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Making the Most of the UW

10 Suggestions from those Who've Been There

October 2020

The UW College of Arts & Sciences asked seniors from across the College (some have since graduated) for advice about making the most of the UW experience. They had plenty of thoughts to share! Here's some of what they had to say:

 

Bennett Jarvis head shot

1. TAKE SOME UNEXPECTED CLASSES 

“I wish I had considered taking as many classes in as many fields as possible. People try and streamline their academic experiences too much and lose out on the diversity a university like the UW has to offer.  — Bennett Jarvis, History

 

 

Marium Raza headshot

2. LEARN OUTSIDE CLASS

“UW is so much more than just lectures and exams. UW is about the people you meet, and the communities you become part of. Take the time to talk to your professors outside of class, and to go to those interesting club meetings (even virtually). Often, you'll learn the most from the conversations going on all around you.”  — Marium Raza, CHID, Biochemistry

 

David Hales head shot

3.  DON’T PANIC ABOUT CHOOSING A MAJOR

“I wish I had known that it was okay to feel unsure about my major.  Applying to a major isn't some blood contract.  You aren't as trapped as you might feel.  While it is definitely important to think about these major decisions (pun intended), you have to find a way to do so without feeling like your life is at stake or you will be paralyzed.”  —  David Hales, Chemistry, Physics 

 

James Alexander head shot

4. EXPLORE THE UW’S EXCEPTIONAL RESOURCES

“The UW’s facilities are some of the best in the country and almost always free. Take full advantage! For example, I used a research librarian to help with a class assignment. Scheduling an appointment was easy and the time was incredibly valuable as they really helped me see the assignment in different and more familiar ways that aided my overall understanding (note: these appointments are available virtually).” — James Alexander, Geography

 

Maya Esquivido head shot

5.  FIND YOUR COMMUNITY  

“As an underrepresented minority on campus, I wish I’d known where the Intellectual House and Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center were located. These are important places for us, and it is a good place to find community.”  — Maya Esquivido, American Indian Studies

 

6.  LEARN HOW YOU LEARN 

“It’s okay to take time to find out how you study best. You have four years (more or less) to improve and get used to the new environment. What’s important is to spend the beginning of your time here trying to find out what works best for you. It can help to seek out professors and extra academic resources to figure this out."   — Lauren Miller, Neurobiology

 

 7.  BE OPEN-MINDED ABOUT FRIENDSHIPS

"You may not find a group of friends you really fit with right away, and that’s okay! It’s important to put yourself out there and meet new people, even if they aren’t the ones you will be hanging out with for the next four years. There are so many amazing people at UW; eventually you will find the ones you click with."   — Alder Strange, Biochemistry, Psychology, and Musical Theater

 

8.  ATTEND FACULTY OFFICE HOURS (EVEN IF THEY’RE ON ZOOM)

“I wish I had known the importance of attending office hours. Even one session with professors can help you build a relationship with possible recommenders for graduate school, and aid in your understanding of course material. Professors are genuinely interested and want you to succeed. If you don’t want to attend alone, invite some friends from the course.”  — Elency Valle-Ortega, Speech & Hearing Sciences

 

9.  TAKE OWNERSHIP OF YOUR EDUCATION

"I wish I had realized that a student’s university experience is entirely driven by their own determination and motivation. All of your goals at the University — whether you want to study abroad, get an internship, participate in research with a professor, or find a community that shares your interests — are attainable if you are determined enough to pursue them."   — Jessica Niewohner, Law, Societies & Justice

 

10. GET A JUMP ON CAREER PLANNING

"First-year students are very welcome to visit the Career and Internship Center and attend career fairs, even though they may not be sure what their future plans are. You never want to wait until the final quarter when the 'senior panic' hits.” (Note: The College’s C21 program also offers resources for career exploration.) — Gloria Long, Psychology