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By PL Yanez, junior bioinformatics major

PL Yanez I made many mistakes in my freshman year. Here are some things I learned that I definitely wish I had known when I started college.

Get Involved

One of the biggest mistakes I made in freshman year was not participating in any clubs. I can’t blame anyone else, I was just lazy. It took me a while to realize that St. Thomas is a small school, so it is relatively easy for a student to get involved with a club or school organization. I also found out that it is easy to get a job at school, that is, if you apply yourself. As evidence of all of these points, I now work in the library, at the front desk of the residence hall and in one of the labs as a teacher’s assistant. I am also an RA, an SGA senator and a member of a biology honor society. Trust me, it is easy to get involved in St. Thomas.

Embrace diversity

I wish I had embraced the cultural diversity on campus during my freshman year. I went to a small, white, Catholic high school, so I had this prejudice of being friends with a person who is not white. Because of this mindset, I refused to join the Filipino club, even though I am Filipino myself. Sooner or later, I realized that one of the best aspects of St. Thomas is its student diversity. Freshmen: embrace the beauty of the UST diversity. Be open to everyone. You never know where you can feel at home until you open yourself to everyone around you. Be friendly to everyone.

Be active

I also completely disregarded sports during the first semester of my freshman year. I highly advise freshmen to keep playing the sports you played in high school, or at least keep exercising, and if you can, participate in intramurals and get involved with a sports club. I still can’t believe how much I secluded myself from so many activities and people that I enjoy today. If I’m not working, you can find me on the basketball court balling with my bros.

Studying is important

Oh and don’t forget to study. I thought I could get all A’s easily like I did in high school, without studying. I was very, very wrong. If you are a wait-til-the-last-minute student, you are going to fail unless you are a genius (which I would be willing to bet you are not).

I could have used this insight in my freshman year and been much happier and more involved much quicker. I wish someone told me about it all before my first day of college. Here I am now, telling you what I wish I knew then. Take my advice: Participate in all the events, be a bro, embrace diversity and exercise.

About the Author — StThomasHouston

The University of St. Thomas is the only Catholic, liberal arts university in Houston, Texas. We have 35+ undergraduate majors including STEM, Nursing, Business, Education and Pre-Med. Located in a vibrant urban environment just minutes from downtown and the famed Texas Medical Center, we welcome students of all races and religions to our diverse and collaborative campus.

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