Things I wish I knew as a Freshman: Succeeding Academically and Socially

"Don't count the days, make the days count" -Muhammad Ali, American Boxer, Activist, and Philanthropist. 

Welcome back or welcome to Adventures at Franklin! This post is the final installment in my 3-part series: Things I wish I knew as a Freshman. Post 1 was all about how to save money as a student Post 2 was all about what you ACTUALLY need for an FUS dorm: It's been fun writing these posts because I've gotten to remember and reflect on my time at FUS. I hope for you, these posts have been informative! 

Today's topic: achieving success both academically and socially. Success is something that is difficult to define, as it is very relative and dependent on every individual because everyone has different expectations and different parameters of what defines success. Social success is particularly tough to nail down, so let's start with academic success first. 


As I mentioned, everyone has different expectations and parameters for success, and this is no different in academics. One grade will mean something different depending on the student. However, I think the ultimate goal that defines academic success is graduation, and there are some universal steps that will help anyone achieve that. Here are some of my tips: 

  • Take the time to do the work. 2 important things required to achieve academic success: time management and hard work. At FUS, if you put time and effort into your classes (do homework, read the readings, complete projects/assignments etc.), then it's pretty hard not to do well. It's as simple as that sometimes. Do the work ---> get good grades. 
    • Also pro tip: sometimes professors will put the homework assignments in the syllabus, so if you want to, you can get the work done way in advance. I never had the motivation to work way in advance but I almost always try to get all my assignments done for the following week. I would spend some of my weekends working on assignments for the next week because something almost always pops up during the week that I would need to turn my attention to. If nothing happened, then yay I had a week free of major homework assignments. I don't always manage to finish all my work for the week on the weekend, but when I do, it makes life much smoother. 
  • Create a plan. Some courses at FUS are only offered every 2 years, so if you need a class for a major/minor/core requirement, then you'll need to plan accordingly. I know many students who come to FUS are undeclared, so you don't need a specific plan right away. Nonetheless, you should have a general plan in place right from the start. For example, I came in as undeclared, and so while I didn't know what I wanted to study, I decided to take as many classes that would check off my core requirements so I would be free of the core requirements. One of the worse things is having to take a class you really don't want to take in your last semester, but you have to take it to graduate. If you want to read more about planning/course registration, then check my post on that here:
  • Use your resources. There is a lot of help available. You can ask your professors, Academic Mentors, or other upper class-men. We have tutoring services available in the Writing and Learning Center. If you need help, it's very easy to find help :) 
  • Find ways to manage your stress. Although it's important to do the work, it's just as important to not overwork and to not burn out. Take breaks and take time to do things you enjoy as well, so you don't burn out early in the semester. 
Social success is very hard to define because it is different for every individual. Maybe it means being liked amongst members of the FUS community. Maybe it means creating a tight-knit friend group over your time at FUS. Maybe it means being well known and active inside of FUS. Maybe it means having less of a social life so you can focus on grades. Social success could be any of these things, it just depends on the individual. 

So how does one achieve their own idea of social success? 

I could state the clich├ęs. Be friendly, helpful, open, respectful, honest etc. All of that is true, so to sum it up simply, I would just say treat others how you would want to be treated. I'm a big believer in karma, and so what you put out there will come back to you. 
However, I think it comes down to something as simple as this: do what you want to do. It might sound like a cop out answer, but it is true. I give campus tours to visitors, and I always end my tour with this saying: Franklin is what you make of it. That saying becomes abundantly clear when it comes to social success. Franklin is so small that as a student, you have a voice and can make a big difference if you want to. If you want to be an active member inside the community, it is so easy to get involved and put yourself out there. You can start a club, help with orientation, join clubs, go to events/activities, organize or help out at events, maybe even write for this blog :) If you want to be more reserved and find a tight knight group of friends, you can be more open at the start, find the people you really gel with, and then become inseparable. If you want to have a crazy social life, party every night, travel every weekend, then you can do that too (your grades will probably take a hit but hey it's your prerogative). If you want to focus on classes and have less of a social life, you can do that too. Maybe you don't even know what you want at first, and that's alright. Your Franklin journey is whatever you want it to be, so do what you want to do, and shape your adventure. 

I wish all incoming students for fall 2020 the best of luck. To any future FUS students reading this, I wish you good luck too. Make your Franklin adventure into whatever you want it to be. 

A presto,

P.S. Obviously there are many things I wish I knew as a freshman, but turns out a lot has already been covered on this blog. I have compiled a list of great posts from this blog that gives more information about life at FUS. I remember feeling so restless and excited as a incoming freshman, so here are some posts to get through if anyone is feeling the same way! 

The Ultimate Packing List: 
Jonathan posted on a packing list specific to COVID-19, but this is the ultimate packing list post that EVERY Franklin student should read. There are many posts from the rich history of this blog that I plan to update, but not this one. This list covers virtually everything, and it will stand the test of time. 

Key Words and Phrases to Know in the Major Swiss Languages 
Switzerland has 4 major languages, so it's very important to know some basic phrases. Check the post out to discover some helpful phrases in Italian, German and French, which may just help you out in the future!
"Every Franklin student knows the value of picking up a few words of the many languages they encounter — and when it comes to getting around in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, where Franklin is located, it's definitely useful to have some terms at hand." -Gabrielle, circa 2016

Sustainability on Campus: 
Find out all about public transportation, recycling, shopping more sustainably, and the FUS garden in this post! 

Swiss Cities in Depth: Lugano
If you're gonna go to Franklin, you should learn a few things about
 Lugano :)

Top Five Resources for Prospective Students: 
A great read for anyone looking into FUS! It does need some updating so I will do that before graduating :) The nice thing is that all the links are still working!

All About the LLLS Program:
Did you know you can gain working experience while attending FUS? Find out more in this post! 

10 things I've learned while at FUS:
Some great insights into what life is like as an FUS student.

All About Transportation:
So yes, some things need updating on this post, but most of the information is still super relevant. This provides all the insight into travel via bus, train, and planes. 

Advice about Franklin Q&A:
The first 2 writers of this blog (Jessica and Morgan) graduate, and share their insights to future and current FUS students. 

A Definitive Guide to Course Registration! 
Fun fact, I wrote this post! I offer my 2 cents for course registration/academic plans from my extensive knowledge as a 2-time Academic Mentor. 

Housing 102: The Ultimate (and UPDATED) Guide on FUS Dorms! 

Fun fact, I also wrote this post! A gigantic post that covers pretty much everything you would want to know about FUS dorms from my extensive knowledge gained from giving tours for Admissions for 2 years. 


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