Calming college jitters: Veteran students share survival tips fo - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Calming college jitters: Veteran students share survival tips for Freshmen

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(KFVS) - Back to school time is in the front of a lot of minds of parents and students right now especially college students. 

With new students already heading back to some campuses, veteran students have inside details about everything to know from day one. 

Juniors and seniors say it is possible to juggle schedules, making friends and getting good grades. Their best advice: start early, prepare and don't be afraid to speak up in any situation from classes to roommates. 

"Living in a small town, everyone knows everyone and then you come to Cape and it's really a culture shock," said Ashley Medina an upperclassman at Southeast Missouri State University. She's from the East Prairie area. 

Zach Barker is also a veteran student from East Prairie at Southeast Missouri State University. He said, "You're going to find out living on campus can seem like madness because it's a big campus but yet it's small enough that everywhere you go you see somebody you know." 

Even International Students like Raphael Pellenard say it's easy to develop relationships quickly. "It's best to make friends early," said Pellenard. It's easy to do especially before everyone forms their own circles." 

What about sharing close quarters with someone you've never met before, roommates? In many cases, people you've never met before that now become a part of your every day life. 

Students say honesty is the best policy and communication is key. 

"We were different people with different styles of living," said Medina. "I wish I'd been more forth coming early and said hey let's talk this out." 

"Before conflict ever buildings up to the point of a confrontation take care of problems up front quickly before the situation blows up and the other person has no idea what hit them or that they were making your life hard," said Barker. 

What about dealing with not only a busy class schedule -- but a hectic social calendar. Students say it can be done. The most efficient way, students feel is to use the planner in your cell phone and program it with alerts. Make it a happen to plug in all quizzes and social events. 

"I've always been academically focused," said Medina. "Don't think you can't be social in clubs and make good grades. It actually helped me learn time management and focus on my studies when I needed to and gave me a break when I needed that as well." 

"It's very important to start strong," said Pellenard. "The pace is fast and you must keep up and there's a lot of homework compared to high school." 

"I wish I would have known to go to the faculty when you don't have your grades where you want," said Barker. "Ask them what can I do different so that I will do better on the exams next time. They will love hearing you want advice on how to succeed in their class." 

Then there's those things you never even thought about: "Keep your doors open," said Medina, now a residence hall adviser. "I know it may sound silly but it really does help build community on your floor." 

"You can actually build a bit of your own family," said Pellenard. "That really helps makes  you feel comfortable and have a better overall experience and you become very close."

Zach Barker, also a residence hall adviser now says he gives new students this advice. "When we move in a lot of students loft their beds and so as heat rises you get hot up there! So get one of those fans, the little ones with the perfect little clips. They are just right to fit on the beds and if you're warm blooded you're going to want that so that you don't melt in the middle of the night!" 

A final thought, students and advisers say don't be afraid to explore other career fields. The decisions you make in college  could be live long decisions that impact your life. Go ahead: test other avenues if what you thought you'd love as a career just doesn't feel right.

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