Oct 18, 2021
I Wish I Knew What I Know Now When I was a [Freshman]
As campuses are opening up again and we leave the isolation of our dorm rooms behind us, GrasshoppHer invited the community to step into old shoes and give advice to their younger selves entering campus for the first time. What we got back was valuable and insightful.
David Grillo
3 min. read

Do not fall prey to imposter syndrome. College is an identity-forming experience. It is where you grow as a person and get exposed to different ways of thinking and being in the world. It changes you, it re-orients you, it breaks you down and builds you back up again, but this process can be really difficult at first. You may feel like you do not belong and, even worse, like you lack the talent to succeed. Even the most dedicated student has felt this way. But do not let it shake your confidence. That is the confidence to speak up in class, take a calculated risk with your writing or assignments, and build relationships with professors and peers. This confidence is also the motor for staying engaged in class and in your studies. So, do not fall prey to imposter syndrome, because more than likely, the other students are feeling the same way. - David Grillo, Senior at Columbia University and Intern at GrasshoppHer

Find your niche. You will be given a buffet of classes, subjects to choose from, and they will all seem worth your while, and you're going to want to dive into them all. If you have this kind of enthusiasm, run with it, but also be aware that eventually, you are going to have to narrow that down and find your discipline, that certain crevice in the academic landscape where you feel at home. - Erica Metzler, Transfer Student and Junior at Columbia University

Be open to new subjects that you'd never even thought of. Try to get a brief idea of the subject area(s) before committing to a semester-long course of study. Ask people about what they study and why it's interesting/important. - Rosemary Ampuero Jacobs, Project Manager at Fair Trade and Mentor at GrasshoppHer  

Try to have a diverse group of friends from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. Don't worry about being popular - if you do what you love doing and are passionate and knowledgeable, you will be popular with the people who should matter in your life. Assume that everyone has something valuable to share with you and you with them because they do. -Will Sheard, Graduate Student at the University of Central Florida

Have an understanding of how the loan system works and ask about/research funding opportunities. Do not assume that scholarships are super competitive - faculty have told me in the past that some scholarships receive remarkably few applicants (probably because so many people assume they could never get them!). - Shweta Patro - Marketing Analyst at Optum 

Education is the one thing people cannot take from you. It's so important- whether it's a trade, a skill, or a degree. The name on the diploma you seek is a fancy paint job… it's all about the experiences you had getting to that point. It's what is under the hood of that car that tells the truth. It's up to you how your college experience will be- just because it's UCLA doesn't mean that it's going to be better than a Cal State… follow the money- go to where you can afford… There is no reason to go 100k in debt for a degree that may not even land you a job. Want to learn something new? Go to a community college- it's affordable, it's accessible, and it's genuine. - Jeremy Patrich, Full-time Geology Professor at College of the Canyons