Campus Life

5 Things I Wish I Knew as a Freshman: A Student's Perspective

*Note: The following guest blog was written by Jacob Todd, a communication major and student worker in the Office of Marketing and Communications. File photos taken before the pandemic are used in this blog. 

During my time at Dalton State, I’ve been given excellent advice from professors and students alike, making my college experience one of the most rewarding of my life. As I near my final semester at this great institution, allow me to do my part in fulfilling the established tradition at Dalton State and offer some advice to those who follow in my footsteps.  

As Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” I write, not as a giant, but as a mere student, whose experience over four years allows him the opportunity to guide future generations of students, in hopes that they will do the same when their time comes. 

Without further ado, these are five things I wish I knew as a freshman. 

Make Frequent Contact with Your Advisors 

Understanding DegreeWorks and your major's course requirements can be daunting even into your junior and senior years. You shouldn’t go through that process alone, nor are you expected to. Your academic advisor will work with you to ensure you are taking the correct classes and on pace to graduate on time. 

Keep in mind, some classes are only offered in the fall, and some are only offered in the spring. If these courses are required for your major or are prerequisites to higher-level courses, missing them when they are available can delay your graduation significantly. Your advisor will help you create an appropriate course schedule and ensure you’re taking the classes you need to take when you need to take them. Make frequent contact with your academic advisor. They’re here for you.

Save Money Where You Can 

The broke college student is not just a stereotype. For many of us, it’s a reality. Even though Dalton State ranks as one of the most affordable schools in the nation, the cost of textbooks, housing, and general expenses like gas and food can add up. 

You can start saving money by renting your textbooks instead of buying them. Unless you know you will need the textbook for another course down the line, renting your textbook will almost always be the most affordable option. Also, if you can do so, rent used textbooks, as they will be cheaper than new ones. Whether the book is pristine or beaten and battered, the information within it remains the same. 

Be sure to take advantage of your student discount as well. Just by being a Dalton State student, you are entitled to numerous discounts that can save you hundreds of dollars throughout your educational career. Many local restaurants offer student discounts, and so do many of the subscription services that we college students love. 

Most importantly, apply for scholarships. The Dalton State Foundation offers several scholarships that students may apply for and there are many scholarships from external organizations available as well. Most scholarships are merit-based and typically require students to write an essay making a case for how the scholarship would benefit them. But there are also scholarships available for students based on their minority status, major, occupation and several other factors. It’s not often people hand out free money, but this is one of the rare exceptions, so take advantage of it.


Make Use of the Library and its Resources 

Roberts Library is one of the most powerful tools you have access to on campus, and its functions go far beyond lending books. Familiarize yourself with Galileo. Galileo is an online library portal available through the University System of Georgia (USG) that sources from over 100 databases to provide students access to thousands of articles, books and other resources. Galileo will be essential to many of your research assignments, so getting familiar with it early on will benefit you greatly. 

If you need a physical book as opposed to an online source, Roberts Library includes an expansive catalog of books, old and new. If the library does not currently carry the book you need, you can utilize the GIL Express service, which allows you to request books from other libraries within the USG. Alternatively, you could use the Interlibrary Loan service, which allows you to borrow materials from any U.S. library. 

But the best resources Roberts Library has to offer are the librarians themselves. Despite the challenges of operating amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Dalton State’s librarians are still here for you through the library’s virtual reference services and online chat feature. Students can also email a librarian at The librarians in Roberts Library are knowledgeable and passionate about what they do and are always happy to help students with their research needs. Any time you are struggling with a research assignment, utilize Roberts Library, and get the help you need. 

Get to Know Your Professors 

Dalton State has the unique advantage of being small enough to allow students to connect with their professors in ways larger institutions do not allow. Relatively small class sizes and convenient office hours allow students to work with their professors to ensure they are getting the most out of their education. Whether you’re using them to catch up on difficult material or to stay ahead of the curve, office hours provide students with the opportunity to maximize their learning. 

As you get deeper into your major-specific courses, you will likely take several professors more than once, so understanding each professor’s personality, expectations, and teaching styles will go a long way toward your success at Dalton State. 

Get Involved on Campus 

Dalton State students have tremendous opportunities to get involved at their school through sports, clubs, work-study positions, on-campus events and more. I admittedly was not the most outgoing student at first. For no good reason, I was hesitant to join any clubs or organizations, which is one of the few regrets I have now as a senior. I now recognize these organizations are a great way to make friends, contribute to the college and community and get the true college experience. Try to get involved with at least one organization on campus. 

Dalton State hosts a range of events on campus, from plays and performances to public speaking events and seminars. Any of these events are great ways to network outside the classroom and are almost always entertaining. Due to COVID-19, several events are also taking place virtually. Students can keep up to date with all the events happening on campus through Dalton State’s mobile app, The Rage, and by following Dalton State’s social media pages. 

There is too much for any one student to experience in just four years at Dalton State, but I hope that this advice will help you make the most of your time at Dalton State. And when the time comes, I hope you will continue the tradition and pass on your knowledge to future generations of students.

posted 11/06/2020 in Uncategorized



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