Get ahead with this advice from UMSL seniors

From left: Sinhareeb Aloleiwi, Awa Konte, Jacob Krutzsch and Tahj Gayfield dropped their knowledge on the latest class of incoming students.

From left: Sinhareeb Aloleiwi, Awa Konte, Jacob Krutzsch and Tahj Gayfield dropped their knowledge on the latest class of incoming students. (Photos courtesy of the Office of Executive Events)

Hi, Tritons, new and returning! Welcome (back?) to UMSL! We (the UMSL Daily staff) are thrilled to have you on campus for the fall semester. We wanted to give you some advice to carry you through your first days and weeks of school but knew the thoughts of those who’d been there before you – aka fellow students – would be way more meaningful.

So, we reached out for tips from some of the UMSL Ambassadors, students who represent UMSL and help with official events.

Here’s guidance from seniors Tahj Gayfield, computer science; Jacob Krutzsch, economics; Sinhareeb Aloleiwi, pre-dental, biochemistry and biotechnology and chemistry; and Awa Konte, biology:

What’s the best way to make friends and build community at UMSL?

TG: Take time to talk to people you see consistently. If you sit next to the same person in class, have a short conversation with them before class starts. If you see the same person riding the shuttle every day, then talk to them while on the shuttle. Those consistent encounters can help build relationships.

JK: The way that I have made friends is through student groups and getting involved with my major. I know people that have really good friends from getting jobs on campus as well.

SA: In my opinion, the best way to make friends in UMSL is to join clubs and organizations on campus. I met most of my friends at UMSL through Pre-Dental Society and UMSL Ambassadors.

AK: Get involved. There is no shortage of clubs on this campus for people of all interests. Whether it’s with a religious community, an environmental organization, a volunteer-based club or leadership program, there is always something for everyone. And if the club doesn’t exist, create it. I met most of my close friends because I got involved. One of my friends got me to join the University Program Board and the Ambassadors program, and through the two, I’ve been able to talk to many people that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to interact with.

What are the most underrated spots on or off campus?

TG: Career Services. Their staff can provide you with the resources to land an internship or job. They also host numerous events and other opportunities that can prepare you for getting the job you want.

JK: That one is easy: the Sharon G. Levin Economics Resource Center. It’s helpful, a good place to study and the people are nice!

SA: The most underrated spots are the recreation center and tennis courts. I didn’t visit the recreational center until my second semester. I wish I had done it earlier.

AK: By no means am I an outdoors person, but I “discovered” this trail that’s right across from the RWC, and it’s kind of nice to just walk and run through by yourself or with friends. You can learn about the surrounding area, and you get to meet a lot of people in the community as well.

Another place is the Office of Student Involvement. The name may be off-putting to some, but you do not have to be part of an organization to hang out in there. There are study spaces, couches to just chill at and best of all, these huge bean bags that you can just nap on.

What do you wish you’d known as a freshman at UMSL?

TG: I wish I knew that it’s okay not to have the next 10 years of your life planned out or even what you want to do when you graduate. It’s okay not to know what the future holds for you. BUT, you still need to work towards something or at least try to figure out what you want to do.

JK: I think freshmen would like to know that the coffee on campus is better from Einstein’s than Starbucks.

SA: I wish I knew about the library services and the academic center earlier. That would’ve help me through tough exams.

AK: The number of people you are willing to call friends will decrease as the years go by. Everyone is on some kind of journey of self-discovery, whether they realize or not, and it will hurt knowing that those friendships are lost, but at the end of day, those who remain will stay through the good and the bad.

Anything else?

TG: Get out of your dorm room or apartment and go do stuff. Meet people. Have fun. Don’t spend your free time in your room. By secluding yourself in your room, you’re missing out on all the great experiences you can have in college.

AK: Do what’s best for you. No matter what other people say, only you can live with the decisions that you make, so don’t let regret, shame, and doubt be the reason you don’t do something.


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