College freshmen tips for high school seniors

By Arianna Caiceros

A photo of Arianna wearing a dark orange sweater and glasses.As an incoming first-year college student, I didn’t have anyone actively in college to rely on for advice or to soothe my worries. I felt like I was going to college blindfolded by the insider knowledge I lacked. To support other students in my position and ease some of the anxious feeling of isolation, I created this infographic.

To provide different perspectives for this piece to guide other first-generation college students, I contacted fellow college freshmen from various colleges, including Grand Canyon University, Washington State University, and another Western Washington University student. Hopefully, this infographic can help lift that blindfold for younger students. The future seems daunting, but we’ve survived, and I hope other students understand that they can too!

Infographic with photos and words of advice for high school seniors.

Pictured in the “snapshot”

  • Top left: My “planner” on my phone from December 1, 2022, showcasing how busy (but fun) a day can be.
  • Top right:  PunkaPalooza with my suitemates (left to right) Maren and Margaret! Maren’s boyfriend is on my left. Western hosted some amazing punk bands and performers from WWU Royal Gambit Drag Club. The punk band “King Youngblood” was my favorite!
  • “Creating Home in Schools” Book: I attended a book talk hosted by the authors, one of whom is a WWU alumni and the other the current Chair of Secondary Education in the Woodring College of Education. As an emerging educator and Chicana, I love learning how to navigate the education system and how we can improve it for marginalized students AND teachers.
  • Next to the book: Me and my roommates (left to right) Fatima and Arleth enjoying a night out.
  • Underneath the planner: Me, one of my newest friends AJ, and their best friend Haley right before watching Princess and the Frog on the Old Main lawn, hosted by WWU’s African Caribbean Club and Associated Students Productions. Princess and the Frog is my favorite childhood Disney Princess movie!
  • 2023 Women of Color Empowerment: WWU hosted a dinner honoring women of color at WWU and involved in Bellingham. During the event, they created networking opportunities and announced the event’s scholarship winner at the end of the evening.
  • Duvalín: A friend from Spanish class decided to celebrate their friends on Valentine’s Day by creating a gift with their favorite candy and an even sweeter note! I savored my Duvalín 🙂
  • Building: A moody shot of Red Square during the fall quarter. Coming from Eastern Washington, the lush green landscape never ceased to leave me in awe.
  • Frog on the brick: A cute tradition at WWU is people painting the bricks around campus!
  • Snacks: Some lifesavers around campus were the food pantries open to every student! In the pantry near my dorm, sometimes we’d get shipments of chips, donuts, and even Little Caesars pizza and breadsticks, all for free. Since I also lived by our school’s farm, that pantry had a small fridge with fresh produce for anyone to take.
  • *not pictured: visiting office hours and eventually being offered letters of recommendation from professors because we got to know each other, studying around campus, racing to catch the bus, daily visits to the Hacherl Research & Writing Studio for papers, avoiding 8 am classes, and more.