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Learn From Your Peers

6 Pieces of the BEST Advice for Incoming Freshmen from Current Students

By: Madeline Paakkonen ’21

Two students in a Psych class.1. Explore outside your major. 

Exploration is essential to discovering your passions. You never know what may inspire, interest, or motivate you until you experience it. The topics discussed in Carthage’s required core classes may hold an undiscovered passion for you. Who knows?

“Use your interests and passions to decide your majors,” says recent graduate Grace Kozisek ’20, who majored in Chinese and chemistry, and minored in dance. “Pursuing your interests may help you find your ultimate career, instead of letting your potential career dictate your course of study. My best advice to new college students would be to have fun, be yourself, and don’t be afraid to explore.”

“Have fun,  be yourself, and don’t be afraid to explore.”

Analisa Follensbee ’21 discovered her passion and changed her major after taking an art class. “Honestly, I thought I would become a microbiologist during high school. I didn’t decide on becoming an artist/art historian until I took Oil Painting to fulfill my fine arts requirement. After taking this class, I started to seriously consider art as a real career path for me, and I ended up changing my major.”

 

Learn From Your Peers

2. Get help when you need it. 

Carthage staff and faculty are here to help you, and they want to! The Brainard Writing Center is a great resource for essay help, and the Center for Student Success offers assistance with a variety of different subjects. Take advantage of your professors’ office hours; stop in to go over homework, prepare for a test, or just say hello. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors or classmates. It’s also a great way to form connections and friendships.

“All of the teachers are so kind and supportive,” says Japanese and Spanish major Alex Rogers ’21. “In high school, I imagined that college professors were intimidating and strict, but that wasn’t the case at all. All of my professors are wonderful and helpful individuals.”

“All of my professors are wonderful and helpful individuals.”

“I think one of the best opportunities I’ve had has been being able to meet and work with professors one-on-one,” adds Michael Arient ’21, an IPE and accounting major. “At a small school, you really get to know your professors well, which is a great help when you need career advice or essay help.”

Ana Carolina Amadeu ’23, a political science and Spanish major from Brazil, believes that she’ll succeed because of the support of her professors. “[My professors and advisors] have shown me that it is okay to not know what you want to study just yet, but that they are there to help me make that decision. When I first came to Carthage, I was not sure about what major I wanted to study. After talking with so many different professors and my advisors, I feel a lot more confident now about what I am studying.”


Learn From Your Peers

3. Do what you love.

Finding a field you love is not only important to your happiness, but it will also invigorate your work and studies with passion and excitement. Don’t worry if you’re unsure of your path. Carthage will provide you with all the time, resources, and inspiration that you need to discover your passions.

“If there is something you love, do it,” says English with creative writing major Daniela Avilez ’21. “It’s not always good to be practical all the time. You’ll miss out on the things that actually make you happy.”

“If there is something you love, do it.”

Chinese major Matija Simic ’23 believes that studying comes easy when you are passionate about the topic. “Whatever your goals are for your major, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy yourself. If you are really doing something you love, the work will get done naturally. It’s up to you to keep that passion and ambition burning.”

“If you are really doing something you love,
the work will get done naturally.”

Learn From Your Peers

4. Work hard.

Walk into class with a good attitude and get your work done, upper-class students advise.

Japanese and Spanish major Alex Rogers ’21 states that people around you will notice the work you put in. “Put in the work outside of class. It will be noticeable to your teachers and to your peers when you give it your all.”

“It will be noticeable to your teachers and
peers when you give it your all.”

“Don’t underestimate the amount of work you need to do to succeed,” says Nathan Takahashi ’21, a music education major. “It’s tough, but it’s very rewarding when it all works out.”

“It’s tough, but it’s very rewarding then it all works out.”

A student receives his white coat during the Nursing Department's White Coat Ceremony.

5. Don’t worry, you will be rewarded for your efforts. 

At Carthage, there is an abundance of opportunities for every student. Getting involved in clubs and sports, attending on-campus events, and being an active participant in class can all help you gain connections with other students, faculty, and staff, which lead to opportunities. Carthage students publish undergraduate research, travel for international study tours, and participate in national conferences and competitions.

“I tell all freshmen to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself and to seek out anything they want but don’t see,” advises Kathryn Milschewski ’21, an English major and secondary education minor. “It is easy to not do anything in college, but it is more rewarding to be part of something and explore.” 

“It is easy to not do anything in college, but it is more
rewarding to be part of something and explore.”

Biology major and Kenosha native Giana Apostoli ’23 agrees that all students should participate in the clubs and organizations at Carthage. “Even though Carthage has a small student body, the number of clubs, organizations, and extracurricular activities offered here are what really expanded my experience at Carthage. If I had not participated in the groups I am in, I never would have met some of my closest friends, and I wouldn’t have the opportunities to further develop my knowledge in the things I am interested in.”

“If I had not participated in the groups I am in,
I never would have met some of my closest friends.”

“Entering college, I was sure nothing could match the happiness I felt in high school,” says Haley Aichholzer ’21, another English major and secondary education minor. “Yet, by involving myself in clubs and activities, along with having fantastic professors, my first year of school was wonderful.”

Students pose for a selfie before the 2019 Commencement Ceremony.

6. Finally, congratulate yourself!  

“Congrats to anyone on their way to Carthage, and good luck to those applying or searching for schools,” says graduate Austin West ’19, an exercise and sport science, management, and marketing major from Darien, Illinois. 

“Carthage is not just a college. It’s a place you can call home.”

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …

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