Welcome to Virginia Union University, Class of 2022!

Written by Katlynn Sawyer ’20

Greetings, Fellow Unionites! My name is Katlynn Sawyer and I am a rising junior, majoring in Mass Communications with a focus in broadcast journalism, attending the historical Virginia Union University. As we all know, the 2018–2019 academic school year is coming upon us very soon, and I am sure that the majority of us will be eager to see old friends, faculty and staff, and to step foot on these hallowed grounds and dear old walls once again. However, at the start of every school year, there is a new class ready to embark on this new journey in their life, and in this school year, it will be the Class of 2022, who will be moving on campus on August 4th and starting classes August 6.

As a freshman attending college for the very first time, you may feel a mix of emotions. You may feel excited to start a new chapter in your life, or you may feel nervous about leaving home and entering into a new place that you are unfamiliar with. Regardless of your situation, I have come to help you, and I’m here to tell you about my personal experience as a freshman at Union and give you tips to make sure that your freshman year will be one to remember.

In August 2016, I moved into my dorm, and I was very excited to start my new life at college and to build up my independence. My dorm was Newman Hall, room 106, on the first floor. I then met my roommate and she was pretty cool. The events that I went to during Freshman Orientation Week were great and set the tone to be a great freshman year. I couldn’t wait until classes started and to build friendships with other people.

But then the school year started and… things did not go exactly as I hoped. My roommate was still fine and we were cordial, but I often found myself bored in my dorm room, especially on the weekends. I found myself missing home and realizing that I had no idea how to live on my own. I was also quiet and I did not have the nerve to go up to people, say hi, and start a conversation with them. Eventually, I started to go home every single weekend of my freshman year, and come back to campus on Sunday nights right before curfew at 11:00 pm. As someone who always had a room to herself, it was very difficult for me to adjust to sharing a room with another girl, and because of that, I would stay out of my room until curfew, and I did not establish a close friendship with my roommate at all in my personal opinion, even though we were still cordial and said hello to each other often. And the only person that I had to blame for all of this was myself.

My freshman year did not go exactly as I had hoped, but it was not all bad. I joined a couple of organizations and made good grades. I want to tell you my story because I don’t want you to have the same experience as I did, especially if you are more outgoing than I am. So with that being said, I have the following advice for all of you to succeed in your freshman year.

  1. Be Involved

This is a huge part in making your freshman year a good one. Find something that you enjoy and have a passion for. If you like to act, join the University Players. If you like to sing, join the University Choir. If you like to cheer, join the Rah-Rahs. Do whatever makes you happy and give your all to it, that way you can have something to do on campus other than just going to class, because that’s not that fun, right?

2. Go to Class

Be on time, and stay focused on the subject your professor is teaching. Always ask a question when something confuses you. There is no such thing as a dumb question. There may be wrong answers, but not dumb questions. If you find yourself too nervous to ask questions out loud in class, utilize the office hours your professor has. This will also help you build a relationship with your professor, and they will begin to know you by your name and face, and know that you are dedicated towards your work, so the chances of you getting a good grade will rise.

3. Have a Planner

A good planner will help you organize anything and everything in your college life. As a freshman, you will have a lot of things to juggle. This includes classes, clubs, work, studying, dorm meetings, plans with friends and so much more. Having a planner will help you remember everything that you need to do in order to have them done in a timely manner.

4. Set Ground Rules with your Roommate

You do not need to be your roommate’s best friend, but you do have to make sure that there is a level of respect. As soon as you meet, it is best to have a talk about things relating to guests, cleaning, blasting music, and so on. This will prevent any misunderstandings between you and your roommate.

5. Be on time for Curfew Check!

For your freshman year only, you will have a curfew. On Sundays-Thursdays you have to be in your room by 11:00 pm, and on Fridays & Saturdays you have to be in your room by 1:00 am. Please be on time. If a Resident Assistant knocks on your door and sees that you are not in your room, a dorm fine will be added to your account. The more you are not present for curfew check, the more the fines will build up.

6. Be Social

Make new friends, do some networking, try to talk to your teachers if you want. By socializing, you will have a friend or two to go to different events with, and have a person to hang out with when there aren’t any activities.

With these tips, I hope you have a great freshman year and make the best of it. Welcome to Virginia Union University and and I hope that you feel that this school is the right choice for you!

Virginia Union University is a private, liberal arts institution located in Richmond, Virginia. Founded in 1865, this premier historically black university (HBCU) enrolls 1,485 undergraduate and graduate students. VUU is committed to fostering success in the “real world” by offering educational opportunities in the liberal arts, education, STEM, theology, and continuing education. Student success is supported through research, state-of-the-art laboratories, internships, and study abroad. To learn more, please visit www.vuu.edu.

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