I remember the moment I stepped onto campus, doe-eyed and actually legitimately afraid. Yup, I was terrified. In a couple of hours, I would be completely on my own. Nobody would be there to lecture me on the importance of organization in my place nor would anyone be there to have dinner with me every night. Nobody would be there consistently to make me feel better when I had a rough day. It would be….weird. But as a student entering her junior year (I’ve been in the saddle long enough to no longer feel like that “little fish”), I’ve compiled these lessons and stored them into my brain to clear up some of the worries (even the irrational ones!) that you guys may end up having prior to or at the moment of realizing that you are living somewhere completely new and every little thing is on you, buddy. No one will be holding that hand of yours through this whole thing unless you’re coming on campus the boo.
Fear: I am going to have no clue how to get to my classes on the first day and everyone is going to point and laugh at me, the idiot freshman, because I am holding a “kick me” sign and wearing a neon-colored dunce hat due to the fact that I don’t yet have any sense of direction on campus.
Fact: Not true. Not true at all. On the inside, you’ll be doing all those things. But on the outside? You’re gonna be looking like everyone else. Face buried in your phone, probably dressed up picture perfect so you don’t make a bad impression on all those new friends you’re going to meet (because that’s usually how it works on the first day, which then deteriorates exponentially for every day that follows until you hit Final’s Week when the whole “style” thing goes downhill), and ridiculously early to your class. Seriously, you didn’t need to leave two hours early. There aren’t going to be teachers standing outside their classrooms like high school, but the students know their way around like the back of their hand, and they’re usually pretty chill about it. But realistically, that iPhone battery is definitely not gonna sustain during that period between the time of arrival and your actual class. Use the time to do some good ol’ traditional socialization. Look for someone that will have mercy upon you but avoid all eye contact with everyone else. THEY ALL WANT TO EAT YOU ALIVE. You’ll kill the game (no pun intended, of course!) before it even starts, Freshmeat. Seeeee? Socially Awkward Penguin gets it (disregard his name. He’s misunderstood).
Fear: If I don’t bring a car, then I can’t get food. And if I can’t get food, I’ll die. If I don’t bring a car, I’m going to die. I’m useless without my wheels!
Fact: Partially true, but you’re not going to die. Cars are like pure gold on a college campus, so if you have one, it’s great (and horrible) for you. But fear not if an automobile is not within your grasp! If you have a bicycle and can strategically maneuver through traffic with the weight of a week’s (or several weeks) worth of food on your handlebars, you can still get groceries off campus! But realistically, it’s best to just figure out who you’d rather spend your gas money on, whether it be a friend or a roomie. The bike is a flimsy last resort and has more potential of making you road kill, so keep that in mind.
Fear: I won’t have any time to eat in between classes, so maybe I should bring a three-course meal, some snacks, a Foreman portable grill, a spatula, some cooking spray, maybe some apple juice, or I could bring a juicer and bring some apples and whip some right up and….and I won’t starve. I’ll be ready for the famine.
Fact: I was guilty of this. My first year, I packed all kinds of food so I wouldn’t starve and it was really just… so needless. I had plenty of time to at least come back to my place and grab a snack and sometimes even change out of my sweaty clothes (Florida probs). It’s really all about how you coordinate your schedule. If you’re gonna put your classes back to back from 8:30 AM to 5 PM, you can’t expect there to be a break period. That mess is all your own doing. Give yourself a solid 30 minutes to an hour between the majority of your classes so you can keep both your physical and mental state in check. Your body and brain will thank you for not being a sucker. Plus, you’ll probably be skinnier, too, because the nervous-overeating will not be your problem, as you’ll have nothing but school supplies to consume in these moments. You’ll pick up something to munch here and there, maybe a couple notebooks and some ballpoint pens with full ink, and you won’t have to disturb your classmates with that clown car of a backpack. I mean, how much sh** can you really pull out of one backpack? And what really beats the taste of poison?
Got any tips for the incoming college Freshmen? Wanna let them know how to not die on the first day?