Pro Tips for Success at USF

What graduating students wish they’d known when starting at USF

By ANNIE BREEN, USF NEWS Posted Thu, 12/14/2017 - 10:02

For many incoming college first-year and transfer students, the first lesson they learn when arriving on campus is how much they don’t know. Ever wonder whether popping into a professor's office hours is worth the effort? Or who might be able to help you structure that 13-page essay? We ask seven students who've been there and done that. Here’s what they said.

Brett Arakawa ’17, Marketing

Think outside the classroom as well as inside it. USF is great for offering career-oriented classes, but one major can’t cover every possible skill you might need during your job search. When I started applying for full-time jobs my senior year, I found out that I needed to know at least a bit about HTML, Python, Adobe Creative Suite, analytics. So try to take classes across a range of skills. Also, start looking at job descriptions before your senior year, so you can prepare yourself better than I did.

Samantha Lim

Samantha Lim ’17, Accounting

Be open-minded and be on the lookout for new opportunities. Have the confidence to be a leader and take initiative when you have an idea, because nothing will change unless we take action. It can be nerve-wracking at first, but remember that everyone is in the same boat. We are all trying to figure out how everything works in college, what we plan to do in the future, and who we are as people.

 Kevin Kleine

Kevin Kleine ’17, Design

I would tell freshmen to get to know their professors. Stop by their office hours and say, "Hi."  They are a great resource — many have done impressive work and conduct interesting lives outside of USF. If you need help with schoolwork, one-on-one time with a professor is invaluable. 

 Nnenna Abaeze

Nnenna Abaeze MSN ’17, Nursing (Orange County Campus)

I wish I’d known how many resources were available to me, even on a satellite campus. I also wish I had utilized the writing center more. It’s one of the best resources available to USF students. The people there will help you with literally every single writing assignment you have, so make sure to visit at least once. 

 Emily Golike

Emily Golike MA ’17, International and Multicultural Education

I wish I'd known how easy it was to tailor my program to my specific research interests. Faculty are very supportive and open to helping you pursue subject matter that is important to you. The flexibility of the program requirements allowed me to take advantage of international programs and directed study, which made the program more personal.

 Ammie Agbuya-Gates

Ammie Agbuya-Gates MSN '17, Nursing

It's been 20 years since I received my undergraduate degree. My advice is coming from someone who's already had a career and gone back to school. I’d tell incoming students that a college education is an investment in your future. Use good judgment when deciding what your goals and priorities are. You will be changed as a result of the sacrifices you make to get those As and Bs, and building strong relationships with your peers and professors will help you to reach your objectives. Education will strengthen and inspire you to step boldly into the future with confidence and pride. Pursue it with excellence. Believe that you can and you will. 


Alyssa Avila

Alyssa Avila MSN '17, Nursing (Orange Campus)

For those new to USF, I would advise joining a club to connect them with their campus and community! Explore any clubs and associations you’re interested in, not just ones that seem specific to your program. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your professors about their personal stories. I found that hearing real life medical stories was a great way to enhance our textbook learning.