OPINION: Advice to freshmen

Isaac Martin, Political Contributor

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If you want to fish well, talk to a champion fisher. If you want better grades and to stand out when you graduate, talk to outstanding students. Without a doubt, Oakland University alumnus Nick Walter (criminal justice, ‘16)  fits that description. Before graduating and entering Arizona State University’s law school, this Golden Grizzly was both a presidential scholar and the student body president. He has some words of wisdom for those of you just joining us at OU.


Better grades

“Schedule everything,” Walter said. “Use Google Calendar or some other electronic calendar religiously. Every single activity, class, work, parties, should be scheduled, with reminders based on how much preparation you need to do for that activity. You will be amazed at how much more you can do when you are keeping careful track of exactly where you need to be at any given time.”

A recent study by Elevate Education reveals two common practices among excellent students that confirms Walter’s advice. The study, conducted over 13 years on top students in the U.S., U.K., Australia and South Africa, discovered that these students intentionally schedule time to do things they love. 

The second thing this study found is best summarized by Chad Scribner (pre-med, ‘19), another presidential scholar at Oakland.

“Stay focused,” he urged, don’t let other students distract you from your goals.”


Prepare for the future

At Oakland, you have access to a wealth of opportunities to enhance your career and get a leg up on your competition.

Chad says several resources to keep in mind are Career Services, the Writing Center and professors. All of which are free of charge.

Chad would also “highly recommend everyone visit Career Services as soon as possible to maximize their chances at internships and networking opportunities.” 

“Take advantage of your Career Services resources,” said Jonathan Moy, a Washington Crossings Scholar at Hillsdale College (political economy, ‘18). “They give you an edge over other students when you’re applying for jobs or internships or post-grad education.”

This strategy seems to have worked for Moy. He has landed several internships – including two in Washington D.C.


Invaluable internships

This is what Moy had this to say about internships:

“Jump at them. A lot of times these internships are paid, but even the unpaid ones can teach you a lot. They really help to define your career path and they demonstrate initiative on your resume. Also, a lot of times there will be internships where you think you’re qualified and you end up not getting the position.”

Moy’s takeaway from these disappointments? Don’t get discouraged; keep applying.

“Don’t be afraid to stretch yourself too,” he added. “You might  get accepted after all.”  


A good college experience

Moy also has a unique perspective on the college years having interviewed dozens of college alumni for his school. He says that “the biggest thing alumni tell me is ‘You’re only in college for four years. Make the best use of it”

This is important to remember. Our college years are short. We mustn’t waste them. We need to remember the things that got us to this point: hard work, perseverance and determination.

I would encourage you, as you venture into the new school term, study hard, stay focused, and be balanced! I am looking forward to seeing you on campus this fall!