Lessons Learned from Freshman Year

Since arriving at Wharton just under a year ago, I have learned many important lessons ranging from the trivial (where to get the best iced coffee) to the significant (how to do well in school). Below are some of the more overarching lessons that I have learned.

Get to Know Your Professors

One of the biggest mistakes students make during their freshman year is not taking advantage of Wharton’s incredible professors. It’s easy to only interact with your professors during class, but it’s also very easy to get to know them outside of class. From taking my professors to lunch and going on their optional field trips, I have learned so much. I learned that my econ professor is also an amazing artist. I toured the highest security prison in New Jersey and went to the Supreme Court and the FBI with my legal studies professor. During your freshman year (and other years too), get to know your professors; you won’t regret it.

Learn How to Love Teamwork

If you asked me one year ago about my opinion of teamwork, the answer would not have been positive. Throughout high school I was always the one who wanted to do individual projects. And this view didn’t change the moment I got to Penn either.  However, after having an incredible Management 100 team in my first semester, I began to value teamwork, and I realized that a group of diverse minds produces far better results than my mind alone. You’re going to have countless group projects at Wharton, so instead of being that one person who hates to work with others, be the one who is genuinely excited to work in a team.                                   

Take on Activities that You Enjoy

In Wharton and at Penn, there are countless clubs and activities that you can join. There are academic clubs, athletic clubs, social clubs, religious clubs, and much, much more.  It’s important to find some that interest you. Through your extracurricular activities, you’ll find new interests, make new friends, and have a great time.

 …and Learn How to Balance Them

At the beginning of the year, you’re going to find so many interesting activities. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to do everything. It’s important to realize that you can’t do everything, though. Instead of joining every club that sounded interesting, I picked out three or four that I was genuinely interested in, and I balanced them with my schoolwork. This way, I have a few activities that I am very involved in, but I can also keep up with studying.

You Can Also Have Fun

One of my favorite things about Penn is that there’s a great balance of work and play. You can have a super stressful week, but then you can relax and have a great weekend. Philly and Penn have so many fun things to offer, so it’s definitely important to take a break from studying and relax sometimes. Plus, after a great Friday and Saturday, I’m always able to stay more focused while studying on Sunday because I’m no longer as stressed.

Take Care of Yourself

It’s easy to let yourself go during your freshman year. Even if you have spent a lot of time away from home before, college will probably give you the most independence you have ever had. Because of this, it’s easy to let yourself go. It’s easy to not take care of yourself mentally and physically. So make a conscious decision to maintain your health. Go to the gym, eat somewhat healthy food, and take some time to de-stress every week. A little bit of effort will go a long way in making sure you stay healthy and happy in college.

Don’t Stress About the Future

I have always been one to stress about the future. In high school, I stressed over college. Once I was accepted to college, I stressed over my future. During my freshman year, I learned that this stress is unnecessary. There’s no need to stress over freshman year internships or over decisions you will make three years from now.  Instead, just study hard, get involved, and know that in a year or two you will make some important decisions, but you don’t have to make them yet.