Dear Dale is a weekly advice column. Courtesy | Cal Abbo

Dear Dale,

I am an incoming freshman and I’m nervous about what to expect my first few days. Do you have any tips about how to prepare for the workload, good study spots, and how to meet friends?

-Nervous Ned

Dear Ned,

Welcome to campus! It is com­pletely normal to be nervous, espe­cially as you start your college journey in such a unique sit­u­ation. 

The aca­d­emics will be rig­orous – which you will hear many times during ori­en­tation week. This is simply to serve as a reminder that there is no breezing through and getting easy As. You will have to put in a lot of work. Even if your first few classes are easy, make sure you master the material because the whole course will build on it and you will need to know it for the final. Speaking from expe­rience, falling behind in the beginning – even skipping one reading or blowing off one essay – will come back to bite you later. Most impor­tantly, build a rela­tionship with your pro­fessors – speak up in class, go to office hours, email them if you have ques­tions – they want to get to know you.

Campus is full of great study spots. If you want coffee (and trust me, college will make you a caf­feine addict) you can easily get to the campus coffee shops or try out the ones in town. Most of them are within walking dis­tance, and I rec­ommend checking them all out early on so you know which atmos­phere you like best.

Finally, you’ll meet friends in all sorts of set­tings – the cafe­teria, your dorm, your classes, and campus events. Don’t stress if the first week or two is a whirlwind of faces, names, and small talk that you don’t remember – things settle down after ori­en­tation. There are always signs in class­rooms, news on social media, and emails from the Student Activ­ities Board to keep you informed of fun campus hap­penings, so just keep an eye out. At Hillsdale, we are a com­munity and we are here for you. Trust me, you’re in for a great year!