What I wish I'd known my first year in college

three students walking in Coor Hall in silhouette into the sun

It may be your first time doing the whole college thing but we know a few people who have been there before. We talked to ASU students about their first-year experiences, and they have some advice. Read and learn, Sun Devils.

What do you wish you’d known when you were a first-year student?

“It’s OK to make mistakes and not have everything in life all figured out. It’s OK to feel a little afraid, because that’s how you know you’re doing something that matters. Focus on finding your passion, growing as a person, making a difference and learning more and more every day, even if it’s a little scary at times.” – Austin Davis, sophomore, creative writing major  

“I wish I knew just how much time goes into school outside of class. I knew more time would be needed for homework than for actually going to class, but I wasn't really prepared for how frequently big assignments from different classes fall on the same due date. I wasn’t totally aware how much time management was needed.” – Connor Newton, sophomore, film major

“I wish I knew that everyone else is just as scared, anxious and nervous to start college as you are! I also wish I had familiarized myself with the campus more. It’s really big and can actually be really confusing. I found myself very hot, frustrated and lost while trying to find a classroom countless times my first week here at ASU.” – Samantha Kinney, senior, film and media production major

“You really are the only person standing in your way sometimes.” – Alexis Young, sophomore, broadcast journalism major

“I wish that I knew how many opportunities the campus has to offer. There are so many clubs, groups and activities on campus. The selection is nearly endless.” – Brendan Duffy, junior, accounting major

“I wish that as a first-year student I knew the importance of just doing more of what makes you happy. Sticking with the people who bring you up and make you feel happy. If something isn’t making you feel great, you always have the option to say no, find new people and do something else. Explore your options and try something new. You know you more than anyone else does, so trust it. The best way to feel happy is by just finding what you enjoy doing and then just simply doing more of it. Finding your place doesn’t have to be a struggle. It really is as easy as that.” – Lindsay Lohr, senior, communications major with an international business certificate

What advice do you have for incoming first-year students?

“I think it’s incredibly important to step outside your comfort zone and try new things. Be open to new ideas and new experiences, and have fun with your first year!” – Austin Davis, sophomore, creative writing major  

“Go out of your way to meet people. A lot of ASU students have the mindset that since the school is so big, they probably won’t ever see many of their classmates again. From my experience, that means not very many people introduce themselves to new people. My advice is to be that person who does initiate conversation and fosters that human connection that I think a lot of people forget about during their daily lives.” – Connor Newton, sophomore, film major

“Make good friends while you're here at ASU, but once you have those friendships, be open to new and different friendships! So many people in college find their ‘friend group’ and never branch out after their first year. ASU is massive — you don’t have to limit your friends to your dorm floor!” – Samantha Kinney, senior, film and media productions major

 “Just because you know better doesn’t mean you are better. No one likes a snob.” – Alexis Young, sophomore, broadcast journalism major

“My advice would be to savor every experience of college. In the moment it’s difficult to see how much it might mean to you down the road. Even some of the stuff that isn’t fun will give you a good laugh when you look back. Slow down sometimes and enjoy the great time that you are having.” – Brendan Duffy, junior, accounting major

“Always do everything to your fullest and give it your all. Being engaged in what you’re doing is going to give you more opportunities than just sitting idly by ever would. You can’t partially do something. You can either do it or not. So talk to your professors, go to class, do your homework, dress up for that interview, give it your 110% effort because you’ve got this shot, so why waste it?” – Lindsay Lohr, senior, communications major with an international business certificate

Adulting 101

Sun Devils turn to ASU Adulting 101 to learn (some of) the things not taught in class. Not sure about how to do something? Need to connect with an expert? We got you.


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Ivan Alcazar
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Major: Political science
Year in school: Junior
Aubrey Souders
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Hometown: Nogales, Arizona
Major: Justice studies
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Taylor Bettis
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Hometown: Binghamton, NY
Major: Forensic psychology
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