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Student tips for success at UGA

Alan Flurry

The first week of classes wraps today and for many new students, the experience has already been overwhelming, a whirlwind of new activity, new people and... new assignments. As much as we can encourage all students about the importance of a strong start – get a jump on your reading, keep up and arrive everyday prepared for class – some current students offer thoughtful and empathetic advice that every student on campus can use:

It’s OK if you are not sure what you want to do at first. I found the process of choosing a major extremely stressful – I even changed my major five times during my first year. Don’t be afraid to take classes you are interested in, even if they are “unrelated” to your major! It’s always worth it to engage with subjects you’re passionate about, and often they can help push you in the right direction.

Tori Watson, a senior Honors student from Suwanee majoring in art history and comparative literature and intercultural studies, who dances in the Counterpoint Dance Company


Allow yourself to make mistakes, as long as you acknowledge and learn from the experience. Growth isn’t an instant process, nor is it tangible. Approach life with an open mindset and be prepared to learn through all of the moments: positive and negative experiences. There’s value in the discomfort. The personal growth that I have experienced in just my first two years of college has shown me that growth comes from making mistakes and—most importantly—learning from them as you navigate life in the future.

— Vidhi Patel, a cellular biology major from Athens, orientation leader and newborn hearing screener at St. Mary’s/Piedmont Athens Regional.

  • Always trust your gut. Always.
  • Keep creating things you love.
  • Do not let others dictate your life or values. The only person who needs to approve of you is yourself. “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” — Bernard Baruch
  • Your standards are not too high. Determine what you want and don’t accept anything less.
  • Call your mom! (I love you mom!)

Caroline Caden, a senior from Marietta majoring in theatre and working on a master’s in nonprofit management and leadership.

Crucial advice and encouraging words from these successful students. And everyone, please remember to get some rest, mask up and get vaccinated!


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