Never skip a study time. Always sit down at your station at study time. Do this even if you don’t have pressing homework to complete. Keeping a regular schedule will help prevent procrastination. If you find yourself sitting at your desk and looking at your books, but not reading, remind yourself that you only have to study for a short amount of time. Set a timer. At the end of that time, close the book and give yourself a break.
Perhaps you were class president in high school. Or perhaps you were a member of the honor society. You could have graduated in the top percentile of your graduating class; perhaps you were even valedictorian. Maybe your were in the honors program or the International Baccalaureate program. Actually, it doesn't really matter what you did in high school as you make the transition to college. High school success (or lack of it) doesn't automatically apply to college.

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.


Appreciate your summers and use them wisely. Don’t let the system brainwash you into thinking that you need to do something this summer to get that internship next summer, which will lead to that other internship and then That Job. Travel to Japan or Patagonia, write a book, read, spend time with family, learn a new language or skill, follow things that interest you, that cliché but wise voice in your heart.

I was/am a nontraditional student (about five to seven years older than most students at my university), so this was not quite in my realm, but I was often jealous of the many opportunities afforded to these students. Yes, you have to go to social events. Yes, you might get categorized as a snob or fill-in-the-inappropriate-name-blank, but you really can benefit from the social network and resources (such as old tests).

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