Your first year at McDaniel has arrived, class of 2018! To help you make the best of it, check out these tips on how to navigate academics and college life from current McDaniel students and recent alumni.
Get involved in some activities pretty early. Even if you feel like there’s not much to do in the surrounding area, clubs and activities will help the time pass and help you make friends!
—Rachel Staub, Senior
You’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. College is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. It’s a HUGE change from high school. However, change is good, so roll with the punches, know that you have like THE BIGGEST support group behind you made up of family and friends back home, professors, other staff, and the friends you’ll make here. But most of all, HAVE FUN. You only get one freshman year—use it wisely, but don’t forget the fun.
—Josh Harding, Junior
Always stay on top of all your tasks and deadlines to complete. You will absolutely regret it if you leave things for last minute.
—Sol Camanzo, Senior
Get your hands on the chocolate cake at the beginning of the week. It’s most delicious then.
—Sammi Stair ‘14
Your GPA is accumulative, so your grades early on will have the biggest impact. So I guess, like, try not to [screw] up freshman year because it will be really hard to recover. Likewise, if you get stellar grades during your first year, you’ll give yourself some padding against the occasional lapse in the future.
—Ed Lasher ‘12
Try everything. Do stuff you didn’t do in high school. Take strange classes, and ones that are outside your major. Have at least one conversation outside of class with EVERY professor you have.
—Ana Salverda ‘13
Be as social as possible. If you get out of your room and go have fun and do whatever it is you like to do, you will easily make a million friends.
—Julia Jacobs, Senior
If you need help with something, seek help. Sometimes people have trouble adjusting freshman year, and rather than floundering and finding yourself in deep academic trouble, get your professors and advisors on board, and let them know that you’re not just slacking. If you’re really struggling, they can advocate for you. Nobody wants to see you fail.
—Amelia Zecker, Senior
Study broadly and without hesitation. Learn a skill if you can, because that will make your life more interesting. Read the primary literature. Most importantly, surround yourself with people who you like and make stuff with them. In the end, what you do isn’t going to be nearly as interesting or important as who you do it with. Create, create, create.
—Zach Royal, Senior
You will always need more spoons than you think you will.
—Andrea Briggs ‘14
Find time to enjoy and laugh. It’ll come in handy when papers piles up and homework seems to never end. Taking time even a few minutes a day to just laugh and be in the moment helps more than anything to keep going on strong.
—Kyla Greenhorn ‘14
Editors’ Note: Some responses have been edited for clarity.