Seidenberg Survival Strategies for Freshmen, Part 3

Classes have officially begun, so you might be feeling some of that stress underneath the excitement of starting college. If so, we have more survival tips for your sake. If you’re just now catching on to this trendy survival guide, follow these links to Part 1 and Part 2. And now, without further ado, strategy number 5:

5. G E T   T H R I F T Y   W I T H   T E X T B O O K S

Something you will notice when classes start is that 1) you’re already late on ordering textbooks 2) wow, there are a lot more books to buy than you expected and 3) these books are hella expensive. Instead of ignoring the issue altogether and not ordering books at all (thus creating a larger issue due to the fact that you will need books at some point)*, dig around a little before buying your books from the campus bookstore (sorry, Barnes and Noble). The designated campus bookstore, no matter which school you’re going to, has, can, does, and always will gyp you on book prices. Sure you can sell it back at the end of the semester….for about 2% of what you paid. An easier way to go about book buying is to Google the ISBN number you’ve been given and compare prices. Most often Chegg and Amazon have the best deals on text books. Used books are a godsend and free shipping is easy to come by if you (or a friend) have Amazon Prime (students can get a free 6 month trial, by the way).

Another thing to remember when it comes to saving on textbooks is that older students are probably eager to get rid of books they don’t need anymore. Check out forums or groups online (you’ll find most of those on Facebook these days) to see if anyone has made a post saying they have books for sale. If you can’t find the books you need in other posts, make your own post saying which books you’re looking to buy. This can be a little less reliable, but it’ll probably be the cheapest way when things work out.

* There are times when you will be told to buy a book for a class, but the professor will never mention it again and you will never need it. This usually happens in Gen-Ed/Core classes that everyone must take. Those classes will have an automated system that posts which books are needed, whether or not the professor intends to use them. For these classes, we suggest waiting until you have a syllabus or asking around about the professor you have to see if you’ll be needing the book. Nothing hurts the wallet more than buying a book you’ll never crack, especially when you realize it too late and the book store buys it back for 5$.


6.  S A F E T Y

Last but not least, no one wants you to die during your freshman year. Okay, death does not happen all that often, but there are ways to avoid stupid mistakes that could injure or maim yourself and others. NYC is a place that does not cater to the careless or hesitant and keeping a keen eye on your surroundings is essential. First of all, traffic here is unrelenting. Cars, bikers, and pedestrians all think the city revolves around them and in their hasty lifestyles, they do not have time to short-stop each time someone isn’t paying attention. Anticipate the traffic around you to avoid collisions.

Another unavoidable issue for Freshmen is substance abuse. Everyone is exposed to the experimental environment that is Freshman Year of College.  If you’re participating, take it little by little. There have been many cases where freshmen try too many things in too little time and their bodies cannot handle it, if you get the drift, here.

NYC is also home to many people who will nick your belongings if you’re not being careful. The issue is blown out of proportion by the media and non-New Yorkers, yes, but it does happen often enough to still be a problem. Some people still go as far as keeping two wallets with them, one empty and one with their necessities. This way, any pickpockets or thieves are likely to take an empty wallet, which is definitely preferable to having all your cards and money stolen. We believe the most important thing is to have caution in crowded areas. Any pickpockets are going to have their eyes on people on the other side of a crowded train, or in front of them on a crowded sidewalk. In the rush that accompanies a large crowd, pickpockets have it easy if you’re not careful. Headphones will make you an easier target. Sunglasses will make you a more difficult target. But overall, being alert is going to be the most effective protection against theft.

This list could go on and on, but the semester has started and you’ll be learning so many new things that only these essentials will be necessary to learn. Hopefully you are all able to wean some sort of wisdom from those of us who have experienced Freshman year and made it out alive and well with good grades and good friends. Most of all we wish you luck with these first few months of the rest of your lives.



