Free advice for first-year students

Upperclassmen provide their wisdom for first-year students at Ripon College.

Upperclassman helping loweclassman study.

Ripon College welcomed the class of 2026 to campus on Aug. 27, so first-year students are starting to adjust to what it is like to be in college. Although students are becoming more comfortable on campus, guidance from upperclassmen can be helpful. 

While it has been a few years since senior Parker Velte was a first-year student, he offered some wisdom to the newest students at Ripon College.

“My advice to first-year students is to try not to take things too seriously. School may be stressful and grades are important, but at the same time, you have to enjoy your time here, otherwise was it really worth it?” he said. “Work hard but never forget to enjoy the little things that come with being in college.”

Another senior on campus, Ethan Hansen, also provided insight for first-year students about caffeine use.

“Caffeine can be a useful tool, but by no means is it a meal! Don’t drink your coffee or energy drinks on an empty stomach or you will feel far worse than you did before you got your caffeine fix,” he said. “Always try to have a light snack at the ready, especially when you have caffeine fueled late-night study sessions.”

Natalie Davies, a junior at Ripon College, encouraged first-year students to be involved on campus.

“Always say yes to doing things! Go to events and games and hang out with friends,” she said.

For sophomore Dakota Wautier, it has not been as long since she was a first-year student.

“The first year is going to be hard, but you have to go to events (sporting or ones people put on); you’re probably going to have roommate issues, do you best to work it out, but don’t burn yourself out trying to make something work that might not; classes are busy but you need to still find time to do the things you love,” she said.

Wautier also touched on how it is normal to call loved ones from back home when you need some advice or comfort: “Don’t be afraid to call home or your friends from home, they help a lot!”

If first-year students have questions about college life and are not comfortable talking to an upperclassmen student, Ripon College also offers resources for students seeking guidance. These resources include: professors, Ripon College Counseling Services, Student Support Services, Office of Financial Aid, Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Franzen Center for Academic Success, and the Center for Career and Professional Development.