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The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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15 Tips for First-Time Freshmen

College is scary, but your internet big brothers and sister have your back!
Moving to college your freshman year is scary, which is why three of The Trend’s writers complied their tips to make your first year a breeze!

Welcome to college!

As we are sure you have heard by now, this is your protype to real life – meaning you will take on more responsibilities in the next few years, but you aren’t quiet a fully independent adult yet. For most it means doing your own laundry, learning how to cook, learning to manage your time, and maybe even a part-time job. Your first year in college is intimidating, but so much fun! To help navigate you through the first few weeks three of The Trend’s senior staff have complied a list of 15 tips to help you through your first year in college. So, it’s time to take a breath and enter this next chapter in your life.


Emily Loughridge, Editor-in-Chief and third-year student

  1. Establish who you are (aka your reputation)

It’s easy to forget that the reputation you built throughout high school doesn’t follow you to college. This is a fresh start, for better or worse. No one knows that you took honors classes and had a perfect GPA or that you failed that one class and got kicked out of the classroom that one time. You are a blank slate, use it wisely. Your freshman year is the time to decide who you’re going to be and set up your priorities: are you going to be a dedicated student, an avid volunteer, or someone else entirely?

  1. Be present in the moment

Could this be anymore cliché? Maybe, but the advice is invaluable. Your college years will be gone in the blink of an eye. While orientation might not be what you’re looking forward to the most, I cannot stress how much fun it can be. You’ll learn very quickly that college is what you make it – you can sit in your dorm all day or hang out with friends. My advice is to get off the phone and go make something happen! While you’re in the moment don’t forget to stop, look around, and enjoy the memories you are making. You’ll never get another chance like this in your life!

  1. Get out of your comfort zone

Seriously! Learn more about yourself because college is the perfect place to do it! This is a period on your life (through your 20s honestly) for you to try new things, find new hobbies and interests, and make new friends. In college, you are supposed to grow as a person, and you can’t do that if you stick to a routine all four years. So, go to iHop at 1 a.m., try a new sport, or talk to that classmate! It might be the best thing you ever do.

  1. Build a relationship with your professors and advisor(s)

It’s a revolutionary idea, but your advisor and professors are here to help you out. Make sure to get to know them personally, be engaged in classes, and ask questions! If you don’t want to ask in class, then stay for a few minutes afterwards. You are here to better your education, you are most likely paying thousands of dollars to be in this classroom, so use this opportunity wisely. USAO’s professors are experts in their fields and want to teach you about their field of study. Every professor has office hours – use them! By forming a relationship with your professor it’ll make it easier to ask for help on assignments, before exams, and if you ever feel lost after a lecture. Don’t leave any resource unused while in college!

  1. If you don’t use it at home, don’t bring it here!

Watching freshmen move in every year is a sight to see because of the continuous waves of boxes being shuffled into the buildings. It is my full belief that if you don’t use it a handful of times while living at home each week then you don’t need to bring it to college. I’m talking about the air fryers, ice makers, and that jacket you swear you’ll wear – if you aren’t sure, then leave it at home. Most students live close enough to home that if you realize it’s an essential you can easily get it. Remember that your dorm is small and will get smaller with the more items you bring. Maybe it’s time we all try out the minimalist lifestyle ha! Take the first few weeks, get settles in, and then decide if those items are truly essential for your dorm life.


Paul Tointigh, Managing Editor and fourth-year student

  1. Self-discipline is a must.

You are on your own now, and every decision you make will affect you, for better or for worse. Having self-discipline and self-control are two very important skills to have. Be responsible with your time and with your money: these are your two greatest assets. I plan out my day in advance to help me stay focused and productive. I think of my meals in advance, and I keep things in order with a planner. Set aside time for working, time for studying, and time to relax and recover. Know what distracts you and limit those distractions. You have to be the adult here, and no one will help you stay in order. You must learn these things to be successful.

