Advice to First-Year Students

We all need advice, especially when we are learning to call a new place home. We encounter new challenges from scheduling to choosing what activities best fit our interest.

Albion is a small school but advice comes in all different sizes. You will have assigned mentors through your First Year Experience seminars and different institutes. These mentors will give you unsolicited advice that you did not realize you needed. They will be there to help you through all the problems that arise and any roadblocks you find.

When you go to class on St. Patrick’s Day, your professors will be lecturing you on being safe and reminding you that being drunk at 8 a.m. is not a good idea even if it is St. Patrick’s Day. You will go on adventures with your friends and realize that the sun is rising because you were having so much fun and simply forgot to go to bed. You will fail and probably fail again after that, but you will learn a lot along the way.

My advice for you is to be unapologetically yourself. If you like eating alone, eat alone. If you like playing hopscotch on your way to class, go for it. Just remember, you never owe anyone an apology or an explanation for being who you are.

After you declare a major you need to make sure that you are taking classes in the right order. Some courses are only offered one semester, so it is important to find out that information. I’ve even had friends change their majors because their advisers did not look far enough ahead. Make sure you ask a lot of questions and know what courses are offered when.

Finally, be grateful and kind. Write thank you cards to your friends and professors. Know that when you are having a bad day, someone cares about you. I have had professors listen to me rant for hours on end, even making them late to courses they teach, because I felt like I did not have my life together. They had other events scheduled, but they knew I needed that moment to know everything was going to be ok. Be grateful to those people.

Below you will find advice from graduates and current students. They have walked the road you are on and have taught me a lot along my journey here at Albion. Welcome to the beautiful place where you will build memories the next four years.

Arianna Leonardi ‘15 – Product Development Engineer at Indratech LLC

Jobs: When looking for a job after college (or even an internship during college), find a boss that will take the time to teach you. Most of the time, employers just want you to get your work done and not bother them too much. Find a boss that is willing to mentor you. Find a boss that cares for your personal and professional growth.

Internships: An internship after your junior year is crucial. This is where you set yourself up for life after graduation and try to lock in a job offer. Find a company you can see yourself working at full-time after college, work hard and make strong connections. If you do so, there is a high probability that they will invite you back after graduation for a full-time job.

Summer: Don’t goof off during your summers. Network. Network. Network. Internships and work experience outweigh anything else on your resume!

Resume: On your resume, you should list things by order of importance. KEEP IT SHORT AND SWEET. No one likes long resumes. Reduce your resume to ONE PAGE — not front and back. Just one, not two. ONE. One page resume. Keep it simple.

Interviews: After an interview, always send a thank you note. Whether it’s handwritten and slipped into the interviewer’s mailbox on the way out of an interview or sent in an email, always send one. It shows you care about the position and keeps you in the back of their mind.

Kristine Baker ‘16 – Student at Notre Dame Law

Activities: Get as involved as you can and allow yourself to leave your comfort zone. College flies by and it’s best to enjoy every minute of it and to try to learn from as many people as you can, and the best people you can learn from is each other.

Relationships: Remember to always be kind to others. You never know who you’re going to be asking for a job from later down the line or who you will need help from. Reach out to alumni in the field you want to work in as soon as possible to make connections, and never be afraid to ask them for advice.

Alexis Ahee ‘17 – Event production intern at Xperience

Activities: Get involved because you will learn so much from experiences outside the classroom.

Albion Advantage: Use your resources. Albion gives you every opportunity to try and succeed.

Failure: I promise you will fail at some point. Although it may feel like the end of the world, it’s a perfect opportunity to learn from your mistakes.

Relationships: Above all, never forget to thank the people around you and tell them how much they mean to you. A roommate, a friend, a professor, a mentor, a coach. They will impact you the greatest while at Albion.

Madeline Craig ‘18

Relationships: Do not just have one group of friends. Since Albion is such a small school, you will find yourself spending a lot of time together, and it is nice to mix up your friend group so you do not get irritated with each other over small things.  

Scheduling: Keep an open mind with scheduling. You might change your major so it is good to take different classes that you might not otherwise be interested in. You would be surprised by the classes you take interest in.

Genevieve Lutz ‘18

Scheduling: Do not try to get your Fridays off. It most likely won’t happen your first year, and if it does, you’ll be bombarded with classes Monday through Thursday. Also, make SURE to check before signing up for any classes. It really gives you great insight on the professor before joining the class. It’s hard to know your first year what professors to avoid if you don’t have upperclassmen helping you out.

Recruitment: Go through recruitment whether you want to join [Greek life[ or not. You can drop out at any point if you hate it, but if you give it a shot there is literally nothing to lose. You will meet so many people and could end up finding your forever friends and supporting something that means something to you.

Activities: Go to Briton Bash! You will learn about anything and everything you are interested in, some clubs that you did not even know existed and it’s so easy to get involved and learn about what you might like/not like.

Dorming: As a former RA, [I would say] make “rules” right off the bat. It will avoid so many issues in the future! Make boundaries right away and get to know each other as soon as possible and ALWAYS ask questions! Never assume that your roommate will be okay with something if it hasn’t been talked about. When something goes wrong or doesn’t happen the way you wanted to, voice your opinion as soon as possible in a very kind way to avoid hostility. Most first-years want to leave or switch roommates right when something goes wrong, but it is very unrealistic because of such a large incoming class. Only crazy problems get handled immediately so the petty things need to worked out by you and your roommate. Go to hall events. The RAs put a lot of work into them and they’re actually fun! Plus it’s a great way to relieve some stress, have fun and meet the people you’re sharing a space with.

Julia Vitale ‘19

Growing up: Be yourself! Too many first-years go out trying to meet new friends who they’re trying to impress and then they get in friend groups where they do not fit in and start hanging out with the wrong crowd and then it can spiral them into doing things they don’t really want to do. If you just go into college and be exactly who you truly are, you’re going to attract people who will build you up and support you every step of the way.

Drinking: Don’t drink Burnett’s. I do not care how poor you are. Everyone deserves better!

Alex Ottman ‘20

Balance: I would say it is best to keep an open mind when entering a new environment like college. Go out and try new things, but be careful. Do not put all of your spare time into extracurricular activities. Make sure you are always putting your homework and studying first.

About Morgan Garmo 23 Articles
Morgan is a senior from West Bloomfield, Michigan, majoring in finance and professional writing. She is currently the Director of Strategic Planning for a non-profit called Fleece & Thank You, which provides pediatric inpatients with no-sew fleece blankets. She is on the strategy team for the non-profit Give Young, which strives to help the millennial generation learn about different non-profits. Morgan is also a yoga teacher.


  1. As an alum, I was interested enough to click on the article. The concept was solid and had great potential to be a strong article. However, it’s disappointing that all 7 people who gave advice were female and 6 were or are a member of the same sorority as the writer. Before the end, I lost interest for those reasons. I would have liked to see more diverse selection for different insight on a campus that continues to grow more diverse each year in it’s student body. I hope future articles will reflect this!

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