By Shane Donglasan

Students take notes during a class at New College.
Students take notes during a class at New College.

The first year at college can be overwhelming as much as it is exhilarating. Our current students have all been there and understand that it can be quite the experience academically and personally. They shared with us some things they thought our incoming class would find helpful during their first year as Novos.

  • “Keep an open mind about all the opportunities and classes that you take. There are people on campus who are from all walks of life and have different experiences, opinions, and lessons that they can share. Ultimately, we, as New College, are a community of uniquely brilliant individuals who spend time building each other to become better students, scholars and people.” ⁠— Jennifer Lin, fourth-year
  • “Speak with faculty openly and often! I have never had a professor who was not more than willing to chat about my academic interests, progress in class, helpful resources and general advice. Of course, always remember to be respectful of their time and schedule.” — Evan Murdoch, fourth-year
  • “New College is an environment that can foster an incredible amount of growth in a person, but only if you let it. Take these opportunities as they come! Learn new things, expand your comfort zone. Join clubs, try weird classes, attend events, take in the sunset at the bay as often as possible. The list of things to do and people to meet is literally endless here.” — Evan Murdoch, fourth-year
  • “Have a friend or family member from home visit you within the first month and a half of being at college. You may not feel it directly, but it can be exhausting to have to explain who you are to so many new people, and it can be really comforting and revealing to hang out with someone from home who knows exactly who you are.” — Agnes Bartha, third-year
  • “Something I wish I learned sooner in my first year is to take detailed notes on all assigned reading. It may be a lot to keep up with, but your in-class discussions and final papers will show that extra work you put in.” — Lauren Lobeck, second-year
  • “My one piece of advice (and I truly think it’s critical) is to allow for flexibility. New College allows students to study vast and varying topics of interest, so explore! Find what makes you happy, but always allow for plans to change. Your AOC may change six times, and there’s no problem with that. This is the time to find yourself.” — Lana Wetherald, fourth-year
  • “My advice to first-years is to go to the events that happen on campus and join a club. It is very easy to stay in your room and not socialize. I know it is hard to make friends so that’s why it is very important to put yourself out there and this way you will feel connected to the community. You do not have to go to every event or do every club but do something where you have a common interest with others and you will meet people who also care about the things you care about.” — Jacob Brody-Ogborn, second-year
  • “Don’t be afraid to jump into classes that seem difficult or above your level.” — Anna Wright, second-year
  • “In my first year, I spent a lot of time in Col-LAB in the library and I found that it was a really good place to get some work done, while also being in the company of friends! — Kenzie Timms, third-year
  • “Take the bus with your friends to the beach, downtown Sarasota to see a movie, or to the University Town Center mall area. All of these places are close by, and you can always find something fun to do!”* — Kenzie Timms, third-year

*New College students can use the Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) and Manatee County Area Transit (MCAT) public bus systems for free with their student ID cards.
– Shane Donglasan is the marketing writer/project coordinator at New College of Florida.

Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is a top-ranked public liberal arts college and the state’s Honors College of Florida. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences. New College offers 45 undergraduate majors in arts, humanities and sciences, a master’s degree program in applied data science, and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills.

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