Also, if you make a mistake, don’t stress out over it. Ask yourself “what can I learn from this mistake” and take the time to reflect (as Gary said). When you figure that out, write it down (I keep a journal for these things) and move on.

  1. Don’t worry about a relationship right away

I know, getting into a relationship in college might be a goal of yours, and I completely understand. You are getting out of your hometown and meeting a lot of new people. However, use your freshman year wisely. You will spend a lot of time taking the basic classes, and trying to learn how to navigate college life. I would recommend putting a relationship on the back burner until you can successfully manage your time and finances. Not saying don’t date anyone at all, but don’t stress about it immediately; the time will come. Just let it happen naturally and don’t try and force it!

8. Try volunteering

I volunteered to do many things throughout my college career. Starting my freshman year, I aided in disaster relief and eventually learned how to operate a chainsaw in disaster situations. Not saying that you should learn how to aid in relief efforts after a major natural disaster, but volunteering in any capacity can be beneficial. Not only are you doing something for the greater good, but you also can learn new skills (I mean, I never even touched a chainsaw before then, and now I own one!). You can also make connections and friendships that you otherwise would not have. Inquire about lending a helping hand somewhere, even if it is just setting up coffee and doughnuts for a campus organization. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

9. Learn basic life skills

College is more than just getting a formal education, it is also about learning skills that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. One of the biggest skills I learned is how to cook. Let’s be honest, McDonald’s may be cheap, but over the long term, it drains your bank account and your health. Learning how to cook is something that you absolutely need to know. Look up recipes online, ask upperclassmen how to cook; the resources are limitless.

Keeping a clean space is key: a clean apartment means a less cluttered mind. Keep things clean for when your friends or even your family comes for a visit.

Also learning to do your own laundry is something you will need to know. Clean clothes are a must, and learning how to properly wash them is something you will need to know for the rest of your life. Learn that skill now. On top of that, I also own an ironing board, and iron my clothes to make sure they are presentable at all times. I would recommend learning this skill as well.

10. Put your best foot forward

Always be presentable. You will meet a lot of people in your college career. Friends, professors, potential future employers, and you could even meet your future spouse! You need to be presentable at all times. Always remember to keep your clothes clean, make sure you brush your teeth, and keep that hair in order. Give yourself a good look in the mirror before you leave your dorm. Keep that posture straight when you walk, and look people in the eye and engage deeply with them. People will notice the effort you put in, and you’ll make yourself feel better too. Look up style guides online. As Emily stated, this is a time to reinvent yourself: take full advantage of that! Be confident and be brave. Take the initiative: you never know where it’ll take you.

And remember, if you don’t like yourself, you can always change! College is a time for change and for growth in your life. You are becoming your own person; you are becoming an adult.


Gary Jackson, Senior Writer and third-year student

  1. Explore a lifestyle outside of the university

While the lifestyle of college is fascinating, you don’t want your whole life to be revolving around it. Go outside of the university and check out the atmosphere of the town you’re now in. I would recommend picking up a part-time job outside of USAO or having a hobby outside of the college. One of my best experiences since I’ve been at USAO was working at the Cotton Patch Café in Chickasha. While the work atmosphere was wild, it gave me a chance to meet with other people my age that weren’t in college. At times, it was nice having friends that I could talk to outside of USAO, and I shared new life perspectives with them. Having some activities outside of the school gave me a chance to see the culture of Chickasha as well. Even if some of the work experiences weren’t great, it was nice knowing that I had a life outside of USAO. 

  1. Attend campus events

All year round, different departments across USAO will host events that are fun for everyone. While you may feel that you’re “too old” or have better things to do, attend some of the campus events. Often, you will find new friends or discover something new that you will build a passion for. In my sophomore year, I began playing ultimate frisbee and it has become my favorite event on campus. I have made some great friends from playing and have countless throws and catches I will forever cherish. While frisbee may not be for you, there are so many activities and events for everyone to attend on campus. At least give it a try and check out a campus event! 

