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Survival Guide: Words of Wisdom

22 August 2014 2 Comments

There’s no better way to introduce new students to campus than by getting advice from students, faculty and staff who have been on campus for several years. The Towerlight solicited advice from some of the most well-known figures on campus, the best possible way to kick off our 2014 Survival Guide.

Becky Wiacek, Student Government Association Vice President

College is going to turn your world upside down, and you are going to love it.  It’s OK to be confused.

It’s OK to be homesick. It’s OK to be lost, and it’s OK to be scared.  You are going to be a stronger version of yourself because of the challenges you will face on a day-to-day basis.

With that being said, take advantage of all of the unique opportunities Towson University has to offer!

Whether it is hopping on a bike that powers a blender to make your own free smoothie, networking with your favorite professor, attending an on-campus event just to get the free T-shirt, or taking a leadership position in a student group that piqued your interest, college is a time for you to take ownership of how you want to spend your day.

Towson offers everything and more for you to enjoy your time in college, so go out there and make it count!

Timothy Chandler, Provost

1. Be the author of this chapter of your life. Take charge of your education.

2. Own the experience of being a Towson student. Represent yourself and Towson well.

3. Personalize the Towson experience. Take responsibility for seeking out what you want and what you need.

4. Get involved both in and out of the classroom. Those who get involved do better academically and benefit more completely from their TU experience.

5. Step outside of your comfort zone. Take some risks — always ensuring that they are carefully measured and thoughtful risks.

6. Graduation is a significant but short-term goal, while education is an essential and lifelong process. Use the former to foster the latter.

Mickey Lawler, Inter-Fratnernity Council President

Getting involved is the best way to ensure that the next fours years of your life at Towson are your best yet! Whether it’s Greek Life, Student Government Association, University Residence Government, or any student group, as long as you find somewhere you belong and enjoy spending your time, you’re on the path to success at Towson.

I encourage everyone to spend some time checking out all that Greek Life has to offer: community service, philanthropy events, future job opportunities, and a great social life, but I also recognize that Greek Life isn’t for everyone. As long as you are somehow involved on campus, or in the community you’ll be happier than if you sit in your dorm on the weekends.

Involvement fairs are a great way to meet many of the student groups that Towson has to offer. In addition, many student groups have their own information sessions during move-in weekend, the event Welcome to Towson, for example.

Be sure to stop by the Greek Life welcome tents on move-in day and the Welcome BBQ hosted by the Center for Student Diversity and Greek Life on Aug. 26, on the College of Liberal Arts field by the tiger statue for free food and entertainment.

Andrew Reiner, English and Honors College professor

Welcome to Towson University incoming freshmen and transfer students! And welcome back seasoned TU veterans.

If there is one thing I wish for you during your time here at Towson, it’s that you go back and watch reruns of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

Seriously. Get on to pbskids.org/rogers/video, watch this guy — and take notes.

Keep these notes and revisit them often. There is no better professor anywhere than Fred Rogers.

If you can get past his oft-lampooned voice and manner, he will teach you all you need to know about life, work, how to treat others (including strangers, because they matter, too) and, most importantly, about yourself.

Look, there’s no question that you will learn a lot of important knowledge during your time here at Towson that will serve you well in your chosen profession.

But Mr. Rogers?

He will teach you (or, just as importantly, remind you about) all the wisdom you need to live a meaningful, productive, and, in turn, happy life — now and later. And that, my friend, is the endgame.

At the very least, Mr. Rogers will give you a much-needed compass on those days when you feel like you’re seriously losing your bearings about life, love, friends, school. Use him as a GPS.

Good luck, and welcome, neighbor!

Ray Feldmann, Director of University Communications

Welcome to the Towson University family.  Those are not just words on a page. You will find there is a sense of family here, a Towson University culture that is sometimes hard to define but is real nevertheless.

Immerse yourself in that culture. Become part of it. Say “Hi” to people you don’t know.

Sit next to someone who is alone. Stop and help someone who looks lost. Often the four most comforting words you can hear are, “Do you need help?”

Join an organization or a club.

Support our athletics teams.  It really is a great time to be a Towson Tiger. Be careful what you post on social media. Words and images could negatively impact your student experience and your reputation.

Employers do check your social media profiles. You might think a tweet has been be deleted or a “snap” erased, but by then, the damage has been done.

Find a mentor, someone who can help you navigate your years here at Towson. Work hard. Study. Get good grades. A 3.5 GPA looks a lot better on a resume than a 2.5.  Most importantly, have fun! These will be the best years of your life…so far. So enjoy every minute of them!

Richard Vatz, professor in the Department of Leadership and Professional Development

OK new students…Editor Munshaw has asked some administrators, faculty and students to give you advice, and my first piece of advice is to follow the others’ advice because I know them, and they have good judgment.

So what do I offer? Well, I have two children who have graduated from college in the past 10 years, and I have been teaching at this great university for 40 years. So let’s cut to the chase. Here is some advice for your social science and humanities classes, as they offer the greatest opportunity for you to foster the marketplace of ideas on campus in class and out of class.

1. Periodically, challenge your professors and classes with well-researched questions. Notice that your history professor in praising our 16th president leaves out the fact that Abraham Lincoln said in his first inaugural address that he had no “purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists?” Ask him or her about it.

2. Belong to a student organization? Ask your fellow students why they don’t support this great university by going to football, basketball, lacrosse and other athletic events. The student attendance at our tremendous sports events has been deplorable in the last bunch of years. Speak up.  I am considering giving an “incomplete” to my students who don’t go to games this year.  Unfair? Let’s discuss it.

Freshpeople and transfer students, you are here to think, question and debate. You have, in my opinion, as excellent and decent a faculty and administration as exists in Maryland. They need actively thinking students. Welcome to our and your great Towson University. Make it even better.


  • Alex Storrs said:

    I didn’t notice anybody advising “go to class”. You have a lot of freedom in college: nobody comes after you if you don’t show up. You are still responsible for the material and asking your professor what you missed is not a good way to get that information. Ask your classmates– you will be doing them a favor, by making them recall what happened, thereby pushing it into long-term memory.

  • Ron Vibbentrop said:

    “Freshpeople” ??? What does that mean? It’s freshman regardless of whether you are a man or a woman. It’s a title or rank, not a gender.

    The government (US Naval Academy) confirms this with the title ‘midshipman’ given to both men and women first years.

    Let’s not make up nonsense words, please!

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