I Asked Eight College Seniors What Advice They Would Give To Their Freshman-Year Self

May 7, 2018

Four years fly by when you’re having fun! I asked eight college seniors at James Madison University what advice they would give themselves if they could go back in time and talk to their freshman year self. Here’s what they said!

 

Aimee Storey

Major:

Biology

Involvement in college:

Swing Dance Club, Beta Beta Beta National Biology Honor Society, Alternative Break Program Study Abroad

Post-college plans:

Accelerated Nursing Program at Duke University

Favorite college memory:

“Alternative May Break! We took a trip to New Orleans and helped rebuild a home for a  man who had been relocated for 11 years. He visited us and told his story about him and his family and how we're always welcome back whenever we're in town, and it was a really touching feeling, as well as experiencing the New Orleans culture and eating the food, too!”

Advice:

“Don't be afraid of having a perfect plan and changing your mind. I was the type of person that had the next eight years planned out, essentially, and I transferred, changed majors and eventually changed my post-college plans. Everything has changed for the better, and I am happier than ever. Explore your true interests and don't be afraid to change your plan!”

 

 

Catie Willett

Major:

Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communications

Involvement in college:

Digital Communication Consulting, Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority, University Innovation Fellows, Girls Who Code Founder

Post-college plans:

Working as a technical writer for MicroStrategy, a data visualization company in Tysons, Virginia

Favorite college memory:

“My favorite college memory was studying abroad in Ireland with an interdisciplinary group of students. We were all from different backgrounds and in a place completely new to all of us. It was terrifying, but also so unbelievably exciting. I met some of my closest friends at JMU during that trip and learned so much more about myself and the type of work I wanted to do in the future. Studying in a different country provides you with an entirely new perspective and gives you a newfound gratitude for the life you have at home. I encourage everyone to study abroad if they can, it was truly a life changing experience for me.”

Advice:

“Plan to study abroad if you can! It is the most eye-opening experience, and you will often find great friends through the experience!”

 

Brian Williams

Major:

International Affairs with a concentration in comparative European Politics

Involvement in college: Club Rugby, Vice President and Treasurer of Public Affairs Student Organization, resident advisor in the dorms

Post-college plans:

Will be immediately starting work for a government defense and services contracting company with the long-term goal of applying for Air Force Officer School

Favorite college memory:

“Sprinting the last quarter mile of my first marathon after never having ran farther than 18 miles in my life and realizing I could push myself even farther if I wanted to and put the work in. Joining the marathon class was the best decision I ever made.”

Advice: “Do what your gut tells you that you need to do to succeed […] and don't worry about the embarrassments or the failures: growth is intended to be uncomfortable. Truth is, half the people watching you don't care, and the other half are happy you have struggles because it's not their problem. An imperfect action trumps a perfect plan that was never executed every time, as long as you're moving forward. You have an eternity to reflect on what you've done in this life. Don't leave your most valuable ideas in the graveyard and cut yourself short.”

 

 

Kristina Migo

Major:

Psychology

Involvement in college:

Madison Equality and Feminist Collective

Post-college plans:

Taking a year or two break from academics before going to graduate school for a master’s degree in counseling

Favorite college memory:

“Becoming a teacher’s assistant for a psychology class that I really liked”

Advice: “Follow your passion. Choose a major because you like it, you value it, and you want to spend a significant time studying it. Don’t choose a major or a career path that’s deemed acceptable (by) your friends, family or society if you don’t actually like putting the time and effort in it. Even if it seems far-fetched or stupid to others, do what makes YOU happy!”

 

Natalie Pack

 

Major:

Media Arts and Design with a concentration in Converged Media

Involvement in college:

Sigma Kappa Sorority, graphic designer at Office of Residence Life

Post-college plans:

Freelance graphic design work in Northern Virginia, starting a YouTube channel with a friend

Favorite college memory:

Seeing Big Sean in concert on campus my freshman year!

Advice: “Talk to the people in your class. Don’t wait for a group project to meet your classmates. These are the people who will be with you in your major classes until the end. Build relationships with them early because it will only help you in the long run.”

 

 

 

Blake Seymour

Major:

Sports and Recreation Management

Involvement in college:

Sport Leisure Association of Madison, Club Dodgeball, Founder and President of Spikeball Club, Athletic Facilities Assistant and Official for Intramural Sports

Post-college plans:

“I started my career one month before graduation, balancing work and class for the Norfolk Admirals Professional Hockey Team. My position is the Corporate Sales and Sponsorship Account Executive.”

Favorite college memory:

“My favorite memory was College GameDay my sophomore year and seeing streamers everywhere while being covered on national television. I could not be happier to be a part of JMU Nation!”

Advice:

“Don’t procrastinate. The less you procrastinate, the more you’ll be able to do. At the end of the day, do what’s best for yourself and surround yourself with people that care. Do that, and your college career will be the best four years of your life.”

 

 

 

Madison Kambic

Major:

English

Involvement in college:

Swing Dance Club, 3D Printing club

Post-college plans:

Attending JMU for graduate school to get a Masters degree in teaching

Favorite college memory:

“Having a fancy final dinner at D-Hall, one of JMU’s dining halls. My friends and I bonded for two years over dinners at D-Hall, and we wanted to commemorate it before it was torn down for renovation. So, during the last week of sophomore year, all my friends and I got dressed up and took pictures outside D-Hall. Then, we went inside and brought tablecloths, flameless candles, printed menus, and flowers to set up. Everyone looked at us kind of weird, but we were happy, and we loved getting to celebrate our favorite dining hall.”

Advice:

“First, get involved! Try anything that seems interesting to you. You'll expand your worldview, meet a ton of new people, and explore something that could become a passion! For me, this was swing dance. Second, learn when to let go and have fun. It's very easy to get wrapped up in academics or worrying about getting a project or paper done. Know when to take time away and go get ice cream or sit on campus with friends. You need to build those relationships and memories, because that is what you're going to remember.”

 

 

Sara Kraeutler

Major:

Integrated Science and Technology with a concentration in Applied Biotechnology and Production Systems

Involvement in college:

JMU Field Hockey, Catholic Campus Ministry, National Society of Collegiate Scholars

Post-college plans: Attend Baylor College of Medicine to pursue a Master's of Science in Orthotics and Prosthetics

Favorite college memory:

“Playing (The College of) William and Mary this year in the CAA tournament, because my team left it all out on the floor, and having the opportunity to travel to Rome on a mission trip over Spring Break my junior year!”

Advice:

“You are truly you, and there is no one like you, so be okay with being yourself because it is the best version of you. Challenge yourself to be better than you were the day before. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable: that’s where growth happens over time. You only get one chance at college, so don’t miss the opportunity!”

 

My name is Jackie Garcia and I am 21 years old, majoring in Media Arts and Design. When I'm not busy with school or writing, I love to travel, dance and watch reruns of New Girl.

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