Welcome to what many nostalgic adults will call “the best four years of your life.” They may also be the four years of your life when you most consistently feel like you’re pretending to know how to do things when you really have no idea, when you will learn how to sleep through just about anything, and when you sometimes won’t remember the last time you ate a vegetable. But with some good friends by your side to laugh about it with, those things will all become part of the fun.
Like I said, a lot of college is “faking it until you make it.” Don’t be afraid to sit at the fireplace in The Commons and watch for a minute until you get the hang of how things work the first time. Don’t be afraid to take that job or opportunity you’re offered even if you maybe humble-bragged a hair past the point of reality on your resume.
But you do learn a thing or 200 outside the classroom along the way, and I thought I’d try to give you a boost in the right direction:
- Never use the hand towel in the bathroom at a house party. Don’t ask why, just know that this is what jeans were made for.
- Be nice to the folks working at The Commons and The Pilot House. Their job legitimately requires dealing with hangry college students all day. Also, they feed you — if you have to ask why you should be nice to the people that feed you, your mom was way too patient.
- Please, for the love of the Jesus statue, do not walk in clumps that clog the sidewalk. I don’t care how fast you think you walk, there is someone who wants to be moving faster and if your squad is taking up the whole path, you will be identified as an annoying freshman. As Beyonce advises, get in formation and walk two-by-two.
- Call home at least once a week (ish). I wanted this to be the non-clichéd freshman advice column, but some things are clichéd for a reason. Case in point: As great as it is to get wrapped up in the excitement of college, your parents or siblings or high school friends still want to know that you are alive and well. It’s a very awkward conversation when your RA knocks on your door to let you know that your parents called them to ask if you are OK.
- All night-ers are not worth it. Sleep > feeling like death during a test. Always.
- That being said, study more than you think you’ll need to for your first round of exams. Whether you were an A-student or a C-student in high school, the playing field is leveled by the new style of teaching and testing you’ll experience in college. But it’s better to be over-prepared than to bomb the midterm and have to play catch-up the rest of the semester. Start studying early to avoid No. 5.
- Cooperate with Public Safety and law enforcement. Try not to have to interact with them in a situation where this comes into play, but if you do, cooperate.
- Don’t be afraid to say what you don’t know. I can’t tell you how frequently I use the phrase, “this is a silly/pitiful/dumb question, but *insert said question here*” — people are almost always willing to help.
- But (as said before because it’s important), don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone just because it’s something you’ve never done before or are not quite sure how to do it or if you’ll be good at it. We’re the city of Nike, people; just do it (so long as “it” is not harmful to you or other people, and does not violate No. 7).
- Get in touch with, write to, read and otherwise engage with The Beacon. We’re here for you. And on that point, getting involved on The Bluff in other ways is something 10/10 would recommend.