In one of my previous blogs, you may have read how moving to Lycoming College has been a journey of adaptation for me. From discovering the American culture to experiencing my first snow, from taking a class on the US Govt. and Politics to enjoying my first Thanksgiving break, and from leaving my country to making new friends at Lycoming, I would say that I had a great fall semester. As an international student, I learned many things throughout the fall semester, and in this blog I would like to share some of them with you.
1. Get involved as much as you can
The college environment might be new to you, and as a freshman you might hesitate to get involved on campus. However, this shift of environment should not prevent you from living your passion. Maybe you were pursuing an interest in high school, and you’re now looking for a club to continue that passion. At Lycoming, there are over eighty clubs and organizations that you can join. Go to the club meetings, ask questions, get involved, and make a difference in the Williamsport community. By joining these clubs, you will not be only pursuing your interest, but you will also be making connections with people around you. It’s also pretty easy to start a club on campus.
2. Participate in class discussions
At a liberal arts college like Lycoming, you might find yourself in classrooms with seniors or juniors. At first, this situation intimidated me, but as the semester progressed, I soon found myself engaging in discussion with the seniors, be it in my political science class or philosophy class. You should remember that each student is here to learn, and your participation might bring a new perspective to the topics discussed in class. Also, in some classes, class participation might influence our grades. So, you would not want to end up getting a C while you know you deserve better.
3. Take advantage of office hours
The concept of office hours was something new to me. Professors have office hours for students to come and ask questions. Some professors even welcome students for a conversation so that they can know their students better, and maybe counsel them. Knock on the door, and jump in for a nice conversation with your professor.
4. Explore the resources at your college
You should not hesitate to take advantage of the resources the college has for you. At Lycoming, the college has a Writing Center, an International Student Lab, and a Math Center. These academic resources are here for the students. I remember how I hesitated before going to the writing center for the tutor to review my portfolio. I was thinking that the tutors there would be reluctant to review the 20 pages of my portfolio. However, the tutor was glad that I came, and she advised me on how to make my writing better.
5. Spare some time to talk to your parents and friends back home
For many of us, our freshman year is the first time that we are living away from home. As an international student, I am not only away from home, but I am also away from my country. Admittedly, this is hard and there are days when you miss home a lot. That’s why it is important to spare some time to speak to your parents and to your friends. They miss you too, and speaking to them will do good to both parties.
6. Give yourself some time to adjust
It takes time. On the first day, I still remember how I was browsing the airlines’ website to find out the price of the return ticket to Mauritius. Everything was different, and I wondered if I could adjust to this new lifestyle. I gave myself some time, and things started working out. I am still adapting to the differences, but I feel more confident today. I know it takes time, but I am optimistic that I will soon be fully integrated in the community.
7. Do the readings
Your professor will assign readings for topics covered in class. On some days, you may have to read more than one article, excerpts from your textbooks, or some academic papers. If you’re looking at the assigned readings one day before class, you might want to skip them. But that’s not a good idea. Do the readings so that you can participate in class discussions. This will help you better understand the topics discussed in class.
8. Cooking is always useful
Cooking is your savior during the holidays if you’re staying on campus, and you do not want to order food. Cooking is my passion, and at home I would always try new recipes. And today, while I am spending the holidays on campus, that passion proved to be useful. Though all the local spices are not available, I can still make some delicious food.
So, these are some of the things I learned so far. As I continue my journey at Lycoming, I know this list will grow. If you are a high school senior, and you too would like to know what it takes to be a Warrior, visit us. Or, if you know that you want to form part of the Lycoming Class of 2021, apply now!