And so another semester at JMU begins. You reacquaint yourself with those signature JMU hills, curse at the traffic you hoped would magically disappear this year, and dig out your trusty JAC card. Or maybe this year is your first at JMU, and if so, just look at that last sentence as a preview of what’s to come.
Welcome freshman and transfer students! Consider this your unofficial orientation, and some advice from someone who’s been-there done-that.
- Get involved! No really. Go to Student Org Night each semester! Even if it is hot, crowded, and people are shoving flyers at you all night. You never know when you’ll run across The One; the club that helps unearth your true passion.
- Explore all possible majors. You may think you have it all figured out, and you may think you’re perfectly happy with your predetermined major. But what if you were to discover something like, say, Justice Studies or Biology, and realize that’s where your true calling lies?
- Don’t let yourself get too comfortable. You are here to challenge yourself and that means experiencing new things, so don’t rule out the hula hooping club (Free Flow), the Quidditch team, or D-Hall (Cheesy Thursdays!).
- Get the JMU Bus App. It will help you decipher the maze of bus routes and you’ll thank yourself later.
- Save your documents online. Use something like Google Drive so when you inevitably loose that USB dangerously dangling from your keychain during finals week, you won’t see your life flash before your bloodshot eyes.
- Explore downtown. I have heard way too many upperclassmen say they still haven’t ever really been downtown. Venture outside the JMU bubble, like now. Who doesn’t love a good farmer’s market, salsa night, burger topped with mac and cheese, or a little light afternoon shopping?
- Save yourself some money. Don’t make the mistake of spending $500 on full priced books the first semester. Chegg (and Amazon) exist for a reason, people.
- Invest in a good quality, waterproof backpack. Because we all know that canvas messenger bag or Vera Bradley tote is cute, but when you’re halfway through the semester with an aching back and rain-soaked notes, you’ll be thinking otherwise.
- Look for internships early. Don’t wait until your last semester. Consider these as test runs for your future career, resume builders, and invaluable hands-on experiences in your job field.
- If you live in a dorm, shower shoes. ‘Nough said.
- Look for unique classes to fulfill your credit requirements. Because why not take Fly Fishing for your lab or Elementary Ballet for fun?!
- Find a job on campus! If you’re like me, money doesn’t just appear on that worn out debit card, you gotta work for it. You can’t beat the commute, flexible hours, and the always-flattering purple uniform (seriously, purple is a good color on almost everyone).
- Lastly, seek out diversity. Don’t let yourself fall into a blissfully ignorant state, constantly surrounded by people just like you. There’s more out there, you just have to look for it!