  1. Visit your family and friends from home

Leaving the house and being on your own can be an exhilarating experience, but it’s also important to visit your family and friends while at college. After a few weeks, they will probably miss seeing you just as much as you miss seeing them. The homesick feeling is one that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, so take a weekend away from campus and catch up with your family and friends. Tell them all about the experiences and excitement there is with being at USAO. During my first trimester as a freshman, the man who raised me for ten years of my life tragically passed away. It was this moment that taught me nothing lasts forever in life, and it’s important to make sure you don’t take anything for granted. Even if you can’t see them in person, a phone call or Zoom is a great way to talk and engage with family members and friends. The important thing is to make time for your family because they’ll always have your back when no one else does.

  1. Show up to your classes

This one might be the hardest thing for some students to accomplish, but showing up to class every day is crucial for your college experience. Don’t forget that you are paying for these classes with your own money. Even if you have scholarships or other funding to pay for the education, it’s still important to go to class. When you arrive at college, you are putting an investment in yourself for a better education and career opportunities. Even if the class is boring and uneventful, it is important to show respect to yourself, your classmates, and the professors teaching the class. Who knows, you might learn something new that day if you attend the class. Don’t waste that time and effort for an extra hour of sleep, or to finish that game of Fortnite, get to class and show up on time! 

  1. Take the time for self-reflection

Even if you put in no effort in college, it will still teach you things about yourself that you wouldn’t have learned without it. Self-reflection is needed because it builds the character of yourself and who you want to be in this life. With campus life, friends, school, work, and all other activities, it’s important to set a few minutes for self-reflection. Take that time to see what you’ve learned today, what problems are in your life, and what do you wish to do better the next day. You will see the changes in yourself within the first few weeks of attending university, and that’s a remarkable thing. The self-reflection process will help push you to change for the better and not for the worse as well.


Emily Loughridge is a third-year Communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Paul Tointigh is a fourth-year Communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Gary Jackson is a third-year Communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

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About the Contributors
Emily Loughridge
Emily Loughridge, Editor-in-Chief
Emily is a fourth-year communication major from Union City. Emily is obtaining minors in psychology and liberal arts, as well. She has been on staff for The Trend since the fall of 2021 and loves working with the writers on ideas! Emily also works in the Sports Information Department on campus as the Student Assistant. When she isn't studying or working, Emily can normally be found watching Scrubs, Reba, or How I Met Your Mother and enjoying ice cream with her boyfriend.   Experience with The Trend: Editor-in-Chief: Dec. 2022 - present Managing Editor: May 2022 - Nov. 2022 Contributing Writer: Aug. 2021 - April 2022
Paul Tointigh
Paul Tointigh, Senior Writer
Paul is a fourth-year communication major, having obtained his associate’s degree in Arts from Redlands Community College. Paul transferred to USAO and became a member of The Trend in the fall of 2022. He recently began a job at Viridian and is an active member of the BCM, serving on the leadership team. When he isn’t attending to his many duties, Paul can be found at the gym, attending campus ministries, or spending time playing his guitar. Experience with The Trend: Senior Writer: Jan. 2024 - present Managing Editor: Dec. 2022 - Dec. 2023 Contributing Writer: Aug. 2022 - Dec. 2022
Gary Jackson
Gary Jackson, Managing Editor
Gary is a fourth-year communication major from Kingston. He works as a resident assistant (RA). Gary began writing for The Trend in January 2022, and has interned with the Madill Record and Marietta Monitor newspapers. When Gary isn’t attending class and working, you can watch him making the game-winning catch at the ultimate frisbee game, hanging out with friends, or visiting with his family. Experience with The Trend: Managing Editor: May 2024 - present Sports Editor: Nov. 2023 - Apr. 2024 Senior Writer: Dec. 2022 - Nov. 2023 Contributing Writer: Jan. 2022 - Dec. 2022