Navigating Freshman Year: A Letter to First-Year College Students

A headshot of a St. John's University Junior Student
By Jazmyne S. Easley

In this letter, I share insights into navigating freshman year, from discovering my niche through campus involvement to transforming roommates into lifelong friends.

My name is Jazmyne Easley ’23CCPS, and I am a graduate student majoring in Homeland Security and Criminal Justice Leadership at The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies at St. John’s University. 

Congratulations on all your accomplishments thus far that have led you to the most exciting part of your journey! 

Get Involved on Campus. 

Birdseye view of Taffner Fieldhouse during 2024 Activities Fair with students learning about activities at tables

The best way to explore campus is through getting involved. Attending a variety of organization and/or club meetings allows you to find the best fit for your personality. 

I attended a University spring activities fair during my junior year, which led me to join the Marketing Club. I participate on the flyer/graphics committee drafting flyers for upcoming events. This experience has been very empowering because it has allowed me to develop new skills, expand my network, and gain confidence in my abilities to contribute meaningfully to a community.

Related:  Seven Ways to Elevate Your College Experience

Embrace the Roommate Experience. 

Your experience with roommates can either be horrible or blissful. Throughout my academic journey, I have lived with several diverse individuals. I am grateful that my first-year roommate turned into my best friend of five years. The dorm dynamic isn’t always a positive experience; to try to get the best roommate match, utilize the college housing portal to connect with diverse students seeking an extraordinary first-year experience like yourself. 

Explore Unique Opportunities.  

St. John's College Student Trip to DC

There will be many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities available throughout your college journey. For example, last year I was selected to attend the Alumni Insider’s View… program in Washington, D.C. I was very interested to hear from successful St. John’s alumni as they shared their academic and career experiences. Other trip highlights included tours of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Museum, Federal Bureau of Investigation Headquarters, and the US Capitol. 

Homesickness is Normal. 

Every college student goes through different stages of homesickness throughout their college journey. During my first year, it took me a while to adapt to a new environment. Even though it is difficult to shake the feeling of missing home, it can be managed through positive reinforcements. 

I recommend participating in extracurricular activities because you can meet like-minded individuals who remind you of your home. Journaling is a great outlet to relinquish your feelings of sorrow. Lastly, attend fun events on campus to catch a vibe and meet new people. 

Related: Handling Homesickness at College: Tips and Strategies

College is a Great Place to Explore Entrepreneurship. 

St. John's University Student Company Logo, which is the letter "G" and the words Glamour Lash Bar !NC

I founded my beauty and personal care business called GlamourGirl Lash Bar !NC in September 2020. My company was created in honor of my great-grandmother, whom I lost to colon cancer. Throughout my college journey, I searched for ways to showcase my brand to other students. Last year, I collaborated with Bumble, an online dating and networking application, to recognize small business owners and feature my products at their Valentine’s Day pop-up shop. 

Build Your Support System. 

Your group of friends will change throughout life; however, college is where you can find your core group who will ultimately become your lifelong friends. Whatever you endure during your academic journey, you can depend on their support. 

Related: How to Make Friends in College: 5 Practical Tips

Here is My Final Piece of Advice.  

My college experience differs from my friends’ academic journey at their universities. Never allow the trials and tribulations you encounter to deter you from pursuing your dreams. College is a once-in-a-lifetime experience; embrace all opportunities. I have become the successful individual I am today based on my unique college experience. 

Jazmyne S. Easley

Graduate Student

Jazmyne Easley is a graduate student completing her master’s degree in Homeland Security & Criminal Justice Leadership in 2024. Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. She is a volunteer admin for the Philadelphia Walk to End Alzheimer’s Facebook Group. Jazmyne seeks to continue her advocacy under the Alzheimer’s Association & American Cancer Society as she prepares to apply for Law School in the next academic session.