On Aug. 20, 2020 the University of Georgia begins classes, welcoming students on campus as they initiate reopening after being closed since March and moving all classes online due to COVID-19. Many students wore masks when inside buildings and when walking around campus. (Photo/Caroline Head, chead@randb.com)

As National Decision Day approaches, high school seniors are finalizing their college plans. On May 1, these students will commit to their home for the next four years — and the University of Georgia could be that place.

Freshmen across the country have dealt with an unprecedented first year of college. As they move onto their second year, they imparted some words of wisdom for the incoming class.

Anushka Bhumkar, mechanical engineering major


“This definitely took me a while to realize, but don’t just stay in your room all year. It can be really intimidating to go out and meet new people, but you have to realize that other people are also in the same boat. You’ll find your people and even a group of people that you’re meant to be with.”


Sam Janasik, economics and MIS major


“Stay ahead on your schoolwork. You can have more fun later on, and it will make your life so much easier if you aren’t procrastinating and just barely getting everything done in time. You’ll be able to get the most out of your experience here if you aren’t constantly worried about things that are due that night.”


Kate Winters, environmental engineering major


“Say yes. If your hallmate knocks on your door the day you move in and asks if you want to go get dinner, say yes. They’re a perfect stranger, but the really awesome thing about coming to college is that for that first day, week, month or even semester, everyone is in the same boat. ... I think that’s the really beautiful thing about starting college — you can just talk to anyone!”


Nick Cosby, political science major


“Don’t try to do too much. I started working as soon as COVID began, and I would work 40-45 hours a week. When school started, I kept that up and it worked for me last semester, but this semester I’ve really had to cut back. Once your classes start getting hard it’s harder to keep up. “


Justin Kim, pre-med biochemistry major


“Try not to stay in your room too much, but know that things come with time as well. Don’t be in a huge rush to try and figure out who you are or who you want to be — it will all come with time. The first few months are always the hardest, but just know that you have to stick it out through the hard parts and you’ll find what you’re looking for eventually.”

Martina Essert is an aspiring cultural reporter and is passionate about telling the stories of underrepresented communities. Essert is pursuing a degree in journalism with minors in international affairs and political science.

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