My First Year at Roosevelt University
To start college means to step into a totally new phase of your life. You never know what exactly to expect, but always are so excited for those mysterious changes coming your way. Honestly, I have been a student for a while in different countries, such as: Ukraine, England, and the United States. Every time feels like the very first time. My program at Roosevelt started in the fall semester, which means late August, when it’s still nice and warm in Chicago. It might feel a little overwhelming and complicated at first, when you just arrive. You have to arrange your schedule, enroll in selected classes, get a student ID card, figure out your housing for the near future, get acquainted with the neighborhood, and a lot more. All the organizational details might drag you down, but don’t let them take away the excitement you feel, or the ample opportunities and new friends to be made.
There are so many things I have learned during my first year in college, but I would like to highlight five of them that I consider the most important.
- Be friendly and open-minded. College can surprise you with a friendship that will last for years. Roosevelt University is an extremely diverse school. You get a chance to meet people from all over the world. Do not lock yourself down and stay away from student associations, gatherings, and the wide variety of events happening on campus. It’s a great opportunity to meet wonderful people, therefore creating a strong network that might be quite beneficial in your future career. For international students, the first semester starts a week earlier than for domestic students. It’s called an orientation week and it’s when the Office of International Programs hosts an introductory course for all international students, helping them to obtain all the necessary papers, finalize their schedule, and answer all their questions. During my orientation week at Roosevelt, I met my best friend in Chicago, who is still one of the closest and most reliable friends I have ever made.
- Do not miss classes and do not hesitate to ask questions and open a discussion. Asking questions is an essential part of learning, but it is incredible how many intelligent people are afraid of doing that. I was one myself. It seemed to be the worst/hardest part of class when the professor stopped a lecture and said “And now let’s open a discussion”. The students start rolling their eyes and blinking, and everyone pretends they are not even there. It’s paradoxical that students feel more confident answering a straightforward question rather than sharing their own thoughts, opening a discussion, and arguing. The point of telling you all this is to help you avoid my mistakes. You might think there is plenty of time. I will participate in a discussion next class or I will answer the next time, but it’s not true. You have to push yourself to the limit, even if you are afraid. In the end, it will bring you astonishing self-confidence and make you a great speaker, which is extremely important for a successful career.
- From the first year at Roosevelt University until this moment, I have been amazed by how wonderful our buildings and facilities are. I keep talking about the location of the school, which is actually in the heart of the city surrounded by the top attractions, restaurants, and stores. A lot of classrooms, especially on the top floors, have only one or two walls, all other sides are made of glass, which gives you an absolutely gorgeous view of the city’s skyline. I remember sometimes it was hard to concentrate on class material while there was a stunning sunset out the window. It’s hard to find a school with such a perfect location. I just would like to give a piece of advice to all the students; especially those newly arrived, use the opportunity and explore the city. There are so many places around, walk and walk a lot, check all places of interest, and take a bunch of good pictures. Memories will stay with you forever.
- I recommend learning more about the programs, concentrations, scholarships, and assistantships the school is offering. I arrived to Roosevelt with literally a sticker on my forehead that said “I am getting an MBA degree so don’t even talk to me”. That is not the smartest approach. Eventually, I got to know what Roosevelt University was offering, even double major or dual degree programs which I would have considered, if only I knew about them at the beginning. Every student gets an assigned advisor who can answer your questions and suggest what the best choice is in various situations. Also, the school offers study abroad and exchange programs and I don’t see a single reason not to try your luck with that.
- There are so many events going on in Chicago all the time, it’s hard to catch up. But we are all connected to the Internet nowadays. I will tell you one more secret; a lot of those events are also free. During your first year at school, try to explore as much as possible. It’s literally a crime not to discover all the beautiful places Chicago has to offer.
And one more handy suggestion, read the news. In a global city, like Chicago, you have to be aware of what is happening on the next street and also in the world. Educate yourself, ask questions, show initiative, and expose yourself to the world - it all will make you successful at school and in your future career.