Looking back on my freshman year

The pond located at Ogden’s Weber State University. (Kennedy Camarena/ The Signpost)

Freshman year is a time to learn and grow not only as a student, but as a person. Everybody has their own experiences with college, both positive and negative.

Something great I’ve found about college is that you get to create your own schedule and participate in what interests you.

During my freshman year, I wish I had a better understanding of how to be involved and how to take advantage of financial aid opportunities.

It is important to find where your passion lies within involvement, whether that is student involvement, studies, sports or other activities. Involvement looks different for everyone.

If you are not sure how you want to involve yourself, Weber does a great job at providing access to many opportunities.

A big part of my Weber State experience as a whole involves sports and sports-related extracurricular activities. I am proud to be a part of the Weber State Women’s Track and Field team.

I have had the opportunity to not only be a student athlete but to be a student athlete representative for sports on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee for Weber State and the Big Sky Conference.

Although these positions and opportunities aren’t available to all, supporting student athletes is. In my free time I find joy in going to other Weber sporting events with my teammates and friends.

Right off the bat, Weber has activities planned to help new and returning students become active on campus. Multiple studies have shown that if a student is involved right from the start of the school year, they are more likely to stay involved and complete their education.

One of these activities is the Block Party.

The Block Party is held on the first Friday of the semester and is where all the on-campus clubs, organizations and community members showcase what they can provide for the students and their involvement.

There are food trucks, games, free Weber swag and more all found in the middle of campus from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is a great opportunity to meet new people.

For more involvement throughout the year, Weber constantly posts opportunities to get out and be involved on their student social media pages. Students can follow Weber on Instagram or Twitter.

Most clubs on campus also have their own media pages. Those who are not on social media can stay updated on Weber State’s website online through WSU Announcements.

Students can also sign up for Ask Waldo text messages. Ask Waldo is an online intelligence source that is available to answer questions about Weber State. Students can ask questions in English, Spanish and Chinese.

All students need to do is send their questions his way and wait for a response. If the answer is unknown to Ask Waldo, students will be referred to a separate department that may be able to help them.

When it comes to creating your own college experience, there is no rule book you need to follow. You get to choose what you want to study and you also get to choose your schedule. When it comes to knowing/not knowing what to do career-wise, generals and other student resources can help you along the way.

College is a great time to form new connections and gain new experiences. It is important that you follow what you want to do rather than what you think others might appreciate. It is OK to be selfish when it comes to your own life.

Take classes that will push you to learn new things and strengthen your knowledge of the things you already know and are passionate about.

Taking advantage of financial opportunities given to you is simple. What I mean by this is getting help from as many sources as possible so you don’t have to do it alone.

The estimated amount of scholarship money that goes unused every year is 100 million dollars. That means money is being wasted because we are simply not asking for it. There are thousands of scholarship options available.

FAFSA is also an awesome resource for financial aid for students battling through school. Weber’s financial aid office is always willing to help and walk you through application processes.

I wish I had applied for more scholarships. It is free money just waiting to be asked for. Don’t waste it!

Now that a new school year at Weber State is beginning, it is up to you to determine your own future. No one can tell you what to do, it’s your turn to pave the path.

College can be whatever you want it to be. You get out what you put in when it comes to your college experience.

College is a time for us to grow, change and most importantly, learn. Do it in the way you want.