First Year in Retrospect
March 28, 2019
Stepping into the world of college is an exciting experience. For many of us, it is our first time away from home. The first year plays an important role in ensuring our transition into college occurs smoothly. Today, I find myself smiling as I reflect on how those experiences have impacted me. Given this opportunity, I would like to share my two cents on gaining more value from your first year.
One of the admirable qualities of Drexel is that it fosters an environment that encourages ideas and discussions. With over 350 clubs and organizations on campus, the University is always bustling with numerous social and educational events. I recall meeting with the Drexel Polish Society; during that meeting, I came to realize how unacquainted I was with the Polish culture. It was then I decided to continue to put effort into learning more about various perspectives on campus. In the bigger picture, utilizing these opportunities allows us to acknowledge our biases and prejudices and further develop an approach of learning and understanding, which is imperative to our growth in college.
Zooming out, connecting with the city of Philadelphia and its rich art, culture, and history is a vital part of the Freshman experience. During my first term, I took advantage of Ticket Tuesday — a Pennoni Honors College event that allows you to get free tickets to noteworthy events in the city. Moreover, I took the initiative of continuously finding new places, theaters, and festivals to attend. This not only gave me excuses to travel and learn more about the city, but also allowed me to connect with its locals and hear their stories.
Meanwhile, with numerous events to attend comes the responsibility to prioritize. Prioritization means to do first things first, to acknowledge your goals, and recognize which opportunities are conducive to reaching these goals. Drexel University's academics operate on a quarter system. This means that classes last 10 weeks compared to the 14 or 15 weeks of the semester system. It is relatively fast paced and, thus, requires a healthy balance of activities, both inside and outside the classroom. Learning to prioritize will enable you to efficiently utilize your time at Drexel.
Last, but not the least, managing your personal finances is an important part of your Freshman year. While it is a topic that most of us shy away from talking about, it can substantially influence our college experience. It may seem convenient to spend while overlooking your bank balance: I have come across far too many students who spend past their limits, resulting in large overdrafts and additional credit fees. Being distracted by financial distress in this fast-paced academic environment is the last thing anyone would want. Something as simple as a spreadsheet can help you address your personal finances.
Overall, it is important to approach the first year mindfully and avoid sleepwalking through the experience. You're the driver on this journey. It is the opportune moment to explore what piques your interest and to start building the person you want to become. This is the beauty of this year!
Ubaid is a sophomore economics and finance major at Drexel University. He is from Rawalpindi, Pakistan and is a participant in the Drexel Global Scholar program. Ubaid enjoys traveling and comedy and has currently picked up the challenge of learning to play the piano!
Muhammad Ubaid Ullah