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Orientation & First-Year Programs (OFYP) December 18, 2017

Hello Gophers!

Congratulations! You have almost completed your first semester at the U! We know this can be an emotional time, so to help you through these last few weeks we have compiled some advice from recent U graduates:

“College is supposed to challenge you, and this may mean that you won’t get the grades you were hoping for. That’s okay. Remember that while A’s are nice, B’s and C’s do not by any circumstances mean that you didn’t sufficiently understand the material.”

“Try not to sacrifice your health for your academics. While focusing on getting your degree is important, your physical, emotional, and mental health is too. Make time for study breaks and activities that will put a smile on your face in the midst of everything you may have to do.”

“Start studying now, or as soon as you can, to not only make things easier on you during finals week, but also so you can get a feel of how you study best. It’s never too late to change your study habits if your current ones aren’t producing the results you want.”


Here are some tips to enjoy your first long break!

For those of you who are going home:

Respect the Culture at Home
Just because you have an abundance of independence on campus, doesn’t mean you will have that same independence at home. There may be rules or expectations you need to follow, events you’re supposed to attend, or tasks you need to complete. Respect these expectations, yet don’t hesitate to explore compromises.

Expect Changes
Your bedroom may not look like your bedroom. Your high school friends may not remind you of the friends you had in high school. Your parents/guardians may act different. Be open to the changes, but don’t feel obligated to pretend they’re all okay. If a change bothers you, talk about it. If you don’t tell anybody, no one can help you figure things out.

Be Honest
Pinching pennies? Scrapping by with D’s? Don’t keep it to yourself. Your family may be able to help in ways you wouldn’t have expected. However, if your family doesn’t know how to help you, remember that there are always resources on campus at your disposal. Many campus resources will meet with you via phone or video chat and appointment times may be easier to come by during break.

Want more resources to share with your parents and/or family members? Check out the Parent & Family Program and encourage them to sign up for emails!

For students who will be staying around campus:

This is your time to go beyond campus. Make use of your free time to explore areas of the Twin Cities you haven’t seen before.

Reading for class is required, and done – for now. Savor the opportunity to read something for fun!

Think of what causes you stand for. Research organizations centered around those causes and spend some of your time supporting them.

Just because you’re not going back home doesn’t mean that you can’t connect with the people back home. Jump on Skype or FaceTime, write a letter, call a friend, and so on.

Meet with campus resources
Finding time for meetings with counselors, departments, and other resources during the semester can be hard, but most offices on campus remain eager to meet with you throughout the break. This can be a great time to have a productive conversation with someone at a campus resource you've been meaning to visit.


While relaxing over break, here are some questions to think about that will help you make the most of your second semester at the U of M:

  • What is one thing from fall semester that you are proud of? What do you hope to be proud of next semester?
  • How do you want your spring semester to be different from your fall semester? How do you plan on making this happen?
  • What is one thing you’ve been curious to learn more about, participate in, or just try? What’s one step you will take to make that happen?
  • Make a list of goals you want to accomplish, map out some steps that will help you accomplish them, and then jot down how you will keep yourself accountable to these steps.


Study Space Finder
Use the Study Space Finder to find group rooms, coffee shops, and computer labs where you can study comfortably. Walter and Bio-Med Libraries (East bank) are open 24/7 beginning December 8 and Wilson Library (West bank) is open 24/7 beginning December 14. Magrath Library in St. Paul has extended hours – until 2:00 a.m. The libraries will have stress-busting study breaks including PAWS (December 14 in Wilson from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.), cookies, coloring, coffee, and more throughout finals. Learn more.

Think like a Researcher
Think like a Researcher is a series of workshops in January to help you become comfortable with the research skills and tools needed to participate in a variety of exciting research and creative opportunities including the UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program) and more. Apply today.

Orientation & First-Year Programs