Uncategorized, Undergrad

Navigating the Transition: A Guide to Thriving in The Clarkson School

Carly LaBow sitting on the brick wall in her TCS graduation gown with her diploma

Embarking on the journey from high school to college can be both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. For those who are taking the step into the realm of higher education through The Clarkson School, the transition can be quite earlier than expected. However, this exhilarating adventure is filled with opportunities for personal and academic growth. Speaking from personal experiences and from the role of a Peer Educator, I have created a guide that explores key strategies to not only survive, but thrive in this exciting phase of your educational journey!

Hi, my name is Carly LaBow ’25 and I am from LaFargeville, New York. I am a current Business Administration major with a double minor in Human Resource Management and Communications. I attended The Clarkson School (TCS) last year as the Class of 2023. Here are some of my tips for an early transition to higher education and navigating The Clarkson School experience.

Embracing the New Environment of The Clarkson School

A group of 7 individuals standing behind the The Clarkson School table in the Student Center
Me and fellow ambassadors working an open house for TCS 

The early college experience is a chance to immerse yourself in a dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment. The change can be quite overwhelming and finding yourself feeling homesick in the first week is completely normal! 

Embracing this change by exploring campus, attending orientation sessions, and connecting with other program students will help build a sense of familiarity and ease the initial transition. 

Learning the layout of an entirely new campus can be overwhelming, so take a stroll around campus to locate the classrooms of your schedule. This proactive measure can help you significantly reduce your stress when trying to find your classes on the first day. 

Orientation events are designed to provide you with essential information, necessary resources, and expectations for the program. My biggest tip is to attend as many of these sessions as you can! Gaining greater insight into the campus is wonderful and also allows you to meet fellow students who are likely experiencing similar emotions. 

Mastering Time Management 

Balancing academic commitments with extracurricular activities, friendships, family and personal time requires effective time management. 

Create a realistic schedule that accommodates classes, study sessions, and leisure time. I am a student who religiously uses a planner to write assignments, upcoming exams or presentations, and important events in my life. It allows me to keep track of upcoming assignments while also making the most of my time.

My biggest tip to any student is to start assignments as soon as they are assigned. Do not wait until the last minute to start an assignment. Stay on top of your workload because you can never expect the unexpected!

Leverage Academic Resources That The Clarkson School Offers

The Clarkson School offers a wealth of academic resources to support your learning journey. Take advantage of tutoring services, study groups, and especially office hours with professors. 

The Clarkson School offers a wide range of subjects that tutors specialize in. The small group sessions allow one-on-one support and truly let your questions be answered! Getting together with your friends in the same class is a great way to collaborate and prepare for exams. 

My biggest mistake in my first year was not utilizing office hours. I was honestly too afraid to seek help from my professors. After starting to attend office hours this year, I can confidently say that the professors are not scary! Asking questions is how you learn and building a relationship with your professors is extremely beneficial. 

Additionally, seek guidance from academic advisors to navigate your course selections and plan your academic trajectory. They are extremely accommodating when it comes to scheduling classes for the upcoming semester and answering any questions you may have about your major. 

Build a Supportive Network

Carly standing with her family. A family photo of 4 people while Carly holds her TCS diploma
Me at TCS commencement My family and I at TCS commencement 

Transitioning to college is smoother when you have a support system in place. Attend social events, join clubs or organizations, and participate in campus activities. Building connections not only enhances your college experience but also provides a network of support when facing challenges. 

The Clarkson School offers events hosted by the Housing Advisors typically each Friday night. This is a great opportunity to take a refreshing break from schoolwork while also socializing with fellow students in the program. 

Joining clubs is a great way to meet new people with similar interests! There is always an activity to find on campus and one of my favorites is attending the men’s hockey games. The school spirit is truly immersive at these events and is a true Clarkson experience. 

Most importantly, don’t forget about the supportive network you already have established. Your friends back home are most likely experiencing the same emotions as you but maybe at another college. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask how they are doing! Your family will be the most supportive network you will ever have. Set time aside to call them at least once a week and remind them you haven’t forgotten about them. 

Prioritize Self-Care

Amidst the excitement of college life, it’s essential to prioritize your well-being. Maintain a healthy balance between academics and personal life, get adequate sleep, and practice self-care routines. 

A group of 4 women standing on the sidewalk in a line all in order of hight
My friends (who also attended The Clarkson School)

A healthy mind and body are key to thriving in the fast-paced environment of higher education. Be sure to take mental breaks while studying or doing homework for an especially long period of time. Taking a quick walk around campus or even a quick workout at the gym can help keep your mind and body sharp. 

I know friends or homework can keep you up late but make sure you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night. Without a refreshed mind you won’t be able to perform up to your full potential. As someone who can’t function without plenty of sleep, I truly want to emphasize the importance of getting ample sleep. 

Lastly, it is easy to get carried away into everyday life at college and forget to take care of yourself. Make sure you are eating nutritious meals, getting a sufficient amount of exercise, and most importantly setting aside time for just yourself. 

Carly sitting on a wall in her Clarkson School regalia holding her diploma up

Find things that you enjoy doing and make time to actually do them. Everybody needs some alone time to decompress or have some fun outside of just class. This helps prevent burnout during the semester and is honestly just good for you and your health!

Navigating the early transition to higher education with The Clarkson School is an adventure filled with opportunities for growth, discovery, and academic success. By embracing the new environment, mastering time management, building a supportive network, establishing a routine, and prioritizing self-care, you’ll not only survive the transition but emerge stronger and more confident in your abilities. Welcome to a transformative chapter in your educational journey at Clarkson University! 

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