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11 Things I Wish I Knew As A Penn State Freshman

Entering your freshmen year of college can be overwhelming. From classes, to dorms, to making new friends - there's a lot of different things to think about. But Smeal Student Mentors are here to help give you advice so you don't make the same mistakes we did!

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1. Get to know the people on your floor and in your building

Living with a bunch of new people can seem scary, but everyone else is in the same exact position you're in - a college freshmen looking to make friends! Leave your door open for the first couple of weeks so people can stop by and say hello. You never know who you're going to meet!

2. Be sure to bring snow boots, rain boots, and an umbrella

The weather in Happy Valley is incredibly unpredictable. One minute you're about to walk into class and the next minute, it's pouring rain. It's always a good idea to be prepared!

3. Meal points are accepted everywhere on campus

Yes, everywhere! You can use your meal points at the Creamery, Beaver Stadium, the HUB, or any of the convenience stores. Be sure to be mindful of your balance and to not spend it all in one place!

4. Download the PSU Fitness app

The freshmen 15 can be a very real thing so it's important to stay healthy! The PSU Fitness app shows how many people are currently at each gym and also gives a schedule of all available fitness classes.

5. Stay on top of your schoolwork

It's important to look at your syllabi and keep track of all assignments/exams in a planner. No one is there to remind you about upcoming deadlines so be sure to be mindful about it!

6. Map out all of your classes

Penn State has an extremely large campus so it's very easy to get lost. Planning out on a map where your classes are will make the commute less stressful! (Google Maps even has all of the campus buildings built in)

7. Wait until Syllabus Week to purchase your textbooks

Unless your professor requires you to have your textbook on the first day of class (most don't), it's worth waiting until that first week to buy your books. Sometimes teachers will say that the book is optional or that you can purchase an older, cheaper version. Waiting can save a ton of money!

8. Attend the involvement fair

The involvement fair is held during the first few days of each semester. Each day, hundreds of different clubs are displayed and students have the opportunity to learn more about them. It's a great and efficient way to see which clubs may interest you!

9. Get familiar with Angel/Canvas and LionPath

Angel is a website that you'll use practically every day for your classes. This is where teachers post lecture powerpoints, assignments, and quizzes. A lot of professors will start using Canvas this upcoming semester (same idea as Angel, but a different format) so be on the lookout for that! LionPath is a website used for your degree audit, financial information, and for class scheduling. Every Penn State website is important so it will be very useful to get accustomed to them as early as possible!

10. Utilize Penn State Learning

Penn State Learning is located in the Boucke Building, across from the HUB. They provide tutoring and study groups for classes such as Math, English, and Foreign Language. And it's completely free!

11. Talk to your Smeal Student Mentor!

Smeal Student Mentors are students, just like you, that were in your position not too long ago. They have knowledge about classes, clubs, hot spots on campus, and so much more! Consider them your first friend in Smeal - they are here to help you with whatever you need!

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