Things To Know As an ECU Freshman

There are many things that I wish I knew before I started my journey at East Carolina University in 2016, but as I enter my senior year and look back on the past three years, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am grateful for what I have accomplished, what I’ve learned, the friends and memories I have made and even the hardships I had to overcome because they made me the person I am today. Being a Pirate has been an incredible journey, however, I wish I would have had someone let me in on a few tips to make the transition a little easier. So, to prepare you for the next four (and best) years of your life here are my 5 tips on things to know as an incoming freshman at ECU:


  1. Find your niche.

Getting involved in clubs and organizations on campus is not only a great way to meet people, but to explore subjects you are passionate about. Exploring Engage is a way to find student organizations, recreation activities, and service opportunities to help you dive into the ECU community. If you grew up playing sports in high school and still want to be a part of a team, ECU offers club and intramural sports. Getting involved in something that you love can make the college transition easier and more comfortable!


  1. Get to know your professors and advisors.

Let me let you in on a little secret…professors and advisors WANT to help you, so let them. A little effort can go a long way in this department, so try introducing yourself to your professors after class and attend their office hours!  It’s okay to not know what you want to do as a freshman, advisors can help you explore options and areas of study that you are passionate about. They can even help you develop a four-year plan for exactly what you need to take. (This plan might sound overwhelming, but it takes a lot of stress off of you!) If you are someone like me and end up changing your major two times, it’s okay! My advisor helped me find an area of study I love and stay on my graduation track.


  1. Take advantage of ECU resources.

You will definitely hear the lecture on attending the writing center from a professor or two, and you might not realize that you need help until you get your paper back. There are times I wish I would have taken the extra step and had someone help me look over my paper, or even just my sources. The University Writing Center can help you with any stage of the writing process (brainstorming, edits, formatting, sources etc.) You will do many different forms of writing in college and this is a great resource to utilize. If you are struggling in a particular course or with a homework assignment visit the Pirate Academic Success Center, I wouldn’t have aced my Spanish 3 final without their help! ECU also provides an ear to listen. The Center for Counseling and Student Development is a place to turn to when you are struggling with personal, relationship, developmental or academic challenges.


  1. Take chances.

This one I would like to put an extra star beside. First of all, take as MANY chances as you can. College presents a lot of opportunities to get involved, network with professionals, and take on leadership roles. Don’t worry if your friends aren’t doing it with you because everyone has a different and unique college experience. Coming into my freshman year at ECU, I would have told you I was too shy to take on a leadership role, but I have been on the Executive Board of my sorority and in a National Society for my major. I took a leap outside of my comfort zone and it has benefitted me so much. This is the time to try something new and take a chance.


  1. Take care of yourself.

You might say this is self-explanatory, but the first year of college can be very overwhelming and stressful. Yes, the all-nighters at Joyner with your friends and that third cup of Starbucks are priceless first year memories, but too many of these nights might not be the best idea. You probably have it in your mind that college is about never getting sleep and consuming too much caffeine, because that’s what I thought too. My immune system shot that thought down pretty quickly. Take care of yourself and get adequate sleep so you can function in your 9 AM the next day. Take advantage of the Recreation center and burn off some stress with your roommate! (Exercise creates endorphins and endorphins make you happy!) The Campus Recreation and Wellness Center is there for a reason, so don’t put it off like most of us like to do, go! This transition in your life is a big step, so it is very important to listen to your body and properly take care of it in order to make this year, and the rest of your years at ECU the best they can be.



My name is Kari Duncan and I am a rising senior Communication major at ECU and work as the Social Media Coordinator for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. I am a member of Chi Omega Sorority and The Public Relations Student Society of America on campus. I enjoy trying new restaurants, traveling, title boxing and cheering on the Pirates!