From One Lumberjack to Another

By: McKinley Burnett

Getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new can be a difficult task. I moved from Fairbanks, Alaska, down to the fantastic Flagstaff. I was ready to embark on my journey of independence and freedom.

My freshman year is now slowly coming to an end, and this year has been quite literally epic. I wouldn’t change much — I was productive, found a career path, made good friends — but there’s some advice I wish I had that could have helped, and some advice I can offer to help make sure your college experience is everything you hoped for.

Here are some tips that have helped me get the most out of my freshman year of college, as well as what you really need in your backpack and dorm room.

Say Yes!!!

There are so many events and free activities that NAU hosts. Go meet people, when someone invites you out to do something, try it out. It may be hard and uncomfortable at first, but the more you push yourself out of your comfort zone the easier it gets!

Some students I barely knew invited me to go to Horseshoe bend! Now they are my friend group and we have gone on so many epic adventures.

Backpack Essentials

Before coming to NAU I was so unsure of what I needed for school supplies. Everyone is different; compare the inside of my and my roommate’s backpacks, you would find very different stuff. This is what I have in my backpack:

  • Laptop, iPad, folder (for random papers), mini hairbrush, granola bar, hydro flask, AirPods, my room key, pencil, pen, tissues, hand lotion, and exactly three band-aids
This is my baby, my The North Face backpack ❤

Dorm Essentials

The most beneficial things I brought or bought for my room have to be:

  • A box fan, microwave, food cart, shower caddy, shower shoes, robe, picture frame with my family, spikeball, an outside blanket, a full-body mirror and a diffuser.
Bring spikeball, trust me. I’ve made so many good friends and memories through this game!


My last tip of advice has got to be apply. If you see something that’s interesting, apply even if you don’t think you’ll get it. I bet you will benefit from the experience, even if it doesn’t work out.

Scholarships, clubs, jobs, internships, giveaways, etc. — put your name down for as many things as possible. College is a crazy, busy, fantastic time of your life. Get out and do as much as possible.

I have an internship right now I never thought was possible. I applied because I thought it looked super fun and cool but had no expectation of getting the job. When I got hired it was such an amazing experience and I’ve had the time of my life. Trust me, just apply!

Celebrating National Pizza Day for NAU Social Media (my internship)!

Good luck future and present Jacks, let’s make the most out of college :)



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University


It’s always a great day to be a Lumberjack! Join the conversation and share your #NAU story.