Finding Your Way through Your First Semester of College

  • Go to class. Don’t skip classes, and be there on time. If your grade point average goes down in your freshman year, it can be difficult  to recover.
  • Study and learn.  Remember, that’s why you are going to college. Make your lessons a priority. Find your own little corner to hit the books. It could be a spot in the library, somewhere on the university grounds or right in your dorm room. A Guide: for every one hour in class set aside at least two hours for reading, study, writing papers and taking tests in that course.
  • Become involved in campus activities. You should consider joining a student group or   club on campus. Not only will it help you to make new friends, it will make you feel like you are really a part of a college community.  Consider attending at least one campus event each week – be it a visiting speaker, concert, athletic competition…..
  • Make use of available resources. There are lots of places you can get help and support:
    • The Writing Center
    • The Spencer Center (Study Abroad and Civic Engagement)
    • The Learning Skills Center
    • The Sena Career and Life Planning Center
    • Grafton Library
    • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. That’s why your faculty, academic staff, advisors, and upper class friends and peer advisors are here.
    • Identify a mentor. It is worthwhile to find an upper class friend, staff member or faculty member to help you navigate your first year.
    • Create a healthy balance and be in charge of your own schedule Create a happy medium for your study time and social activities, sleep and rest, and some form of regular exercise.  If you are going to overdo it one way, lean closer to your studies. Relatedly, create your own written, weekly schedule –including not only class meeting times and regular study periods but also work hours, club/sports activities, exercise etc.
    • Be your own advocate. The decisions you make should be your own. There are always consequences: good or bad. Don’t feel pressured to be a part of a clique or to succumb to peer pressure; the mistakes you make are your own. Welcome to “adulthood!”
    • Be wary of sinking into the virtual world (anything from television to texting to gaming to constant on-line communication).  Commit yourself to being in the here and now: talking directly to real people in real time, visiting a variety of campus locations, using the library’s resources sometimes (not just Google and Wiki!), and making one or two connections with a student club or organization.
    • Make full use of Mary Baldwin 101: the Freshman Colloquium and Mary Baldwin 102/103 (the Honors Gateway classes) as well as your Faculty, Peer and Staff Advisors.
      These courses are intended to help you learn about the college and our resources and how you can make the most of your time as a college student.

Dr. Roderic L. Owen,  Faculty Advisor;

Professor, Philosophy & Religion Dept.; Carpenter Academic #302 ; 540-887-7309;

Typical Office Hours: 8:30 am – 11 am MW F and 4 –5 pm M, T, Th