If I knew then what I know now…

Freshman Abby…Wow, that sounds scary. When I was a freshman coming to Auburn, I was just so ready to get away from my hometown. Some devastating things went on my senior year, and I just needed to get out. It was the best thing for me to do. I moved to Auburn as soon as possible the summer before freshman year. I did A LOT of partying early on. I just wanted to let loose and have fun, which ended up being a terrible idea. That semester I went on academic probation, which I quickly pulled myself out of, but still, it was poor decision making on my part. I chose to go out every night rather than spend any time on my studies. In fact, I don’t think I even knew what the library was until sophomore year. Needless to say, I think it is important to enjoy your freshman year and to embrace it. However, I think it is so, so important to find a balance. I wish I had set up a reward system for myself and for every assignment of five that I got done, I could go out with my friends.

Something that I am so thankful that I did all throughout college was take summer classes. For me, school is a challenge, so taking 18-20 hours a semester was just out of the question. So, I took summer classes every single summer. I would take an average of 15 hours during the regular semesters, and during the summer, I would take one or two classes. This helped me stay on track and get to graduation on time. I would most certainly recommend summer classes to anyone. They are not very time-consuming and you are still able to enjoy your summer while also being productive.

Another thing that I am so glad I did and that I would recommend to other is studying abroad. My study abroad experience was so amazing to me. I participated in a short-lived study abroad, but it was so awesome. It was an eye-opening experience and exposed me to new cultures that I was previously curious about. I saw some beautiful world attractions that are on everyone’s bucket list. It was a great experience, and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to do it.

Joining student organizations seems really exciting freshman year and so you join all of these clubs and organizations and then you just forget that you’re in them. Don’t worry, I did this very thing. I learned junior year, though, that getting involved, especially within your major, can be so beneficial and rewarding. I joined PRSSA during my junior year and became an officer within a few months. It has been so worth it. I have made some amazing connections and friends. I have gotten to go to awesome conferences and attend regularly scheduled networking luncheons. It is so worth it to get involved and it looks great on your resume as well.

I hate to say it but when you are in college people often expect you to be an adult. Therefore, people rarely stress to you the importance of internships. I wish so badly that I had started doing internships freshman year. I did manage to have two internships, which is more than many students, but I wish I had more under my belt. Internships and experience are crucial to finding a job following college. If you do not have experience, then employers probably are not going to be all that interested. So, I want to stress to any freshman reading this, get AS MANY internships as you possibly can before graduation!

My best college memories honestly just include hanging out with my friends on the weekends and having pool days in the summer. Now that my time here is over, it feels like I should have so much more time left here to do things and spend more time with the people I have grown close to. Your college years will fly by and it will be scary at the end, but you will do fine and be successful.

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