Diary of… a student who survived her freshman year

Jennifer Goetzl is a legal studies major entering her sophomore year. She likes being with her family, friends and sorority sisters, going to the beach, eating Italian food, dancing and reading novels. She is a member of a Delta Phi Epsilon, Community Action Using Student Empowerment (CAUSE), a community service organization, and the Razor’s Edge Leadership Program. She is an organization assistant for the Office of Student Activities.

I was born and raised in Aurora, Colo. and coming to NSU was the biggest challenge that I’ve ever had to experience. I left everything I’d known behind and entered NSU not knowing anyone. It was a rude awakening to be on my own because I realized quickly how expensive it was. How was I supposed to know that things like tissues and bread were a luxury? I was completely homesick for the first couple of months. But it became better when I began getting involved.

I am a part of the Razor’s Edge Leadership Program, and this has been a tremendous resource as I transitioned into my first year of college. I was provided with an amazing mentor who provided me with insight on how to get involved in organizations on campus. Razor’s Edge also required me to take classes on how to increase my leadership abilities, and this has made all the difference.

I also received a job in the Office of Student Activities as an Inter-Organizational Council Assistant under Jazmin Zea, the graduate assistant for Student Clubs and Organizations, where I was given the honor of working with all the undergraduate organizations to plan and carry out events on campus. This was a blessing because it introduced me to NSU’s top leaders and provided me with programming experience.

I also joined Delta Phi Epsilon, a sorority. It was the best decision I could have made because it gave me a support system and a home away from home. My sorority sister Jazsmine Carter has become my support, my sister and my best friend. I also joined CAUSE and joined other members on a service trip to Orlando where we built townhomes through Habitat for Humanity. It was a life-changing experience. I was also chosen to be a member the President’s 64, an advisory board for President George L. Hanbury II.

My college experience has been amazing so far, and I can say the reason for this is my involvement on campus. I highly encourage incoming freshmen to get involved in one of the 80 plus undergraduate organizations. Our saying at NSU is that if you do not see a club that interests you, create a new one. At any other college, I would not have had the same opportunities that I’ve had so far at NSU. Through these organizations, I have obtained lifelong friends and skills that I will carry with me in my future career.

Also, remember that your academics are absolutely top priority in college. Most freshmen tend to get caught up in the social life. The best way to keep focused is to prioritize and stay organized. Keep an agenda of all of your meetings, classes and assignments. But also remember to stay healthy by sleeping enough hours a day, eating food that is good for you, and exercising regularly.

One of the most important things I’ve learned is how to open up to people. I have always been a social person, but it takes a lot for me to open up emotionally to others. I understand that many people share this same issue, but it is a problem. When you come to college, you need to learn how to open up to the people around you and know that, sometimes, it is OK to depend on others.

The stresses in college will eat you alive if you don’t have someone to vent to. You also need to confide in older students because they have been there before and can provide you with advice on what to do in most situations. So, learn how to trust others because your peers are an excellent survival tool.

Freshman year flies by quickly, and it is a roller coaster of emotions. The new beginning is exciting and scary, but, in the end, you grow. Enjoy it while it lasts and good luck to the incoming freshmen. Welcome to NSU.

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