From one Lumberjack to another — a few tips to make your time at NAU one to remember.
Live on Campus
Living on campus your first year or two is an experience any college student should try for. My freshman year I lived in Wilson Hall, and sophomore year I lived across the street in McKay Village. I definitely lucked out with housing, and learned a lot about myself in the process.
Not only does living on campus bring you the convenience of walking anywhere in about 10 minutes, you also find events going on every week in your hall or right outside.
I had no idea there was a carnival for Homecoming until I looked out my window and saw a ferris wheel being set up in the parking lot. That was a strange sight to wake up to, but that night was full of memories!
Living on campus also mean you are guaranteed to have a roommate, which either works out great or not at all. Each situation is unique, but through living with another person teaches you a lot about yourself and how to work with someone who is the complete opposite of you. This is both fun and terrifying, but the experience is more than worth it.
Utilize the Gym
We all pay the recreation fee, you might as well use it! The Health and learning Center, along with the Aquatic and Tennis Complex are two great places to get your sweat on.
The gym is a great place to de-stress and get a solid workout in. Staying healthy is extremely important when you have a busy schedule. Even if lifting weights or running the track aren’t for you, there are tons of free group classes offered that fit into anyone’s schedule.
My favorite: Yoga. There’s nothing like ending your day in corpse pose and letting all the stressors of the day melt into your mat.
If yoga isn’t for you, try ZUMBA or Hip-Hop. And the open swim hours at the ATC are a nice way to cool down after a long day.
Go to that Event, Even if You Go Alone
Going alone to events can be intimidating. However, it also allows you to meet new friends you wouldn’t have found if you hadn’t stepped out of your comfort zone.
I often get myself involved with several positions on campus, and most of the time it’s something I end up going to alone.
It’s all about your attitude and how your outlook is on the event. If you stay positive and approachable, odds are you’ll find at least one person to talk to and bond with.
Get to Class Early
The first few days of class are crucial, not only to learn about your class and the requirements, but to find your unofficial assigned seat. Getting to class early allows you to choose where you want to sit for the rest of the semester. But this extends past the first day of class, so keep going early until after the last day to add/drop classes.
This is an unspoken rule in college, but one students recognize nonetheless. If you are in a lecture hall that is at capacity, it’s best to get there early for every class. Early can mean anywhere from five to even 20 minutes before class starts. Either way, it is best to find and claim a seat early on in the semester.
PS — sometimes teachers let you have class outside. 😉
Talk to Your Professors
Talking to your professors is crucial, especially when they are within your specific school or college.
Simply introducing yourself after class and talking about your excitement for the semester will leave a great impression and make your communication with professors easier.
Also, building a connection with your professors makes for a great resource when you need references and letters of recommendation. I have found that my professors are incredibly down to earth and are always willing to help with classwork or career information once I have made the effort to come to office hours or stay after class.
Meeting with my professors also helped with staying engaged in classes and truly falling in love with my career field. Making the connection with the faculty and staff at NAU is crucial, but you learn more from experience, so I encourage everyone to get out and meet their professors.
Take on a Job
Taking on a job seems like a lot, but there are several positions on-campus that can be part of the field you are studying. This helps in getting hands-on experience while taking classes at NAU. Handshake is one way to find open positions, or talk to your professors about opportunities they may know of.
A job and classes may seem like a lot, and alot of times it can be.
If you stay organized and keep your priorities together, you can make anything happen. Just be sure not to overload yourself and miss out on the fun stuff.
Set Your Priorities Straight
Priorities become a little blurry when you dive into college. School is up there, but so is family, and you don’t want to miss out on having time with friends, but you need money so you get a job. Yeah, it gets a little messy. I had a supervisor tell me before that I am a person first, never forget that. I look at it like this:
I am a person first, a student second.
Everything after that is easy. This reminds me that I need to do things for myself sometimes, but remember that I am here for a purpose. If I need a minute to step away from the stress, I absolutely should.
My health and my sanity are most important, and I have seen too many people forget that to let it happen to me.
Really the college experience is all about learning from mistakes, whether they are your own or someone else’s. As long as you never stop learning, you will be good to go.
And remember — it’s always okay to take a break.
Find Your Spot on Campus
Finding that spot or those spots on campus where you feel most productive or can unwind from your day will get you through anything.
Personally, my favorite spots on campus are the Peer Jacks Lounge and Old Main. It’s nice to get out for a walk and find myself on the grass on Old Main, or see my friends and coworkers in the Peer Jacks Lounge.
Finding your place can help motivate you to get through your task of the day, knowing you have that spot to escape too.
There are plenty of gems on campus, so get out and find them!
Get Out and Explore
Speaking of getting out to explore, there will always be somewhere to venture off to on the weekends or days off around Flagstaff. Whether you take a trip to Sedona, go cliff jumping in Winslow, or stick around good ole’ Flag, there is always something to do.
If you don’t have a car and are still interested in doing fun things outdoors, checkout NAU Outdoors in the HLC. They have tons of great trips planned out for a very low cost for students.
If you do have a car, take a trip. Recently, a group of friends and I went on a drive to Zion National Park in Utah and camped and hiked for Labor Day weekend. Just be doing a little research, you will see how much surrounds us, or is here in Flagstaff. Plenty of hikes, in-town fun, and exploring is possible during your time at NAU. Take advantage of every second.
Adjust Your Attitude
Lastly, adjust your attitude. This sounds a little mean, but trust me, once you change your outlook on any situation, your world will change completely.
By finding the good in everything, new and exciting opportunities seem to open up and lead to incredible experiences.
It can get tough during the school year when midterms start to roll around and deadlines seem to approach faster than you thought possible. This is the time to take a step back and breathe. You’re a person first after all, and you can take a moment to look back on how well your year is going and how your time at NAU has been.
I knew my sophomore year that I needed to change my attitude and make an adjustment in my life. By staying positive and realizing the good in my life, everything has changed for the better.
Looking back on my time at NAU, I have so much to be grateful for. I sincerely hope you all take advantage of your time in Flagstaff and what this university has to offer.
No matter where your life takes you, remember: Once a Lumberjack, always a Lumberjack.