The Gessner Family Rules for College Success

Hi Everyone!

My name is Cole Gessner and I’m a rising senior from Pittsburgh, PA. I am currently working as a Senior Admission Interviewer within the Office of Undergraduate Admission – this job is hands down the best I’ve ever had, and I’ve loved every minute of getting to know our visiting students.

Now that the summer is winding down, I’d like to share my answer to the question I am most frequently asked by prospective students… “What advice do you have to an incoming college freshman?”

Behold ‘The Gessner Family Rules for College Success.” To give you some background information, my father also attended W&M, and before I left for school he ingrained in me his rules for college success. Even though he graduated in 1989, his rules are still remarkably relevant to today’s college student, and now that I’ve had a few years of experience under my belt, I’ve added a few of my own.  So here is our list, from two generations of the Tribe, on how to succeed here at William & Mary.

Never Miss, Never Fail

Avoid missing class at all costs! You can’t learn the material if you’re not present in the room, and being present aids in the retention of that information. Even if you have a bad night studying, when test days arrive, you’ll still remember at least something that you learned from being present in class. Obviously if you’re really sick or otherwise indisposed you shouldn’t go to class and spread your germs with your classmates, but if you are capable of going to class, you should.

Never Study in Your (freshman) Dorm Room

There is way too much potential for distraction in freshman dorms to get any school work done. People are always stopping by to ask if you want to go do this or that activity. During your first year on campus, when you’re still trying to find your place and discover the things you’re passionate about, it’s important to take advantage of those opportunities. However, that can mean your work can suffer as a result. Find a quiet spot on campus to get what you need to get done first.

Use Your Daylight Hours

This one is fairly straight forward, but if you have time in between classes, instead of going home to take a nap or watch Netflix, use that time to get some work done. That way, you don’t have to be up late doing work and you can keep your evenings relatively free to participate in all the awesome events we have occurring on campus!

Introduce Yourself to Your Professors

William & Mary students are really lucky to have the wonderful faculty we have working on our campus. Our professors bend over backwards to help and get to know their students and are guaranteed to be some of the smartest and most interesting people you will ever meet. That being said, you only help them with their jobs if you hold up your end of the bargain. Introduce yourself within the first couple weeks of class and let them know how excited you are about their class. It shows initiative and that you care about your education as much as they do!

Go Tribe,

Cole is a rising senior and interviewer in the admission office for summer 2016. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, he’s a government and psychology double major who uses words like “we” and “us” when referencing his favorite sports teams.

Categories: Academics, Campus Life, Student Blogs

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