What I Wish I Knew

Written By Kellie Murphey

The days of dorm life finally settle and become the norm as the class of 2015 begins to make their first footprints on campus. But before settling into the classical college student schedule, the upperclassmen at Point Park University have a few words from the wise to offer.”As a freshman, I really wish I knew how to handle situations better with roommates, with people, with classes, with scheduling, everything,” Brenton Dorsey said, a junior sport, arts and entertainment management major.Dorsey is probably not alone. Professors and other administration are right by students’ sides when it comes to handling rocky situations. Talking to professors can be much help and remove a lot of unnecessary stress. When in doubt, make an appointment with an advisor, who can be a number one source concerning classes and scheduling. Having some reassurance on future goals can be the exact push that is needed to go in the right direction.  They may even become favorites, and begin to appear frequently when scheduling week comes around.”Find a few teachers you really like, and take them for everything,” secondary education major Stanley Yip said. “They’ll usually teach most courses in their field, so it won’t be difficult.”But even though scheduling might not be difficult, taking the classes will be. Having a packed schedule is not supposedly easy, and some students find it difficult to balance homework.”Just because you only have [those teachers] twice a week doesn’t mean you don’t need to get your homework done right when they give it to you, because then you end up procrastinating forever. I still do it,” sophomore psychology major Sarah Brickett said.Procrastinating homework can lead to a mess. Homework will get backed up, activities and clubs will become a second thought, and suddenly it is hard to find any “me” time in between the chaos.”I wish I knew the best way to balance your schedule … just stuff all of your classes into one day. Just fill up your Mondays and Wednesdays and that leaves three days of the week open, and then you have the weekend,” senior dance major Sean McIntyre said. According to McIntyre, having a lot of free hours between classes can easily go to waste, and a whole extra day of class can be added because of it. Shoving all classes back to back into two or three days seems to provide with much better results, and much more free time. “It will allow you to balance your life a lot better. It took me until junior year to realize that,” McIntyre said.Along with balancing classes comes balancing money. Each class a student takes requires one, if not two or three, textbooks.  Sooner or later it is easy to realize how expensive buying books can become.”Buy books online,” Yip said.Buying books from the book store on campus can run a student’s bill up to around $300 per semester. Buying books online can be a much cheaper option. A $300 bill can be knocked down to less than $100. It can be even less if a student waits until classes have started to buy them. “Never buy your books in advance, because some teachers just say they’re not using the books,” psychology major Shane Pasquinelli said.There’s also no need to worry about getting the books right away. Usually, books will be shipped from amazon.com, halfpricebooks.com and chegg.com within a week, and students can track their order online to make sure they are being shipped correctly.”You probably won’t need your books until around two weeks in anyway,” Brickett said. In the meantime, while waiting for books to arrive, freshmen have time to learn their new day-to-day schedules. However, being a freshman commuter having a day-to-day schedule becomes a much more difficult process.For a university that is so commuter friendly, many students agree that being a freshman commuter is much more difficult than dorm life.  According to Crawford, many freshman commuters go to class and go home straight afterward. But this does not have to be the case.There are plenty of organizations freshmen can get involved in. With everything from Confluence Psychology Alliance to United Student Government, clubs appeal to a plethora of interests. Even if there is not a club that sparks an interest, students can make one themselves.However, freshmen must use caution when spending too much time on campus. A common mistake made by lower and upperclassmen alike is staying in the Point Park bubble. And by bubble, one means Wood Street and Boulevard of the Allies.Setting aside an hour in the day’s schedule to get to know the area can end up being extremely helpful for many reasons. Students can find the best restaurants to eat, the location of bus stops or even the closest grocery store to stock their dorms.  Getting a feel for the surrounding neighborhoods can also provide students with a great place for off-campus living. Oakland and the North Shore are major areas that college students decide to call home. “If you’re going to live in Oakland, which a lot of people do, find the best deals for houses there and don’t get ripped off,” said SAEM major David Wilson.