Students, faculty offer their best advice to incoming freshmen, transfers this fall

‘Don’t be afraid to make new friends and make a splash’

Written By Dara Collins, Editor-in-Chief

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Photo by Emma Federkeil
Point Park University is situatated in the middle of Downtown Pittsburgh, a hub for businesses, sports teams and more opportunities for students

There are a number of resources to turn to when looking for advice on how to adjust to college life or a new university. 

Before freshman year, I bought a book called, “Who Moved My Laundry?” by Susan Fitzgerald, MA, and J. Lee Peters, EdD. The front cover promised details on how to survive the first year of college life day-by-day and the ins and outs of freshman year.

I never opened it – and I survived.

Experience is the best teacher, one that can’t be replaced with words between tens or hundreds of pages. The transition from high school to college can’t be taught in a lecture hall or through a diagram and textbook.

Parents can try their best to explain college to their children, but it certainly isn’t the same as it was 20 or 30 years ago.

The best thing to do is get bits and pieces of tips and tricks from students just like you willing to share their wisdom. Luckily, Point Park is chock full of students and faculty with years of useful information.

The Globe has compiled a list of the best advice from current students, graduates and faculty members. Refer to it when feeling unsure, out of place and scared, because the truth is everyone knows or remembers the feelings all too well.

Alex Popichak, Broadcast Production and Media Management

Class of 2018

My best advice is to get involved in everything you can reasonably get involved in. You’ll make amazing, lifelong friends just by getting involved. You’re paying so much for this experience, so looking at your time as an investment that should match your financial investment is going to serve you so well when it comes to landing a job. Also, and this is from being on my own for the past six months, take advantage of everyone being brand new to this thing called college. Yes, it’s scary, but if you look at it as an adventure, you’ll be just fine. Also, write for The Globe.

KacieJo Brown, Advertising and Public Relations

Class of 2019

My advice would be to not be afraid to be yourself, try new things and explore the city. But most importantly, you’re never too important to be kind to your fellow classmates and professors.

Hailie Sandor, SAEM

Transfer Student

Class of 2017

Don’t be afraid to make new friends and make a splash. I was intimidated to really make my mark in the beginning because students already had well-established goals and friend groups. Have the confidence to come in and really showcase your talents from the beginning!

Jryi Davis, SAEM

Class of 2018

Visit the city and explore as much as you can. Find things to do that get you out of your dorm.

Jessica Martin, SAEM Class of 2017

MBA Business Analytics Class of 2019

Be a sponge. Soak up every opportunity and enjoy every second of your time at Point Park.

Nicole Pampena, Journalism

Class of 2019

Don’t rush through college. It’s great to get a head start on your career and definitely don’t pass up opportunities, but don’t forget you have the rest of your life to focus on work. Try not to get caught up in being a “sophomore by credit” or “junior by credit” because I did that and would kill to have enjoyed a full year of just being a freshman or sophomore. Hustle in your classes. Go out on the weekends. Have coffee for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Be a college student while you still are one.

Bryana Appley, SAEM

Class of 2021

Don’t be shy and get to know your professors and classmates. I know, I know college is intimidating. New environment, new people. However, the more you reach out to your professors and upper-classmates the more you will learn and grow. Of course it’s going to be scary at first, as every new encounter is. But you will thank yourself later for the connections you’ve made. 

Step outside your comfort zone. Don’t ever be afraid to challenge yourself and take on new experiences. Taking a risk and trying something new will always be one of the best decisions you will make for yourself, especially when discovering all of the endless options of your future career has to offer. 

Go on adventures! One thing I regret doing freshman year is not venturing further than our campus. Use the city! Our location is downtown and centrally located for a reason. Make the best of your time here by exploring all aspects Pittsburgh has to offer, and align yourself with businesses and organizations that you are passionate about!

Always stop by the lunch at the cafeteria on Tuesdays – Taco Tuesdays! No explanation. Tacos are the best invention of mankind.

Reach out if you need anything! I’d love to be a resource to you. Feel free to reach me anytime.

Nate Wilder, MFA Writing for Screen and Stage

Class of 2020

Let yourself go! Push yourself out of your comfort zone, try everything! These few years are the only time you get to go high risk/high reward. If you don’t do it today, you’ll regret tomorrow. Chase that internship. Work on that creative project. Dye your hair a crazy color. Just enjoy yourself!

Pack light and stay organized. You’ll be blown away by how much stuff you accumulate at the end of the year. There’s nothing worse than packing up your car and realizing you don’t have room for half your stuff!

Be financially cognizant. Save as much as you can, but still treat yourself from time to time. Time flies, especially that six month student loan grace period. Give yourself the financial leeway to make big moves down the line.

Keith Paylo, Dean of Students and VP of Student Affairs

As Dean of Students, I welcome you all to Point Park University. My advice to all freshmen and transfer students during your transition to the next stage of your lives is to just “soak it in!” Enjoy the newness of the experience and enjoy, what will be, one of the most exciting times of your lives. Make Point Park University your own. Make a difference at “your” university! Get involved in as much as you can, and I promise you that it will pay off in ways that you could never imagine. And finally, get to know as many people as possible. We are all here to help make this the best experience possible, so get to know people that can support and get you to the next stage of your life. I can’t wait to meet each and every one of you. Congratulations on choosing Point Park University. You have made a great choice!”

Michael Geiseke, Dean of Student Life

For Transfers: We want you to think of Point Park as your home away from home. Get involved! Stay on campus between classes! I promise we have everything you need to “hang out with us” and get involved in all that the campus has to offer.

For the freshmen: College is a journey; it is a marathon. It is not a sprint. The point being, take your time. You don’t need to do everything in the first semester. It is okay to take a semester to “settle in.”

The Globe promotes Popichak’s last piece of advice with the utmost enthusiasm, but the staff stands by every other piece of advice as well.

This university is now yours as much as ours. Welcome to Point Park University.

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