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"So It's Your First Year..."

"So It's Your First Year..."Tufts students share some tips with US News and World Report about how to survive - and even thrive - during freshman year.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [09.13.02] During the last week in August, 1,285 students from around the world arrived at Tufts with the same goal - acing their first year in college. Filled with countless new decisions and a healthy helping of change, freshman year presents a unique challenge. To help their newest classmates, several Tufts seniors sat down with US News and World Report to share their best advice on surviving -- and thriving -- during the first year of college.

"As you head into the home stretch of high school and trip through the college application maze, it's easy to view that coveted acceptance letter as the end of the process," US News reported in its annual college guide. "But once you actually set off for college, the transition can be quite a challenge."

At the top of the list of challenges: college classes.

When senior Kaity Colon recalled her first year at Tufts, a biology course came to mind.

"Colon had trudged to all the review sessions and taken notes worthy of a biblical scribe. But she still got a C - her first ever - in a tough first-year biology course," reported the magazine. "For the Bronx native with dreams of becoming an infectious disease researcher, that freshman year experience was a vexing introduction to the rigors of university-level academics."

Her old study habits needed to be updated to meet the new pace and format of her college courses, she said.

"There will be classes where you work your behind off and get a C," Colon told US News. "A day in college is like a week in high school."

And a great deal of information is covered in every class.

"The work won't be fed to you in bite-sized pieces, and it's easy to fall behind," reported US News. "Lesson No. 1: Go to class. It may seem harmless to skip a lecture here and there, but those missed days can be deadly."

Of course, adjusting to college-level classes is just one aspect of the first year in college. Making new friends and finding new out-of-classroom activities plays an important role as well.

"As you start getting your classes under control, an extracurricular activity can provide an ideal way to find a small peer group and get connected to campus," reported US News. "You'll hear about a multitude of organizations, but it's a good idea to get involved in just one or two at first."

At Tufts, there are more than 160 organizations to choose from.

"When Kate Elder of Phildaelphia got to Tufts, she focused on the Leonard Carmichael Society [LCS], which does community service work like feeding the homeless and running blood drives," reported the magazine.

Student organizations like LCS offer opportunities to help organize campus events, meet new people - even build leadership skills.

"It was like an instant group of friends," Elder - who now serves as LCS President - told US News. "It made the transition [from high school] so easy."

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