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First Year Advice

New students walk through Talley Student Union during orientation.

Is your student about to start their first year at NC State? That can bring a lot of stress and anxiety for both parents and students. Here are some tips for parents and their students as you enter this new stage in life together. 


  • It’s okay to lose friends. You will make new ones, I promise. You will gain the most amazing friends who will support you through everything. This is a big change, and you will change. It’s okay for your friend group to change as you grow. 
  • DON’T STEP ON THE SEAL! The seal is Talley Student Union is a special place for NC State students and you should ensure you don’t step on it before you graduate. It is said that if you step on the seal, you won’t graduate in four years. 
  • That being said, embrace change. A lot is going to change, and that is a good thing! You will grow in ways you didn’t think possible and that can be really exciting! 
  • Join clubs! Discover new passions, while gaining new friends and experiences! 
  • Listen to yourself and trust your instincts. You know what you’re comfortable with. As I said, a lot will change, but you need to trust yourself and build boundaries that you are comfortable with and stick with. Trust me, do this early, and don’t forget who you are. You got yourself this far, trust yourself, you got this. 
  • Get to know your professors and advisors. Get to know everyone. Shamelessly talk to everyone, you never know where one conversation will lead or who you may end up meeting. The connections you make here can bring you far and lead to amazing things. 
  • Finally, get rain boots or sneakers that won’t slip on wet brick!! I promise you, the brick gets incredibly slippery and it isn’t fun to walk into class covered in mud and water because you fell down on the way to class.


  • Trust your student. They will be okay, you have taught them how to thrive and now it is time for them to put what you taught them to the test. 
  • Encourage your student to join clubs and explore new experiences. A new passion may be waiting for them right around the corner. 
  • You can get involved too! Join Pack Family Regions and meet other Wolfpack Families in your community! 
  • Embrace this change! You have done a fantastic job getting your student to this point. Take a moment to be proud of your student and of yourself. This change may be difficult, but that’s okay! Support your student and allow them to grow and become their best selves. 
  • Allow your student to lead the communication. Allow them to create a communication plan. You can initiate the conversation, but allow them to decide how they are going to check in with you. This can be a weekly call, nightly texts, or something in between. You will find what works best for your family, but make sure to establish this early. 
  • Don’t rush to campus at the first sign of distress! This is going to be a change for everyone, but students need to stay on campus until they can start to feel comfortable living in this new space. Allow them to feel homesick and encourage them to stay on campus until they work through it and build a home on campus. 

As a senior about to graduate, I hope this helps new students and their families get acclimated to this new experience. It is going to be a rollercoaster of emotions as you all embark on this journey, and you should embrace it! You both got this! 

  • Rebecca Osborne