Ten pieces of advice for incoming college freshmen


Photo Courtesy: Michael Schoen

Michael Schoen’s freshman dorm room at Gonzaga University.

High school is ending for Carlsbad seniors. But something much more daunting lies ahead. In the words of M. Gustave from the Grand Budapest Hotel, “The beginning of the end of the end of the beginning has begun.” We, as future college freshmen, embarked on a quest for the best college advice to help prepare us for our impending future. Who better to come to than our own CHS alumni?


“My biggest advice would be to to be open to taking classes that you may not think you would be interested in. Try taking one or two classes outside of your major requirements. College is a time that offers to ideas and ideals, and this is a great way to gain exposure to these things. You never know, you may take a class outside of your major and realize you enjoy that more, and end up changing your major. Some of my favorite classes I have taken in college are the ones that do not pertain to my major. I started out a business major, then took a communication of whiteness class as a freshman and realized I was really passionate about that topic, and ended up changing my major!” –Kaitlin Mazzacco, Junior, Cal State San Marcos

“I think the hardest thing about college is staying motivated. You’re on your own for the first time and no one is around to make you go to class, pay attention, or do all your work. You have to do it yourself. It’s really easy for people to get sucked into everything else that college has to offer (parties, social events, drinking, etc) to the detriment of their school work or extra curriculars. Of course those things are also a lot of fun and worth doing but you have to hold yourself back when they begin to affect the rest of your life. So to keep yourself focused on what’s really important, my advice is to always remember why you’re in college and why you’re paying thousands of dollars to be there. Some people want to be a doctor, some people want to be a teacher, but whatever it is that brought you to college you have to focus on that when you lose your motivation to work or get distracted by other things. Always remember your goals and you’ll be able to focus and succeed in school, and realize that whatever you’re doing is a direct stepping stone toward that.” –Nathan Williams, Freshman, Harvard University

“Go to your professor’s office hours! Your professors are so knowledgable and can be so well connected in your field so you want them on your side when you’re applying for internships or jobs. Plus, showing up to office hours a few times throughout the semester could help round up your grade if you need an extra boost.” –Brad Streicher, Junior, University of Southern California


“Honestly my advice is to learn to eat alone and eating by yourself is perfectly fine.” –Kyle Veidt, Sophomore, University of Missouri, Columbia

“Study, friends, sleep. Pick 2.” –Zack Spanier, Sophomore, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

“To not be afraid to meet new people land be social and do whatever you want. Don’t join the club if all your friends are joining a club if you don’t want to join the club. Do as many things as you can. Don’t feel pressured to do anything, in high school there is a lot of pressure to do stuff, but that’s not college. I wish someone told me that when you’re in college, when you get sick you have to take care of yourself. You have to deal with your own problems. ” –Lexi Spikerman, Freshman, Northeastern University

Everything Else

“I would say push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and try new things. For me, it made a huge difference to put myself out there and make connections with people I usually wouldn’t have just gone up and talked to. Also, being involved is huge. It’s a great way to get to know people and it opens the door for tons of opportunities. Only take a morning class if you trust your alarm.” –Rachel Nobel, Freshman, Stetson University

“Always take the stairs over an elevator so you don’t gain the freshman 15. Go to the library everyday even if it’s just for an hour! Introduce yourself to your professor and go into their office hours! Put yourself out there and go to as many things on campus to get the most out of your college experience!” –Tiffany Smith, Freshman, University of San Diego

“Understand that you can be whoever you want to be. You don’t have to be the same person you were in high school.” –Michael Schoen, Junior, Gonzaga University

“To keep an open mind about everything! It is so easy to get caught up in all of the rumors of what people are telling you and cloud your judgement. You are all at that particular school for a reason so you should get involved in as many things as possible and make those important relationships. Do the things that make you happy!” –Nicole Walker, Sophomore, Arizona State University