Ellie’s Senior Advice On…
As you enter your first year it feels as if everyone is in a mad dash to grab as many folks as they can to keep as their friends. In the beginning its scary, you want this initial friend group to be the one. Whether it is or it isn’t, know that your network has just begun. I have found that every small interaction throughout my four years at UVM had some of the biggest impacts on the person I grew into. It’s a great opportunity during this time to see how you grow. In my experience, as I figured out who I was I was able to become inseparable with some and amicably grow apart from others. This is one of the best learning opportunities that college gives you. You will grow into who you are socially and find what works for you 🙂
Even before my first day here at UVM I did my research to find myself a job. As a very community oriented person, I was worried that I wouldnt be able to build a network the same way that I was able to in my hometown. I was wrong. If you are looking for money and valuable experience I recommend applying for jobs within UVM. I worked for the Career Center and UVM BORED for all 4 years. Everything I gained from college I owe to these two jobs and the navigational skills I learned. These jobs led to my meeting of different folks within the UVM community who all wanted to help me succeed. Dont be afraid to use your network and your network includes all UVM alumni. My greatest success has been through using linked in as my job finder. I have reached out to hundreds of UVM Alumni in my field and every single one has given me a call full of advice and in some cases a job! Even if you dont need the money, please think about applying for jobs around the burlington area. You will end up gaining more than just money.
I am somewhat of a housing guru. Once you finish your sophomore year you become eligible to live off campus and I highly recommend doing so. Having a kitchen to cook full meals, personal space, and the social scene of downtown is what makes the last two years so memorable. As far as timing goes, folks usually start their housing search EARLY. By early I mean as soon as september of the previous year. There is no right or wrong time to look for an apartment you will be able to find something even if you push it off until May. Connect with a landlord or property manager and they will help find something that works for you. Pro Tip: you dont need to live with your best friends, you should live with friends that have similar lifestyles and social batteries as you do. These come into play far more than how good of friends you are. An honest roommate is a good roommate.
I am the queen of being reckless and and losing my wallet, phone, and keys in one night. So what do you do? You fess up and start to replace. As much as you want to believe that “no one would ever steal your things” and “they will be recovered soon” that just is usually not the case. Wipe your tears, call your bank, and get your life back on track. Losing your things helps you learn how to be proactive, because nobody will do these things for you except for you. Also whoever has my blue patagonia jacket, can I please have it back? Vermont is so cold.
Changing your major:
It’s unfair that we are forced to choose our college major at such an early age. So of course changing your major is normal. What’s tough is changing your major late in your 4 years. My advice is to take as many versatile classes in your first year so you can get a feel for what kind of educational opportunities are out there. If you havent thought of yourself as a science person, take a science class just to try it! Most of these classes will count towards your final degree anyway so experiment as much as you can.
Thinking about transferring
Everyone goes through a “what if” moment. What if I had chosen a different school and had a different experience of saved more money. These are valid feelings and it is important to consider all your options. When I considered transferring I stopped and thought about the reason I chose UVM and why every other option seemed wrong. After those pros and cons went through my head I put in the work to make it happen. Dont forget that there are people you can talk to who have been through a similar process and want to be there for you.
Becoming an independent person:
Laundry, Cooking, and life planning galore! College may not be a perfect example of a “normal” schedule, but it is great practice at establishing some independence and growing into your own. These mundane tasks may seem a little daunting at first, but once you figure out your rhythm and preferences they can have an incredible impact on your day. First of all, let’s establish a morning routine. What time do you want to wake up to maximize your energy and your day. I have found that the earlier I wake up (as hard as it may be) the more energy I can keep throughout my day. After waking up, having some sort of morning activity whether that be meditation, exercise or reading is a great way to keep you out of bed and start to grind your mental gears. Also did I mention that water and other sustenance will keep you awake and energize? Right now im in a hard boiled egg phase, that used to be an oatmeal phase. Now the best piece of advice that I can give you to become an independent person with a proactive schedule is to dress for the day you want to have. If you want to have a professional day filled with interviews and applications, dress in your slacks and blazers. If you want to have an active day, pack your bag with water and snacks and wear weather dependent clothing.
Graduating next week is something I have been looking forward to since I the beginning of high school. As much as I feel as though I have prepared for what lies ahead, I know that there is still so much to learn. Aside from the educational aspects of University I hope you all have experienced as much value in your social development and navigation skills to feel calm and comfortable as the person you are now. Feel free to connect on linkedin 😉