Freshmen Survival 101

What I am offering is a set of hints and tips. Things that from over more than three years of attending Illinois College has become painfully obvious to me and increasingly helpful in shaping my time at IC. Now of course if you do not follow a single one of these tips you can still have an amazing set of experiences here. Just know that if you give some of these ideas a try, you may find that it not only ups the frequency of your great experiences, but it may make each experience you have that much more memorable and enjoyable.


  1. Put yourself in some awkward situations (i.e. PUT DOWN THE PHONE & break the ice, or sit with new people at lunch) If you already think I am stupid, you’re wrong, I’m  just a bit crazy, but put that aside, hear me out. Most people fear they will drown if they jump in the deep end. You need to learn to trust that you won’t. Why? Because the people that you should be friends with will come to your rescue.  
  2. Leave high school where it belongs. College is a chance to free yourself of all the drama and silly self-obsessive people that ruined school back in the day.  You just have to be brave enough to say you do not want the drama in your life and find the strength to leave behind anyone that isn’t willing to grow up.
  3. Manage your grades so they do not manage you. Going along with the last one, unlike what you learned in high school, grades and GPA do not define you. Liberal Arts is for explorations and discovery, for connections and reflections, but our generation has been tricked into thinking it’s all a competition and only through winning will we be “successful.”  So just keep track of your education by what you actually learn and not what a letter says you learned.
  4. Do what you really love!  College can be a 24/7 job, leaving you feeling like you have no time for doing what you really love. College, more than ever, makes us choose what we have time for.  If you find yourself feeling like there is just not enough time in the day, you need to realize you are doing too much. Choices and sacrifices must be made to make sure there is enough room for those few activities we need to feel complete.  (Ex. I make time every day to run and read life without these two passions has not been worth living.)


Remember this is your time, you have made the choice to spend a lot of it at IC.  If you want to get your full values worth look to balance what you HAVE to do with what you GET to do. There may be things you do not agree with like the “Blueprint,” (most of us have more and a few problems with it) but it does not determine your experiences.  For example, it may pick some of your classes for you, but still you pick what you take away from those classes. Whatever it is you take away, whether it be knowledge or a really good friend, you are the only one who can find it.


Adam E. Enz, from South Jacksonville, Illinois is a junior majoring in Communication and Women & Gender Studies. Adam is the Photo Editor for the Rambler. Adam has enjoyed running for IC Cross Country the last few years as well as working for the IC Archives.


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