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Advice to My First-year Self

April 17, 2020
person drinking coffee
Taylor Myers enjoys coffee and study time at Turtle Rock Coffee.

UW student brand ambassadors and transfer mentors offer great tips for making the most of your college experience.


Get Involved and Try New Things

“Something I wish someone had told me my freshman year is to go to events, even if they sound stupid. Put yourself out there, meet new people, and gain new experiences, because at this point you are the only one holding yourself back.” –Danielle

“Step out of your comfort zone. Try new things, meet new people, and don’t let others hold you back. In college, you have so many opportunities that you don’t have in high school—take advantage of those opportunities.” –Hailey M.

“Participate in campus activities! Don’t be afraid to ask people about things.” –Alma

“I always think to myself, ‘You are only in college once—when are you going to get to do this again?’ when I am contemplating trying something new. Usually, it is the extra push I need to overcome the anxiety of new things.” –Sydney

“I highly recommend becoming involved in the college community as soon as possible. College is what you make it, and I have found that, through involvement in various clubs and organizations, I have been able to truly enjoy my time in college, as well as meet a wide variety of people.” –Trent


Tips for Freshmen

“Have fun in the dorms! I can honestly say that my experience in the dorms was the most fun I had in college.” –Alma

“One of the biggest ideas in high school is that the students who have to get extra help from teachers or tutors are the dumb kids. However, this is completely untrue, especially here at UW. Those who are willing to go and get help are the ones that not only pass the class but are the students who understand the class and the content. So don’t be afraid to ask for help.” –Jordan

“You will be working with people from a variety of ages and backgrounds, and it’s important to be aware and respectful of that. Not everyone is going to share the same opinion.” –Danielle

“Get to know students, staff and faculty. UW is way different than high school or a community college. It’s way more competitive here, and you have to try harder for that grade or that job. You have to be willing to go the extra mile.” –Gareth

“In high school, there is a lot of division of interests and not really getting to know other people. College is completely different: You want to get to know people of different majors and different clubs and learn from their experiences because that’s what we are here for—to learn. Also, optimizing resources—the university gives so many amazing things to help you, and trying everything out is just a great way to get involved on a huge campus.” –Kyra

“Make the most out of your time here. Make sure that you take the time to explore and adventure a little bit. You may find a place you didn’t even know existed that you won’t want to leave.” –Jordan

“I would tell first-year students not to prejudge their experiences by those of people who came before them. Going into my first year, all I heard was that my first-year classes were going to be extremely difficult and that I would probably struggle. I went into my classes in constant fear of what might happen but found my experience to be much different. Just because your friend struggles in class doesn’t mean you will. Let your experience determine your success, and know that it is possible.” –Katie

“As incoming first-year students, don’t be afraid to explore. I knew what I wanted to do going into college but didn’t know the right majors to fulfill my interest. I took lots of different classes to figure out what I liked, and this experimenting process helped me discover what I wanted to really do. It’s OK to not have it all figured out, and, honestly, no one ever really knows exactly where they’re going. Overall, don’t be afraid to take classes not purely within your chosen major, and be open to trying different things.” –Paige


person ice fishing
Trent Bronnenberg ice fishes near Laramie.

Learn to Study

“Learn how to study, especially if you didn’t in high school.” –Sadie

“The biggest thing about knowing ‘how to’ college is understanding you will have to study. It does not matter if you are first or last in your high school graduating class, you will have to study, and you will have to study a lot. Going into college with this mindset is the key to success, rather than just attending lecture and then hoping you will maintain the information until finals.” –Katie

“Separate home and study areas. In my opinion, you get much less done at home when trying to study and do homework. Try using a different area to study, which allows you to get more done.” –Joe


Get Organized

“My best piece of advice would be to have a planner and then at the beginning of the week, write down all that needs to be done that week. Then every day on a piece of paper write out a daily schedule and list the necessary steps in order to achieve those tasks you wrote down for that day on your planner. Don’t stress out if you don’t get something done by a certain day, just re-schedule it to the next day if you can.” –Uriah

“Plan everything. I live and breathe by Google calendars. I have at least seven different color-coded calendars at all times that keep me on time and able to manage my workload.” –Sydney

head portrait of a woman
Hailey True transferred from Casper College and is now a peer mentor, helping to support other transfer students.

Hailey True transferred from Casper College and is now a peer mentor, helping to support other transfer students.


