First-years, ‘There is no magic formula’

By: Chris Zimmer – Columnist

I have had the privilege and honor to carry on a family tradition unlike most—that is, attending the University of Dayton. My mother earned her bachelor degree in science and my father, his master degree in business administration. I’m set to get my degree in 2016, and my second youngest brother is going to be a freshman this year, too. I have seen the anxiety on his face when family and friends ask him questions about school. What are you going to study? What industry do you want to work in? What clubs are you going to join? Are you going to get an on-campus job? His response has been consistent: “I don’t know yet.” I’m sure many who are part of the class of 2019 can relate.

It doesn’t get any easier when you move away from home either. A lot is thrown at you during orientation, floor meetings, first week of classes and your first night out in the Ghetto. You have to learn how to balance your academics, health and getting along with your roommate and floor mates. It is no doubt a lot for someone age 17-19 to absorb.

You’re going to hear a lot of advice on how to have the best college experience, but there is no magic formula. There is no one-size-fits-all solution or step-by-step guide. You have to figure it out for yourself, and what that means to you will most likely be a lot different than someone else. However, there is one thing that helps: getting involved.

Whether you’re interested in going Greek, volunteering or joining a club sport—I reassure you there is some group out there for you. We all are unique with different interests and passions. Maybe it’s something new like participating in theater, playing Quidditch or running a triathlon? Maybe it’s joining the College Republicans, Democrats or Libertarians? Maybe it’s getting involved with Campus Ministry or becoming a River Steward? Maybe you even want to spray paint your body blue and join Red Scare to cheer on the Flyers? There are over 240 student organizations. There has to be something for you. Trust me, you don’t want to get in the routine of waking up, going to class and returning to your room—only to repeat the process.

I started writing for Flyer News my first semester as a student, but I still felt I could be contributing to the community in some way. The following semester I joined WUDR 99.5 and 98.1 FM and found an on-campus job with Facilities Management. I’ve been a part of them ever since. I’ve been mentored by my faculty advisers and bosses, made new friends whom I would have never met otherwise and increased my professional network. My college experience would have been completely different for the worse if I continued not to be engaged at our school.

I encourage all freshmen to hit up every table at this year’s “Up the Orgs” from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28. Give your contact information to three or five groups you have even a small interest in. Spend some time envisioning yourself a part of each group, give ’em a try and pick one or two to be a part of. You won’t regret it.

If you are interested in writing an op-ed for Flyer News, email Opinions Editor Steven Goodman at If you are interested in other opportunities at Flyer News—whether that’s reporting, designing, advertising, tweeting—email

Flyer News: Univ. of Dayton's Student Newspaper