Ziel: Get ahead on success, freshmen

Renee Ziel

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

The 2019 fall semester has arrived, which heralds new Colorado State University students into the dorms and dining halls.


People, particularly young people, often report feeling lost when it comes to their futures. Some people change majors, some people may not know what they’re good at and some people may have goals but don’t understand how to achieve them.

The most important thing for freshmen to know is that college is no joke and neither is the world outside of school.

The cost of college has risen drastically, sending young people into a debt the older generations who caused it cannot understand. In fact, Nitro College reports about one-quarter of all Americans owe a total of $1.5 trillion in student debt — and counting. 

Because of the cost, it’s important not to waste time while pursuing higher education. For the thousands of dollars we are spending to be at the University, and the thousands of dollars in debt we are taking on, it is imperative that we focus on our careers as soon as possible.

The first step in doing so is to find what you’re good at, and most importantly, what you enjoy. In some cases, what you enjoy may not make the most money, but skills translate well. For instance, art studies teaches things like creativity and focus. In jobs that require teamwork and dedication, these abilities will apply there too.

Do not only find what you enjoy, but find the skills that you have and can learn in college. Apply that to jobs and, ultimately, a lifelong career. Once one figures out what they are good at and enjoy, they should find internships and jobs that work toward their ultimate goal. It goes without saying that your declared major has much to do with not only the skills you have, but passion.

It’s essential that those seeking success grab those opportunities by the horns, and under no circumstances should they let them go.

Stepping into college with a determined view of your adult life is crucial. Advisers tend to speak on the fact that majors can be changed, but there is a substantial waste of money and time in attending classes that don’t apply to the major you want. Going into college with a firm picture of how your studies will play out helps in the long run and saves hundreds of dollars.

This advice does not only apply to first years, although it’s more important that group hears it. If you’re lost at any time in your college life, turn to the many clubs and organizations CSU has to offer — there are well over 500. Someone wishing to do social work can turn to an advocacy club. Future journalists can look into local media organizations. Aspiring brewers can turn to the 400 breweries in Colorado, a state well known for its craft beer.

It’s important in a budding adult life to have fun and take care of yourself outside of education. However, the University, Fort Collins and the world are full of opportunities for bright young people with visions of their own. It’s essential that those seeking success grab those opportunities by the horns, and under no circumstances should they let them go.

Renee Ziel can be reached at letters@collegian.com or online at @reneezwrites.