'Go out and find what excites you'

August 29, 2022

Two Dearborn Wolverines — a senior and a graduate student — give student-to-student advice on what they’ve learned on their college journeys and give insight to help someone who's just starting out.

Photo of students walking on campus near the library.
Students walk to their classes during Fall 2022. Photo by Michigan Photography

Welcome to the first week of Fall 2022. You have your schedule and are ready for a fresh start. There are many people around campus who can help answer questions or give advice, like academic advisers, professors and more.

But, for this article, two Dearborn Wolverines — a senior and a graduate student —  are giving student-to-student advice. They share what they’ve learned on their college journeys and give some insight on what may help yours.

Photo of Roman Bruno

Meet Roman Bruno. He’s from Dearborn and went to high school in Detroit. Roman is a senior studying Communications and Public Relations. He enjoys watching and playing sports. While on campus, he works as the head equipment manager for the Men’s Ice Hockey team and The Michigan Journal’s sports editor. Off campus, he works as an intern/content contributor for the Woodward Sports Network.

Here’s what Roman has to say when reflecting on his first year:
“When I started my freshman year at UM-Dearborn back in 2019, I initially knew very few people. Despite being born and raised in Dearborn, college felt like unfamiliar territory.”

His advice:
If this is your first year, join freshmen/Incoming student programs.
“Speaking from experience, there are many programs to assist freshmen and incoming students during the semester. Two programs that I have been a part of and recommend would be the CRUISE to Success Program and the Wolverine Mentor Collective.

CRUISE — that stands for Connecting to Resources, University Involvement and Successful Experiences — reinforces what you learn at orientation, helping you grow personally, academically, and professionally. This program typically takes place during your first semester, assisting you throughout your journey and connecting you to new students. Goal setting is a big part of this program as well.

The Wolverine Mentor Collective pairs undergraduate and transfer students with a mentor, giving you a one-on-one dynamic throughout the year. Mentors are there to help you achieve your goals, introduce you to programs, resources, and student organizations, and answer any questions. This program is catered to the student, giving you the option to interact with your mentor in whatever way you need. Both programs are worth your while and can help you succeed as you navigate UM-Dearborn.”

Consider joining a student org and plan to attend some events.
“My high school used to preach a piece of advice that I still keep in mind today: ‘Do not be a 2:45 guy.’ This means not leaving school and going home after class, but, rather, staying for extracurricular activities and events. There are so many student orgs that cover a diverse array of interests and topics. There is something for everyone.

UM-Dearborn has student org fairs, which I would recommend attending. Even if you are not 100% sure you would join, at least reach out so you can stay in the loop. Sometimes you might have to get out of your comfort zone, which is a separate piece of advice altogether.

Students also have the opportunity to start their own student organizations. There is so much potential for students to grow through student orgs. Remember that it is not about the number of student orgs you join, but rather the quality of the experience. Try to not flood yourself with so many orgs that you cannot give them all equal attention. Especially during your first semester, join one or two to dip your toe in the water.”

Photo of CECS graduate student Rudra Mehta

Meet Rudra Mehta. He’s pursuing a Master of Science in Automotive Systems Engineering. He came to the U.S. from India in the Fall 2021 and now lives in Dearborn. He works as an ADAS engineer at Toyota North America and writes for UM-Dearborn’s Communications team. A soccer fan, his favorite club is FC Barcelona. When he has time, Rudra plays the guitar and the piano and likes to compose music.

Here’s what he has to say:
“I, too, was thrown into the deep end of collegiate life in my undergrad and I came out pretty much unscathed — willing to do it once again for grad school. So I know a thing or two about surviving a new place (and thriving).”

His advice:
Hang out at places where your classes are held.
“Explore the buildings where your department and classes are located, and you’re bound to come across news and opportunities. For example, engineering students can discover a plethora of information just by visiting the Engineering Lab Building (ELB) and the Institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems (IAVS) and the Heinz Prechter Engineering Complex (HPEC). In addition, the Mardigian Library is a great place to study, hang out or just explore for all students at UM-Dearborn, and you’ll be engaging with a variety of people in no time.

If you are more comfortable checking out what’s happening on your phone or laptop, Victor’s Link is the all-in-one hub to search. You can read up on and join any club or organization on campus. In addition, Victor’s Link has a handy calendar of events that you can attend whenever you can. You will find associations for various subjects like mathematics and engineering, language clubs, political and human rights groups, and social organizations like Greek Life.”

Give yourself time to adjust.
“Not everyone who enters a university fits right in from Day 1. It might take you time. And that’s OK. So get involved at your own pace, but don’t miss out on the incredible opportunities that may arise from being involved academically and socially on campus. The connections and networking you create during these years will last you a lifetime. Go out there and find what excites you. Good luck!”

Roman Bruno is the Michigan Journal’s sports editor. He also writes about his experiences on UM-Dearborn’s student blog.

Rudra Mehta is a student editorial assistant in the UM-Dearborn External Relations department. He shares his experiences, along with what’s happening around campus, through photography and news articles