For us onlooking or partaking upperclassmen, that feeling isn’t too distant. As a freshman, the sense of being lost in a big new world was exciting, but at the same time I treasured every bit of advice I could get. And there are still many things I wish I would have known then. Now that I’m a few years older, I thought I’d share some thoughts. More importantly, I went around and asked some of the most accomplished Penn students for what recommendations they’d give to freshmen.
Cystic fibrosis is caused by an inherited mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. Due to this mutation, the CFTR protein doesn’t embed in cell membranes to form a channel for chlorine ions the way it should. As a result, mucus-producing cells secrete a thicker-than-normal mucus that can create blockages in the lungs and… Read More »
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Strive to become Benjamin Franklin 2.0. Our founding sage’s morning question was “What good shall I do this day?” and dinner question was “What good have I done today?” Just imagine if he’d had Google Calendar to plan his whole day out... In general, use technology to your advantage. Find an effective system to manage and sort your email because otherwise you’ll get overwhelmed.

Find mentors. Going through something yourself is often the best way to learn, but that doesn’t mean you have to re-invent the wheel entirely and can’t get guidance. Many of the world’s most successful people — from businessmen to politicians to writers to musicians — found a mentor early on who represented an ideal that they wanted to become and took a fervent interest in them.
The most common culprit of free time is TV. Most adults spend about 20 hours per week watching TV. We are not saying you should never watch TV; we’re suggesting that you give up watching the TV shows that do not really interest you. Free up your time. Record what you love for viewing on demand and nix the rest of that dead TV time. Reducing your TV time by 10 hours per week will result in 10 hours of free time to devote to your online education. Ten hours of free time per week is enough to complete that long-delayed dream of earning a college degree.
Not sure how to list your college degree (or the college coursework you have accumulated if you didn't finish your degree) on your resume? How should you list your expected graduation date if you're an undergraduate student? What if you didn't go to college? How about if you've already graduated? Alternatively, what do you do if you haven't yet graduated but intend to complete your degree at some point in time? 
On your first study day each week, read any required materials and take notes. Go back a few days later to review your reading notes and work on any written homework or other assignments. Now that you have identified your regular study times, tell everyone in the family. Post a notice on the refrigerator that you will be studying at predetermined times each week. Ask family members to respect this time. Make sure everyone understands you are not to be disturbed during your study time.
On your first study day each week, read any required materials and take notes. Go back a few days later to review your reading notes and work on any written homework or other assignments. Now that you have identified your regular study times, tell everyone in the family. Post a notice on the refrigerator that you will be studying at predetermined times each week. Ask family members to respect this time. Make sure everyone understands you are not to be disturbed during your study time.

This is the person who will help you with course conflicts, adding or dropping courses, scheduling of classes for future semesters, deciding on majors and minors. This person is a key resource for you -- and should be the person you turn to with any academic issues or conflicts. And don't be afraid of requesting another adviser if you don't click with the one first assigned to you.
While you might think “duh, that’s obvious,” a reliable Internet connection is not always available in your area or deemed too expensive. You’ll need to have a cable modem or a fast DSL connection in order to connect to your courses. Reliable is the key word here. If your Internet connection has a tendency to crash your browser or drop altogether, you’ll need to diagnose the source of a problem or find a new way to access the Web.
Strive to become Benjamin Franklin 2.0. Our founding sage’s morning question was “What good shall I do this day?” and dinner question was “What good have I done today?” Just imagine if he’d had Google Calendar to plan his whole day out... In general, use technology to your advantage. Find an effective system to manage and sort your email because otherwise you’ll get overwhelmed.
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