Back in time: advice seniors would tell their freshmen selves

Blugold seniors reflect on lessons learned throughout their college experience

More stories from Faith Hultman


Photo by Faith Hultman

Left to right: Isaac Redinger, Adam Terrell, and Ariel Yang contemplate what they would tell their freshmen selves.

For some first-year students, beginning college is like setting sail on uncharted waters. Leaving home and planning for the future might be overwhelming, but college is nothing if not a learning experience.

As graduation season arrives and as Blugold seniors prepare to leave UW-Eau Claire this spring to begin new adventures, they shared some advice for their past selves.

When asked what pieces of advice they would tell themselves on their first day of college, seniors definitely had something to say. From heartwarming to humorous, here are some gems of wisdom college has taught Eau Claire seniors.

Savannah Markee is a special education student who has learned to welcome the awkwardness that comes with meeting new people.

“Embrace awkward conversations with people, because then they will remember you,” Markee said.

“One bad exam isn’t a big deal, neither are three bad exams,” Markee said. “Wait to sign a lease until you know for sure that you actually like the people you’re going to be living with.”

Communication, sciences and disorders student Adam Terrell said he has not been on the roof of every building on campus, but he wanted his freshman self to know it’s possible.

“It is possible to have gone on the roof of all the buildings,” Terrell said.

“Put your cookies through the toaster in the caf,” Terrell said. “It’s worth the risk.”

“Do something in the community outside of campus,” Terrell said. “Volunteer at the humane society or something.”

Isaac Redinger, a social work student said he would tell his freshman self that after over three years he still will not have gone tubing in the river.

“Be completely present with who you are in each season of life,” Redinger said. “If you want someone to seriously invest in your life then you have to ask them.”

Dani Borglum is an elementary education student who has learned not to give into peer pressure.

“Just because your roommate is doing something doesn’t mean you have to,” Borglum said.

She would also tell herself not to skip lunch just to avoid eating alone.

“Sitting alone in the caf does not make you a loser,” Borglum said.

“Don’t be afraid to reach out to people just because they’re not reaching out to you,” Borglum said.

Social work student Ron Mader wanted his freshman self to know homework isn’t the most important part of the college experience.

“Make time to invest in other people while you’re here, that can be equally as important,” Mader said

“Meet as many people as possible,” Mader said.

“Lower your expectations for the caf,” Mader said.

Elementary education student Julia Stedman said she’d tell herself reaching out to meet new friends is worth it.

“Don’t say no to opportunities even if you think they won’t be fun,” Stedman said.

“Just because you’re involved in a lot of things doesn’t mean school is going to be stressful,” Stedman said. “Every project will get done, every paper will get written.”

Ariel Yang, a social work student, said it’s okay not to know everything.

“Slow down,” Yang said. “The one thing that will always be better than loving yourself is loving others.”

College can mean new experiences, learning and growth. One thing is for certain as Blugold seniors prepare to begin a fresh adventure; there was no shortage of things their first-year selves didn’t know.