Advice to first years from professors

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“About once a year, take a course simply because you find it interesting, not necessarily because it is required… In college, I took many courses, but the three I remember most were about classical music, about theatre and about dinosaurs. Those were experiences that I treasure. And, don’t be scared to try a class in which you have no talent. Everyone needs to start somewhere.”

– Dr. Dena Morton, Mathematics Department

“Maximize the experience! College flies by, so make the most of it. Your Xavier experience is like everything in life: You get out of it what you put into it, so give it everything you have and you’ll be amazed to discover all the experiences, relationships, and growth that will result. Have fun and your joy will be contagious.”

– Dr. Marcus Mescher, Theology Department

“My advice to first-years is to enjoy their year and not overcommit…They can’t do everything the first semester or year, so they shouldn’t stress about their resumes. Given Xavier’s post-graduation placement rate, students have to try really hard to not succeed. First-years should take some time to find where they best fit and what they’re passionate about.”

– Dr. Wendy Maxian, Communication Arts Department

“Go to office hours! Seriously! We are here to help you, and you showing up is probably going to make my day. No one I know at Xavier is not delighted to meet one-on-one with students. I usually ask my students if they feel better as they are packing up their things, and they always say yes, usually with a big smile of relief.”

– Dr. Marita von Weissenburg, History Department

“Learn how to study. In other words, know what ways that you learn the best. Whether you’re a visual or an auditory learner. And schedule study time into your day.”

– Dr. Brenda Wiles, School of Nursing

“Treat school like a full-time job. Make a weekly plan that uses the ‘free’ time between classes. A 15-credit class schedule means 15 hours in class and 30 hours studying/reading/writing out of class. A thoughtful schedule and self-discipline promotes a healthy mind, body and spirit and will help you best prepare for life beyond college as well.”

– Dr. Jennifer Robins, Biology Department

“First, learn to fail. After college, life does not hold a string of successes…Second, realize that we, your professors, teach you nothing. All we do is help you teach yourselves…In my several decade experience of teaching…in all that time I’ve never actually taught anyone anything. If I’ve had any success in the classroom, it’s because I’ve been able to help my students learn for themselves. So let us help you do that.

– Dr. Timothy Quinn, Philosophy Department

“For life I would recommend taking advantage of the opportunities that you have now when you are young like study abroad or the spring trip to Guatemala. When you get older you have the time but not the money or the money but not the time. You really regret some of the opportunities you let pass by.”

– Dr. Laura Wessels, Physics Department

“Consumption is not enough. In high school, it was usually enough to consume answers from a study guide. That’s typically not enough in college. Make sure you output what you’ve learned by practicing, quizzing yourself, asking questions—before the exam. You likely will not do as well as you can if the first time you’ve practiced is during the exam itself.”

Dr. Ann Ray, Biology Department

“I would say be consistent. Like in terms of when you’re getting your work done…the semester is like a marathon. You have to pace yourself. And in order to pace yourself, you have to have kind of a rhythm… Be consistent. Make sure that you’re on top of stuff and chip away at whatever work you need to get done. And you know you can look up, and you’ve done 26 miles.”

– Dr. Jerry Cline-Bailey, English Department

“… Carve out the time and space to listen to those around you so you can broaden your horizons. The world needs more empathy and understanding, especially across differences, and being curious and willing to listen is a great way to start.”

Dr. Marcus Mescher, Theology Department

“Your best work is not likely to be a paper you slapped together at the last minute. Yes, usually we can tell if you procrastinated. Take the time to review faculty feedback on assignments. Our feedback is provided with your growth in mind. You can’t integrate that feedback if you don’t read it!”

– Dr. Reneé Zucchero, Psychology Department


By: Erica Lampert ~Staff Writer~ and Soondos Mulla-Ossman ~Copy Editor~

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