Seidenberg Survival Strategies for Freshmen: Part 1

You’ve got two weeks before your college career begins. Here come your golden years, your taste of reality, your time to make something of yourself, the time to find your most influential friends and mentors. No pressure.

In all honesty, people put SO much pressure on making sure that they enjoy college as much as possible that they forget to enjoy the joy of it. Seidenberg’s advice: take it easy. This is just the next four years of the rest of your life. They’re going to be great by default, mostly because you’ll be doing brand new things with brand new people in a brand new place. However, here’s something people often forget about college: it’s a place for education. Ultimately, that’s the goal here. We’re all here to learn, whether it’s in class or through experience. A lot of freshmen get overwhelmed with this brand new life they’re given.

We Seidenbergers have accumulated a list of tips for freshmen, especially those coming to NYC, and even more especially, those who will be at Pace, and even more especially, those who will be in Seidenberg. Just follow these guidelines to keep your head on during the initial rush and don’t over think the college experience; you will be fine.

1. T I M E   M A N A G E M E N T

Time moves differently in college. By differently, I mean it’s faster and much more erratic. Your days will be random and less routine than they were in high school; classes aren’t blocked together neatly and your parents won’t be around to take your blanket or turn on the light when you’ve pressed your alarm’s snooze button for the 6th time. Don’t count on a room mate to wake you up either–that strategy has proven itself to be a massive failure.

To avoid snoozing through your AM classes, invest in a good alarm clock (a phone works) with a tone you won’t sleep through. Even better, if you’re prone to snoozing, set your alarm to the most obnoxious noise available. Your room mate or someone on your hall is bound to come banging on your door eventually to wake you up.

Since classes in college are generally once or twice a week, deadlines are sneaky little things. You won’t have your teachers reminding you every day in class like they may have in high school. If your professor remembers to remind you in class, you still may only get one or two reminders before and exam or a large assignment is due. Keep a calendar or agenda or planner and make sure it’s organized. Getting into the habit of using it and checking it may take a while, but you’ll be thankful when you realize you have a 5 page paper due and an exam the next time you see your professor. Procrastination is going to happen no matter what (unless you’re magical), so having an agenda or a calendar will ease some of the pain. You’ll at least be able to plan your social events around your busy study nights if you can’t pace yourself throughout the week.


2. M A K E  C O N N E C T I O N S

Besides the obvious–to go into college with an open mind–we Seidenbergers strongly advise you to connect with a professor (or any faculty member, really) within your first semester. It would be best to pick someone from your department, but sometimes you may hit it off with a professor from one of your electives and that relationship can be just as valuable. However, we add to that advice: if you can help it, choose a tenured member of the faculty. Adjunct professors can be great, but their loyalties can be spread out around the city and their time on campus can be limited–ergo limiting. If you choose someone who is well-knitted into the Pace community, your connection can expand into a network.

It can be a bit daunting to approach a professor, especially if you don’t want to feel like a suck-up but let us assure you, professors appreciate it. They are there to aid your education and sometimes, in the long run, a healthy relationship with a professor will help him or her out equally as much as it’ll help you. To make a connection, it can be as simple as sending your professor an email regarding something he or she has worked on, or hanging around after class to expand on a discussion topic from class. Getting to know a professor will help you understand how he or she responds to your work (this is extremely helpful if he or she is reading and grading your essays) and vise versa. If you’re on friendly terms with a professor, you might even be able to reason with him or her out of a poor grade. Good luck trying to do that if you’ve never spoken to them outside of the classroom setting.

Another important thing about getting close with a professor (or two, if you can) within the first semester: recommendations! It is not unlikely that you will start applying to internships and jobs for spring and summer after your first months in college. Most internships require recommendations, so having a go-to professor makes that ordeal a lot less stressful. Plus, the better a professor knows you, the less generic his or her recommendation will be.

More survival strategies coming soon; we’ll give you the deets on how to make friends with upperclassmen and how to get the most out of your Seidenberg experience. Keep checking in!

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