Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Advice to new students: find your passion

Sept. 3, 2014

By Vesna Brajkovic

The four years of high school leading up to one of the most anticipated milestones of a person’s life, the first day of college, should have prepared students for a seamless transition. But is anyone truly prepared to be a freshman again in a brand-new environment?

University life can take students on a multitude of different journeys, and there’s no “right” way to start that journey. But there are certain things that most people finishing their college career agree on: get involved, find your niche and stay passionate.


From ‘The Commuting Peer Mentor’


Senior Amelia Clark has been  commuting to Whitewater from Elkhorn since her freshmen year. Throughout her college career, Clark has become involved on campus by becoming a peer mentor and going Greek. But she said she didn’t always have her place.

As a freshmen, Clark said that she would drive to campus for her classes and then leave right away.

“I didn’t have many new friends, and I didn’t do anything,” she said. “I really wish I would have known more about campus and all it has to offer sooner than I did.”

In order to get involved, and feel more connected to campus, she interviewed to become a peer mentor and landed the job her sophomore year.

Peer mentors are UW-W student leaders who are assigned to a group of new students during their first semester. Their job is to answer questions and help students adjust to life on campus.

After her freshmen year, Clark eventually established herself and even joined a sorority, which opened up many other opportunities.

She said that she encourages others to participate in anyway they can, whether it’s through a club, or by joining a sorority.

“Get involved. You’re going to find some things that interest you, and you’re going to connect with people that do the same,” Clark said. “They’ll be your connecting link, and they’ll be your support system. You will meet so many people that you can rely on, and that can rely on you. You will meet your best friends on campus if you get involved.”


From ‘The RA, Hawk Squad Leader’


As a first-generation college student, senior Jordan Moncivaiz didn’t know what to expect as a freshman entering UW-Whitewater. He described himself as timid and nervous being in such a new environment on his own.

But he quickly outgrew that phase and is now very active on campus as a resident assistant in the Arey/Benson/Lee Triplex and as a Hawk Squad Leader.

Moncivaiz’s adjustment came soon after he joined the Leadership Involvement Team (LIT), which allowed him feel like he belonged on campus. He said he encourages others to do the same and get involved and get to know people.

“You have to go out there and make those first connects with people,” he said. “Network with people because it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.”

Moncivaiz said getting involved, networking and building your resume is really important even when you’re first starting out.

“That’s how you make your college experience fun. You’re not going to get that experience you want by sitting in your room, doing homework, and watching TV and that’s it,” he said. “You have to go out and join organizations and start finding those life-long relationships that will have a positive impact on your life here in college.”

As you find your niche in college, opportunities may start to unfold. Moncivaiz suggests bringing something many freshmen forget to put on their closet checklist: dress clothes. He said they might come in handy for interviews and other special occasions that may arise.


From ‘The Academic Advisor’


Every freshman is assigned to a freshmen academic advisor to assist them in signing up for classes and getting adjusted.

As an academic advisor and New Student Seminar teacher, Marcia Pedriana hears her fair share of freshmen questions.

Some of the most common concerns freshmen have when they enter her office are about their intended major.

Pedriana said many of her advisees haven’t spent much time exploring career options or what field of study they would like to pursue. And although college is a time to experiment, a decision has to be made eventually.

“Treat the decision making process like a job or one of your classes,” she said. “Set specific goals to accomplish, such as talking with faculty or someone with that profession. Lastly, I tell students to learn to trust their instincts and pick something that truly excites you.”

Pedriana emphasizes the importance of being passionate and using campus resources.

“College is not a “more advanced” high school; college is very different and more demanding,” she said. “Be engaged with the subject matter you are studying and the communities in which you reside (both on and off campus). Take full advantage of all that college has to offer.”

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Founded 1901
Advice to new students: find your passion