OPINION: Three important steps to take your freshman year

By VIRAJ PATEL Columnist

Looking back at my freshman year, I realize I made three decisions that made me who I am. I want to encourage you to take these steps as freshmen. 

My first suggestion is to join a club you know nothing about. 

My freshman year at the student organization festival, I walked up to a table that said Jackrabbit Forensics. For a 19-year-old from Mumbai, India, who watched a lot of “CSI” and “White Collar,” the term “forensics” had only one meaning: scientific inquiry into crimes.

I was wrong. 

Jackrabbit Forensics is the speech and debate team at South Dakota State, and they compete in events nationally. Unknowingly, I joined the team and it changed my perspective on American culture, as well as world events. Join a club or an organization you don’t know anything about. It will be worth it. 

Second, I urge you to change your major or add a minor. My involvement with Jackrabbit Forensics convinced me to pursue a major in communication studies. 

Changing majors proved to be the best change I made in my life. It helped open floodgates of opportunities, which in turn increased my involvement across campus and in the community. 

Changing a major is a huge step, so you might consider adding a minor. Most minors might fit into your program by taking one or two extra classes.

Finally, I urge you to write up a four or five-year plan. In my Honors first-year seminar, I had to create a document that reflected my four-year plan at SDSU.  

My plan changed, and your plan will most likely change. However, it will make classes easier, looking for and fitting in minors, as well as carving out the possibility of studying abroad. So make three changes during your freshman year: join a club you don’t know anything about, change your major or add a minor and create a four-year plan.


Viraj Patel is a speech and communication Major and can be reached at [email protected].