An Open Letter to Freshmen

As a senior, I’ve begun to look back at my four years at this university. This is a place that I’ve learned to love and call home. As I reflect upon my experience here, I realized that I’ve accomplished most of what I wanted to while having the time of my life. That being said, I’ve learned quite a few lessons and some things I wish I had known earlier. So to the entire new freshmen class, this is my advice to you:

Yarden at a Club Gymnastics competition
Yarden at a Club Gymnastics competition

Take care of your health: This is bar none, the most important thing in my eyes. Sleep is excruciatingly important for memory, alertness, weight, and overall wellness. One night of poor sleep can lead to days of negative effects. Eat right: nutrients fuel our body, make sure you are eating well-balanced meals, and don’t skip meals. It is detrimental to your well-being and energy levels. Exercise: Find something that works for you. Not everyone wants the typical treadmill workout and that’s completely fine! Try a BodyWise class, or get involved in a fun club that involves physical activity. If none of that is for you, try to walk to class instead of taking the bus! Not only is it good for you, but it’s also beautiful and can be a huge stress reliever after a long day.

Get involved: Whether it’s a sorority or fraternity, a club sports team, an intramural team, an academic club, community service events, a religious group like Hillel or the campus church; it doesn’t matter- just get involved in something! It is a wonderful way to meet people and gives you things outside of class to be a part of.

Grades are important: Coming from high school into college is a huge change in workload for most students.  I know, for me, this was something I particularly struggled with. Make sure you allot time every day to do homework, readings, or some studying. Just a little bit every day will help you succeed.  Also, pay attention in class! You will not believe how much less you have to study before an exam if you paid attention and kept up with your work. College is very fun, and you should enjoy yourself, but don’t forget that school comes first.

Try not to be your own worst enemy:  It is so easy to stress or get anxiety as a test or important deadline approaches. To avoid this, don’t procrastinate; get things done a little at a time. Also, know your worth. A lot of people in this age group, male or female, often put themselves last. You are your number one always, so it is important to act that way and do things that will make you happy.

Try new things:  There are super awesome things available to you all the time. If you have never been rock climbing sign up for the course in the fieldhouse, if you have never been to a football game or a soccer game- GO. These are the things you will regret not going to at least once, so make time for it.

Don’t stress if you’re not positive of what to do with your entire life at 18 years old: You have so much time to figure this out, and so many resources (such as advisors, career fairs, and much more) available at your fingertips. You will figure it out and you will end up doing what you are supposed to be doing- not worth the stress.

Start working on your resume EARLY: When you come in freshman year: it is very likely you will be placed in an FYE course that will require you to build a resume with help of the Center for Career Development. If that is the case, take it seriously. This resource is something I have used as a basis to build upon for the rest of my time here at UConn.  If it is not something you do as part of a class project freshmen year, do it on your own. Take that leap and visit Wilbur Cross yourself. This will help so much in the long run. When you are applying for internships, jobs or grad school down the road you will already have a resume at hand that just needs some touching up to be sent out.

Yarden in Rome during Study Abroad
Yarden in Rome during Study Abroad

Study abroad: If you are like me, and long to see the world- study abroad. I personally went on a 6 week summer trip to Florence, Italy and had the time of my life. Not only did I get to travel all over Italy but I visited Croatia and Spain, too. Not to men

tion the food was to die for! It is the experience of a life time, and I encourage anyone with the slightest interest to jump on the opportunity.

Balance is everything:  Make a little time for everything, get down a routine and make sure you are finding a balance in school work, social life, jobs, etc.

Be kind: This one is pretty self-explanatory, but just be kind to everyone. You will never love everyone in your life, and not everyone will love you. But, it is so important to stay humble and kind. A little kindness goes a very long way- what you put out there is what you will attract in return.

Moral of the story is: Take advantage of everything UConn has to offer and ENJOY. Most of us only do college once, so do it right.