GWU dean’s tips for the Class of 2014

Helen Cannaday Saulny.jpg

In case you missed it, our own Dean of Freshmen, Helen Cannaday Saulny was today’s “guest lecturer” on The Washington Post’s Campus Overload.  Sure, it is off topic, but since it is useful to most of our readers I have reprinted her comments below.

It’s the beginning of August, which for incoming freshmen means the start of their college career in less than a month. Whether you are roaming Target looking for matching linens or watching GW’s Twitter feed, the final month before you and your fellow students embark on your academic journey is filled with anxiety and excitement.

Going away to college can be nerve-wracking, but focus on the excitement. My colleagues across the country and I are working hard to ensure that you have a fun, safe and successful arrival when you come to school in the fall.

As the Dean of Freshman at The George Washington University, I have the privilege of assisting first-year students in their transition to college. In that spirit, I would like to offer a few tips for you to keep in mind when you arrive at your campus:

Pace yourself
Remember that you have four years of college ahead of you, so don’t feel the need to do everything in the first two weeks of school. Whether it’s joining clubs or organizations, attending a campus event, sports game or selecting classes, you have four years to experience all that college has to offer. Take time to get settled, look at what you want to do, be patient and enjoy the experience!

Manage your time effectively
In college, there’s no longer a homeroom or bells or class periods. With classes, co- curricular activities and social events, managing your time effectively, as basic as it may sound, is one of the keys to success.

Get familiar with your campus resources
University staff members are available to assist you, and I encourage you to take full advantage of all the offices and services your school provides. And do not hesitate to engage the area around your university either. Learn from the rich environment that goes beyond your classroom and campus.

And enjoy!
With classes, professors, advisors, faculty and staff, your social life and more, take time to enjoy the experience and the people around you – they will undoubtedly be the people you count on and look to for your future success and happiness!

And there you have it, from me to you, my tips for the members of the Class of 2014. There are many miscellaneous tips I could offer (don’t bring four seasons of clothes, negotiate the bathroom schedule, etc), but really those all fall under my last tidbit–don’t sweat the small stuff. Remember – you make your college experience. It is a time for personal growth, development and progress, and as long as you are happy with your result, you have found success. Good luck and have a terrific freshman year.

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