It seems just like yesterday when I was a freshman entering Temple University. I went to Central High School, which is only a few subway stops north of Cecil B. Moore.
Therefore I did not expect college to be too different from high school, besides a larger campus and harder classes. I would be in the same geographic location I was already in for the past four years, so I expected my next four years to be the same. I was wrong.
After my senior year of high school I accepted to both Temple and Drexel University. I was ready to start at Drexel in the fall as a business major after finishing a summer program there. Things seemed clear, even if I was miserable.
My parents were Bangladeshi immigrants so the most important thing for them was that their only daughter receive a good education which would lead to a stable job on the unfamiliar new land.
My dad, who is a pharmacist was (to say the least) pissed off when I told him I was pulling my application from Drexel and was switching to journalism at Temple. But now, he is my biggest supporter. Hindsight being 20/20 here are some words of wisdom:
1) Major in something you care about. You might choose a major to make your parents proud or to make money and be stable, but unless you are happy none of that matters. Sometimes people will see something in you that you don’t see in yourself. Ask them. Don’t be afraid to put down “undeclared” and take a diversified curriculum to see what you like.
2) Give IH a chance. At first I was annoyed that everyone had to take Intellectual Heritage as a requirement. I didn’t think it would be applicable in my adult life. Later, I found it to be the most important class I have ever taken because it challenged the beliefs I came to college with, and made me more curious about the world.
3) Talk to your adviser. To be a full time student, one needs to take at least 12 credits. But if you want to graduate on time, you should take 16 credits a semester.
4) You will find lifelong friends in the most unlikely people. Give everyone a chance. Professors, classmates, janitors, food vendors or someone from a different culture or mind-set. Temple offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to rub elbows with such a diversity of people. Take advantage of this and break the cultural or generation gap.
5) Before you buy your books, do this: The library often will have many of the books you will need for classes. I used to put down approximately $250 at the beginning of every semester on books until I realized that most of them can be taken out for free at Paley. This works best for liberal arts courses but can be difficult for newer and updated books. Also, look around campus at the flyers on kiosks and on listservs of people selling old books, and by cutting the middleman, you can save a lot of money.
6) Eat at as many food trucks as possible. After you graduate, before you miss your professors or classmates, you will miss going out after class and getting a water ice from Sidique or coffee from Richie’s.
7) See the city. Many people say there is nothing to do in Philly without ever taking the subway out of North Philadelphia.
8) Sleep. I pull at least two all-nighters a week, and although my intention is to get as much work done as possible, I have gone to classes looking and feeling like a complete zombie and not learning anything the next day and forgetting anything I studied the night before.
9) Support Temple events. As students, we have the great opportunity to check out basketball games, musical acts, dance recitals and art exhibits all within seven blocks. Before you complain about not having anything to do, walk out of your dorm room and check out the many bustling activities going on at this campus.
10) In my high school year book, my ending quote was “If it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done.” I think that pretty much summarizes my personality, but I realized that procrastination is the kiss of death, and if you want to do well in school and in life, you should work first and play later.
11) Go the the gym. You’re already paying for it, so why not? Besides, it is a good way to stay fit and relieve stress.