Wise Words to the Class of 2024

UM students offer words of encouragement to the freshman class

The University of Mississippi provides an experience unlike any other college campus, and several upperclassmen have offered words of wisdom to help freshmen make the most of their time at Ole Miss. Photo by Logan Kirkland/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Last month, Ole Miss freshmen embarked on a milestone in their lives, the first week of college classes. They came from all over Mississippi, the United States and the world. Some didn’t have to travel more than five minutes.

While the University of Mississippi Class of 2024’s freshman year may not be the same experience as previous years, UM still provides opportunities and moments that create growth from freshman year to senior year, whether that be academically, professionally or personally. Whether it is joining one of the hundreds of student organizations that the university offers or walking to class on a campus that is regularly named one of the nation’s most beautiful, Ole Miss provides an experience unlike any other college campus. 

The Department of Marketing and Communications reached out to upperclassmen for advice they wish someone had given them during their freshman year.

Here are 10 quotes from fellow Ole Miss students to inspire you, Class of 2024, to make the most of freshman year:

• Erin Bridgman, a senior chemical engineering major from Pinehurst, North Carolina: “Never be afraid to talk to someone while socially distancing, of course. You never know if that person will be your friend for the next four years or the rest of your life.”

• Jesus Escobedo, a senior marketing major from Villanueva, Zacatecas, in Mexico: “If I could go back to tell my freshman-year self something, it would be to have fun while still focused on school. Also, it would be to get to know my professors sooner rather than later.” 

• Natalie Gorla, a senior marketing major from St. Louis: “Write everything down. If you’ve never started a journal, now is the time. Make a record of your own history: write down the name of the person who lives next door to you and the first class you went to. Document the times you feel at home at Ole Miss, and even the times when you’re scared. You’re going to meet such a wide range of people who are going to impact you in ways you cannot even begin to imagine. By your senior year, you’re going to look back and wish you could relive every experience one more time. Start now so you can hold onto the memories forever. Don’t let yourself forget them.”

• Ann Cannon Hoover, a senior public policy leadership major from Raleigh, North Carolina: “Make sure to write out your week with due dates before the week starts and develop time management habits. Focus on what you should be doing – i.e., wearing a mask and practicing social distancing – and don’t let the outside noise distract you from your academics.”

• Elena Howicz, a senior marketing major from Naperville, Illinois: “I would go back and tell my freshman-year self that every year of college changes, sometimes for the worse but a lot of time for the better. You meet new people all the time. Expect constant change. Be adaptable.”

• Gates Moore, a master’s student in accounting from Pinehurst, North Carolina: “Skipping class when you are not sick only hurts you. Make sure to go to every class when you are able, whether they are in Zoom or in-person.”

• Hannah Newbold, a senior integrated marketing communications major from Roswell, Georgia: “As a freshman, I was overwhelmed with all the different opportunities on campus. I got involved in everything I could and then struggled to maintain grades and friendships because of all I was doing. If there is one piece of advice I would have given to myself, it would be that it is OK to not do everything. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you’re struggling.”

• Michael Taplin, a junior integrated marketing communications major from Edwardsville, Illinois: “You need to have a homework schedule and stick with it throughout the semester. Even if you don’t have homework on selected days, still get ahead.”

• Jack Phillips, a senior marketing major from Cedarburg, Wisconsin: “I know everyone is worried about rush or fitting in, but just try to meet a lot of good people and get involved early. Remember to relax and enjoy yourself.”

• Anne Regan Watson, a senior communication sciences and disorders major from Jackson: “Never let yourself miss the opportunities given to you, because you may only get them once. Live your freshman life to the fullest and never look back and wish you did or didn’t do something. Remember that everything you do or decide is the right decision for you, so don’t hold back.”