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Advice from a Senior

October 13, 2016

by Hailey Marino

Don’t get me wrong: I love my freshman self from three years ago. She’s cute and smart and great, but there’s a lot she doesn’t quite know yet. Yesterday as I stood in line to buy student rush tickets, (a Purchase perk that provides $5 tickets to students for professional performances offered at our campus’ Performing Arts Center) I wondered why it took me three years to finally decide to take advantage of such a sweet deal. I pictured myself now, a senior double major with much shorter hair and an extra tattoo or two shaking my freshman self with love suggesting to her all of the things I wish she knew that I know now. Although I can’t go back in time to shake my freshman self (because that would be super weird), I can share with you the valuable things I’ve learned in college throughout my experience.

Advice from a senior:

  • Get involved. Go to club meetings, poetry readings, open mics, whatever it may be. Campus is your oyster, and it’s all at your very fingertips, so why not do all you can? I had a great two first years at Purchase, but getting involved my junior year was the beginning of the most fun year of my life. I applied for a job as an Orientation Leader and I made a ton of friends, learned a lot of new things, and continue to feel the extent to what community in college feels like. I was so inspired that I applied to be an Admissions Ambassador, and here I am, pouring my inspiration into words for you. This involvement brightened my life.
  • Do things you’re scared of. That club meeting I mentioned? Go even if your friends can’t make it to go with you. Talk to the stranger who sits behind you in class. Say yes to things you normally wouldn’t and feel the extent of how wonderful and expanding discomfort can be! A friend texted me yesterday asking me if I would be interested in dancing in their performance in Fall Ball, a famous campus student drag show that happens every November in our student center called the Stood. Although I’ve always had an embarrassing secret desire to dance in Fall Ball, I immediately felt nervous, and that’s when I knew I had to say yes. The things you’re scared of are the things that promote growth for you as an individual, and what better time to grow and expand and try new things than in college?
  • Study abroad. Just do it. All SUNY schools including Purchase are part of the SUNY 64 system, meaning that all 64 SUNY campuses share certain elements, such as study abroad programs. This means that you can study abroad anywhere in the world and still pay your normal SUNY tuition straight to your home university, and even use your financial aid for it. Because of this, a semester abroad can be virtually the same exact price as a semester at home. Petting kangaroos and going to art museums while taking a class in Melbourne, Australia was a huge high of my college experience, and it can be one of yours too! (Feeling scared? I was too. See number 2.)
  • Take advantage of student deals and offers on campus. As I mentioned, I waited until being a senior to take advantage of student rush tickets at the Performing Arts Center. Although my experience has been perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing, I wish I had thought to spend $25 to see 5 professional shows including Into the Woods and the Hip Hop Nutcracker sooner! Every school has its niches, and Purchase has several. Find them, do them, you deserve them!
  • Love yourself first. School is important and your GPA deserves attention and love, but so do you. You cannot show up in healthy ways in your academic life if you aren’t taking care of yourself first. Do all of your work and study your butt off but take breaks, take a shower, do some coloring, eat some cookies, get a free massage at the Wellness Center, watch an episode on Netflix (yes, just one). Your own self-care and self-love are the secret keys to your success that you aren’t told about enough. You cannot serve from an empty vessel!

All in all, whatever you want your college experience to be, it’ll be perfect. Consider your next piece of advice to be that there’s no wrong way to do college. The best thing for you to do is to do what feels good for you, and that looks different on everybody. What I will say is that it takes some trial and error to find the very best thing for you, and I hope the trials include things like club meetings, cheap student tickets, maybe a studying abroad, and doing things out of your comfort zone. Either way, take it from a senior: Your years at college are going to be good ones.