Quick tips for incoming frosh

first_imgI don’t want to sound like your mother. Trust me, I know how that is.By this point, you’ve already made some great decisions. You’re enrolled as a University of Wisconsin student. You’re coming to Madison. You’ve decided to become a Badger.Great start.You’ve heard all the advice 1,001 times. Manage your time, don’t drink too much beer, remember to study, don’t become a small fish in a large pond.Take note of that last one.Two years ago I received an e-mail inviting me to attend The Badger Herald sports section meeting for new writers. I was interested in sports writing, as I had written for my local newspaper during my senior year of high school. So I walked in, met the editors, grabbed a women’s hockey story, and off I went. Simple as that.The more I wrote, the more I enjoyed it. I applied for the women’s basketball beat writer position and shared the duties with Tyler Mason, my current co-editor. My hard work and perseverance paid off as I was promoted to statistics editor for the fall 2007. Just a year later, I now help Tyler in running the department, have a radio show, cover the Badgers football team and get to talk to Joe Paterno, Jim Tressel, and Rich Rodriguez, people I only dreamed of meeting 24 months ago.So what? I’m sure you could care less about my sports writing career and future aspirations. But the point is, don’t believe the myths about big schools like Wisconsin. There are countless opportunities here. You just have to go out and find them.Every day I think about where I’d be had I simply ignored that first Herald e-mail. Not where I am today, that’s for sure. Instead, I put down the PlayStation controller for a bit and opened a new door for myself. The repercussions? A life-changing experience, tons of new friends and a whole lot of fun.This isn’t about sports, or writing, or newspapers at all. It certainly isn’t about me. People say that college is the time to find one’s self. A little clich?, yes, but true. Wisconsin is a place where you can do just about anything, most of which I am unaware of — and I’ve lived in Madison for two school years and a summer.My advice to you? Go ice fishing. Join Hoofers. Rush a fraternity. Become a member of one of the million and a half clubs that exist on campus. Go to football games. Meet people. Have fun.You are about to experience freedom like you never have before. Classes aren’t mandatory. Teachers won’t know your name unless you tell them. Food isn’t waiting for you after practice. And no one is going to tell you to do your homework.Scary? Perhaps. Exciting? I sure hope so.I must clarify one thing. The myths I mentioned earlier can be true. Plenty of my Badger peers are simply numbers, the thing their high school guidance counselors warned them about. It is easy to get lost in the confusion of this campus. You can eat breakfast, go to class (or not), eat lunch, take a nap, eat dinner, watch six episodes of “The Office” and go to bed. Trust me, I’ve seen it. But the key to succeeding at a big school is surrounding yourself with people like you and finding your niche. Mine, I quickly learned, is sports writing. Yours? Go find out.You can never make a small school feel big, but you can always make a big school feel small. For you, the former is irrelevant at this point. The latter, I suggest you give a try.Derek is a junior majoring in economics. He will be covering the Wisconsin football team this fall, so make sure you read The Badger Herald for complete coverage of your beloved Badgers. Questions? Comments? Concerns? Just want to talk sports? E-mail him at [email protected]last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *