How to thrive (not just survive!) in your first semester of college

A group of orientation leaders smiles and poses.

January 21, 2021
Admission Office Work Study Students

Madelyn Wilkins (‘23)

From personal experience, there are three steps to thriving at GU. First, make the most of Orientation Weekend. Even though you will be exhausted from the excitement of first arriving on campus and sometimes orientation events can seem “silly,” this is the time where everyone is the most willing to meet new people. Everyone is in the same place as you, and this is the best opportunity to meet people outside of your dorm or major. The second step is to introduce yourself to people in your classes, even though it can be intimidating. Study buddies are a big contributor to being successful! Bonus points if it is a class specific to your major (or full of people in your major). Lastly, get involved without overworking yourself. It is easy to want to be part of everything GU has to offer, but balancing your time is critical. Joining clubs and sports is important, because it is a great way to meet people and explore interests, but it is equally important to save time for your class work and for yourself. The biggest takeaway is that GU sets you up to thrive, you just have to take advantage of the resources!

Aileen Sarmiento (‘23)

The transition from high school to college can be challenging academically for many people, but what I found helped me was starting good habits early! It might seem really easy to push that paper or quiz until the day before it’s due, but a cycle like this can catch up to you quickly. Trust me, I know! Reaching out to your professors is also the best way to go when you need help. It might seem daunting at first, but simply close your eyes and click send on that email. Your professors are here to help you succeed so they will always be there to help you. Socially, I would say to join any clubs that interest you and to take risks! You don’t know what will happen or if you will get accepted into that club that you really want to be a part of, unless you take a risk and try your hardest to make it. Your Gonzaga community will always be behind you to help and support you in any they can. Good luck with your first semester and go Zags!  

Irene Gil (‘23)

Heading off to start your first semester in college can be a both daunting and exciting time for many new students. This new chapter of independence in college is a huge factor on how to thrive and not just survive in college. The most important lesson I have learned in the first two years of my college experience is to work towards yourself and your well-being. For example, now that you will be on your own, there will be nobody to tell you when to eat, to do your homework, when to go to bed and other things. This means to prioritize and take care of yourself, such as making sure to eat your meals and have a healthy sleep schedule. Additionally, college is a great time to meet new people, so it is important to utilize opportunities in joining clubs and attending events. This is where you can make connections with the people that you enjoy spending your time with, because the right friends can last a lifetime and heighten your entire college experience to help you thrive.