits will carry on. I wish I’d known that it doesn’t start easy and then get harder. It starts hard and then gets harder.”

Spiritual

With a majority of the students on campus being LDS, BYU has a unique twist on the university experience.

“I didn’t take advantage of how awesome the wards at BYU are and I regret that,” Padro said. “Don’t just go to church on Sunday. Go to the activities. Talk to people in your ward. You may not find your eternal companion, but you can easily make life-long friends.”

“I wish someone had told me that the Atonement isn’t just for sin,” McAllister said. “It’s also for tribulation and trial and feeling alone.”

“I wish I would have known that religion classes aren’t always quite as idyllic as people make them out to be,” Glenn said. “The professors are fundamentally human, as we all are, and the class structure isn’t always what it should be.” “Having the right mindset is everything,” Corbridge said. “Being a member here can be tough with the judging and politics that goes on. You have to take a step back and accept that everyone comes from different backgrounds in the Church and everyone, for the most part, is here trying to do the right thing. Just focus on you and what you need to be doing to become more like Christ.”

Social

The students on campus are known for being social. From dance parties, to local concerts and sport competitions, the variety is almost endless.

“My dad gave me great advice before I started college that I think all freshmen should know,” said Bobbi Sue Padro, a BYU graduate of psychology. “He said ‘If you have to choose between having a 4.0 and no social life or a 3.0 and a social life, you need to choose the latter. I don’t want you to only study. College is for learning who you are and having a fun time too.”

“I found that the stereotypes about BYU are overblown,” said Stephen Holbrook, a senior in business management. “Everyone made it sound like BYU is full of Mormons who would cringe at the sight of anyone drinking a Coke on campus. I realized most people at BYU are actually pretty down to earth, cool, smart and funny.”

“I wish I had known that you don’t make friends unless you talk to people,” said Page McAllister, a sophomore majoring in psychology. “I wish I would have better understood that maintaining a moderated and balanced social life requires a great deal of effort and organization,” said freshman Dylan Glenn, from Pleasant Grove. “That is, you can’t expect to party all the time and receive acceptable grades or study all the time and expect to maintain relationships.”

“BYU has such a wide range of personalities that there are people everywhere whose interests match yours,” said Zak Corbridge, a junior majoring in business. “You don’t have to love Ultimate Frisbee to fit in at BYU. Along those same lines, branching out is huge. If you hibernate in your apartment freshman year and go home whenever you get the chance, you’re not going to like living in Provo. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to break out of it.”

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