Global Security and Intelligence Studies major Alix Craft (’26?) relaxes on the quad at Embry-Riddle's Prescott Campus. (Photo: Embry-Riddle / Connor McShane) Global Security and Intelligence Studies major Alix Craft (’26?) relaxes on the quad at Embry-Riddle's Prescott Campus. (Photo: Embry-Riddle / Connor McShane)
Global Security and Intelligence Studies major Alix Craft (’26) relaxes on the quad at Embry‑Riddle's Prescott Campus. (Photo: Embry‑Riddle / Connor McShane)

Global Security and Intelligence Studies Major Looks Back on Freshman Year

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Sophomore student Alix Craft has some advice for incoming students to help you make the most out of your freshman year.

Hello everyone! I’m Alix Craft, a Global Security and Intelligence Studies student at Embry‑Riddle's Prescott Campus. I just finished up my freshman year, and I wanted to provide some advice to help any students that will soon be coming to college.

Leaving Home for College

This can be very scary for most people, especially if they have never been on their own or if they are moving from a town far away. I want to emphasize that it is okay to be scared or nervous, but the most important thing to remember is that you have the power to make this a change that benefits you. It may be tough at the start, but I promise you will get adjusted to everything.

Make sure that when you come to school, you make time to talk to any friends or family. This will make your change easier knowing that they’re there for you.

My next tip is to make sure to learn how to do necessary tasks before you come to school, like cooking, laundry and dishes. You will need these skills at some point in your life and learning them before you get to college will help so much!

New Relationships

Whether you’re shy or super social, you should prioritize finding at least a few good friends early in the year. You don’t have to stress yourself out trying to be friends with everyone; just try to start some conversations here and there with any people you enjoy being around. Creating strong friendships early on will make your college experience so much bettertrust me!

Don’t forget that you don’t have to be friends with everyone, but make sure to stay respectful to everyone! You never know when you could see someone again, whether in college or in your career, so it never hurts to be nice.

As far as romantic relationships go, do not force anything. If you do find someone, make sure to prioritize focusing on schoolwork and keeping some independent time for yourself

Money and Working 

So many students worry about spending and saving money in college. What worked best for me was to work in high school and the summer before college to make money so that I didn’t have to stress during the school year.

I’d also recommend making a budget that includes money for any groceries, meals at restaurants or weekend activities.

My last recommendation is to not buy things you don’t need. You’ll thank yourself in the long run if you can spend money on necessities instead of something impulsive. But overall, don’t stress if your money starts to go quickly. Reevaluate how you're spending, decide if you need to make any changes, then continue with your life.


Now for some advice on the most important part of college. The best advice I received my freshman year came from Dr. Tyrone Groh, who emphasized focusing on genuinely learning instead of only focusing on your grade. So many students have learned their whole life to do whatever they can to get an A, and when the course is over, they retain very little information.

It took me a while to unlearn this idea of good grades over everything, but once I started focusing on truly understanding and learning the material, my college experience felt so much more worth it. Besides, your future employer will care more about the skills you have retained compared to whether you got an A in a freshman college course.

Next, go to office hours! Especially at Embry‑Riddle, professors are there to help you and they care about your learning. 

While academics come first, do remember it’s just as important to have a balance between your school and social life as to not get burnt out too quickly.

Career Opportunities 

My first piece of advice is to attend career fairs and any company information sessions. You might feel like these events aren’t important, especially as a freshman, but it’s never a bad idea to put yourself out there so companies can start to recognize and get to know you. 

Don’t be afraid to reach out to industry professionals as well! You can start by simply asking for student and career advice, or you can ask about opportunities you can take advantage of, such as internships or mentorships.

Embry‑Riddle is Here for You

Going to college is a big change that can be stressful for anyone. But if you take things one step at a time, focus on yourself, keep a positive mindset and keep in touch with family and friends, you will be adapted to college life in no time. If you ever have any questions, the faculty and staff at ERAU are always there to help.

If you’re looking for more information about becoming an Eagle, you can always reach out to enrollment staff to learn more about becoming a student at Embry‑Riddle today!

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