Tips for Transfer Students

“Get involved, and if you have a question, ask, because the person next to you might have the same question. Get to know your professors. Make sure to stand out, and have some fun doing it.” –Alondra

“Biggest piece of advice that I would give to a transfer student is to become active in their respective colleges. This allows you to meet new people while also getting to know faculty in the building.” –Joe

“My best advice to transfer students is to plan on being the initiator as they come into a new school and to be patient with being the new kid on the block. When I transferred to UW, I expected it to be easy to make new friends and find people with similar interests. Friendships take time to come about, and eventually you will find ‘your people.’ Until then, my advice is to keep your chin up, be others-oriented and take the initiative to reach out to your teachers and fellow students and try out different RSOs, campus activities and groups and activities around town.” –Hailey T.

“Get to know the area you are now in. It will have a very positive impact for you. Talk to locals and be willing to explore a little bit.” –Alma

“Go to your teacher’s office hours and become friends with them. They’ll help you a lot, and they’ll enjoy you being there. This is the best time to build a relationship with them because, unlike community colleges, you won’t have time to really interact with them.” –Uriah


girl exercising
Alma Burwell teaches fitness classes at Half Acre and says the gym is a great place to meet new friends.

Balance Your Time

“Learn how to properly time manage early on. You are now completely responsible for yourself, so the earlier you are able to learn how to take care of all necessary tasks, the more enjoyable your college experience can be.” –Trent

“Work hard when you have to, so you can relax a little when you need to. Hang in there—it’s going to be a long haul, but you can do it.” –Gareth

“No one is holding your hand, so treat university like a job, go 8-5.” –Taylor

“For me, diligence and choosing to work hard, even when you don’t feel like it, is key to doing well in school. However, I’ve also found it important to keep a wider perspective on life and leave some time to breathe, spend time with people and do things that I enjoy. Carving out time to be spontaneous and wing it every once in a while keeps me fresh and helps me to stay motivated, organized and focused in my schoolwork. I think this can be especially beneficial at the university level, when you may have a heavier workload than you had at a community college and there are more activities available. Treat college like a real job and keep the end goal in view, but spring yourself a little freedom every once in awhile!” –Hailey T.

“Don’t get caught up in being able to go out on your own or whenever you want. Be responsible for your time and realize that you are still in school and can’t afford to be out every night with your friends. Make sure to balance your social life with schoolwork and studying. Have fun, though—just balance.” –Sadie


Ask for Help

“Always ask questions. That’s where learning happens. Talk to your professors, get to know them and let them get to know you.” –Gareth

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone at UW just wants the best for you and wants to help you succeed.” –Hailey M.

“I did not often need assistance in high school, and that was a dramatic change when I started college. It is a huge learning curve and one you need to not be afraid of but embrace.” –Alma

“Take advantage of your resources. There are so many supplemental instruction sessions, tutoring and more to enable you to do well in classes. Office hours are also a great thing to attend. There’s lots of support at UW, and it really helps to not be afraid to take it.” –Paige


Meet the Brand Ambassadors

Danielle Britz, freshman, elementary education/special education, Wheatland, Wyo.

Trent Bronnenberg, senior, molecular biology/physiology, Cody, Wyo.

Alma Burwell, junior, (second bachelor’s), mechanical engineering, Carbondale, Ill.

Katie Couture, sophomore, nursing, Cody, Wyo.

Gareth Flowers, junior, chemical engineering, Powell, Wyo.

Jordan Johnson, freshman, animal and veterinary sciences, Cheyenne, Wyo. 

Hailey Moss, freshman, outdoor recreation and tourism management, Douglas, Wyo.

Taylor Myers, sophomore, environmental system science/environment and natural resources, Sheridan, Wyo.

Sydney Polson, junior, kinesiology, Lander, Wyo.

Kyra Stevenson, freshman, marketing/minor in graphic design, Aurora, Colo.

Paige Trent, junior, energy resource management and development/environment and natural resources, Laramie, Wyo.

Sadie Wenzel, freshman, physiology, Powell, Wyo.

Learn more at

man in a building atrium
Joe Riss in the College of Business.


Meet the Transfer Peer Mentors

Uriah Gracia, transferred from Laramie County Community College, kinesiology and pre-physical therapy, Cheyenne, Wyo.

Alondra Rocha Olivas, transferred from Western Wyoming Community College, marketing and entrepreneurship, Green River, Wyo.

Joseph Riss, transferred from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, accounting, Longmont, Colo.

Hailey True, transferred from Casper College, animal science, Douglas, Wyo.

Read their profiles at

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