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Collegiette Clue-Ins: The Freshmen Fears, Facts, and Fallacies!

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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?
Comment below!

 

Collegiette Clue-Ins: 5 Ways to Be An A+ Roommate Without Being Asked to Step Up Your Game!

Being in college provides many more challenges beyond the educational spectrum that require plenty more than booksmarts. I’ve compiled the lessons I’ve learned living in a college dorm and an on-campus apartment to provide you with some insight on how to be a great roommate to your new roommate and tactics to avoid awkward and uncomfortable situations in your new home! images

1. Take initiative to clean, even if you know that all the crumbs on the counter are from your midnight-munchin’ roommate. And DON’T be a jerk about it. It’s gross, it’s a hassle. I get it. But it can be a difficult thing when there are four people living in such a small apartment (thankfully this fall, it will be reduced to just one roommate!). Even if you all have your own bedrooms, there’s going to be some overlapping in the common areas (inevitably), and with that comes headbutting over where items should be placed. You’re not all going to come into the apartment with the same kind of living style in mind (that would be too easy!)! You’re not always going to have time to clean up after yourself if you’re in a rush to get to that exam you forgot to put on your calendar, but taking the time to clean up, even if it isn’t always your mess, shows your roommate that you’re happy and willing to put in the work to keep the space up to par. They’ll be thankful that you’re avoiding a roach infestation as much as they are (usually). Nobody’s saying you should follow your roommates around with a mop and scrub behind them, but if you see leftover crumbs and dirty spots, wash it down. It’s two extra seconds of your time, and even more importantly, a month without cockroaches! 

Tactics:

  • If the mess is a recurring problem, try to sit down and discuss it with her rationally. Without yelling, throwing things, accusing, instigating, holding a grudge, or talking smack. Keep it chill. Don’t use accusatory language, and if you’re upset about the issue, wait until you’ve cooled off before you confront her. Open communication starts with listening, and if you’re angry, you’re not going to hear her out and be able to reach a conclusion.
  • Keep cleaning supplies in or near the kitchen for quick cleanup.
  • Set an example. If you’d like her to keep her dishes and other items in the common area clean, make sure that your stuff portrays that. Often just setting an example helps avoid the situation altogether.

things-are-getting-steamy 2. Consult (or warn, if need be) your roommate if you have the full intention of stumbling into the apartment with a dude. I’m going to be honest. The walls in college apartments are like tissue paper. I can practically hear you blink. The sounds that you make, no matter how loud, can probably (very likely) be heard from the apartment next to yours. It’s important to voice when you’re going to invite someone in the apartment so your roommate doesn’t end up having the awkward encounter of confronting the dude in a towel or quite possibly running into him, butt naked, in your shared hallway. Who knows, the heads-up might give you the apartment all to yourselves for the night or at least for a few hours. She’ll appreciate the courtesy call you gave her beforehand tomorrow.

Tactics:

  • No last minute warnings. Be courteous and don’t spring it on her.
  • Have a conversation beforehand, like way beforehand, discussing bringing people home. She may be uncomfortable with it, so it’s important to discuss and compromise before the situation arises. You don’t want her to feel like an outsider in her own home.
  • I feel like this is common sense, but let the guy know that if he’s going to use anything or eat anything out of the fridge, it’s going to be something of yours. That would be a major line that shouldn’t ever be crossed unless stated otherwise.

friends_cooking 3. Offer to cook some of their food for them as a treat! College brings on more challenges than you’d think (aside from the endless homework, excruciating exams, and involvement in clubs), and after a merciless day, nothing tastes better than a home-cooked meal (aside from Chipotle, which is always a nice alternative if you’re a “toast burner”). When your roommate sends you a down-in-the-dumps text, take that as a queue to be her superhero and do something nice for her. And if you can’t cook, don’t worry. I bet the ramen noodles you’ll make in the microwave for her for when she gets home will still be highly appreciated. At the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts. Make the thought worth it!

Tactics:

  • Fillet mignon doesn’t have to be on the menu (unless that’s your best dish. Then you’re obligated. Kidding!) She’ll appreciate whatever you make her (as long as it’s not something you made consciously knowing she’s allergic to it).
  • Brownie points for preparing dessert, too! Maybe have a sundae night in with her? How cute would that be?!
  • If you can’t cook for your life, give her a listening ear. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to hear you out. I know that on a really bad day, there’s nothing that comforts me more than getting to say what I’ve been thinking about without getting automatically judged. Good friends are hard to come by, so do what you can to be that genuine person she can confide in if you feel like you guys could be on that level.

happy group of young people at a university college 4. Introduce her to your friends, family, boyfriend, whoever. It may seem silly (and a little awkward) at the time (you haven’t even taken her on a date and she’s already meeting your family?!), but it’s important for her to know her roommate (yes, you’re HER roommate, too!) well enough to be comfortable at home with you. It’s a significantly strange feeling to arrive on move-in day, piles of boxes in hand, and introduce yourself to the person that you will be cohabiting an apartment with for the next year, or maybe even two if it works well between the two of you. That’s a lot of pressure for a good first impression. But if you start off friendly right off the bat, that’s what she’s going to perceive of you. You’re friendly, sociable, and open. Giving her the opportunity to meet the people that are closest to you (and that are probably going to be helping you move in) will make her feel like your new apartment is more like a home. It will feel more inclusive, and she’ll probably be more inclined to be open to you as well, and willing to accept you enough to introduce you to the people she holds close. And, if she’s awkward and doesn’t want to be a part of that whole socialization process, then at least you know that you put your best foot forward.

Tactics:

  • Hugs almost always work better than handshakes. She doesn’t want to feel like she’s going into a business deal when you arrive. The first thing I always say is, “I’m a hugger, not a shaker” and I go in for a hug before it gets weird. It usually breaks the tension pretty nicely.
  • Keep it casual. Don’t push yourself on her. Remember, friendly and sociable, not pushy and obsessive. You know?
  • Make her feel like a friend, not a stranger. She’ll be a stranger at the time, but don’t make her feel like she’s outside of the bubble while you have everyone in your little group going in and out of the apartment unpacking your things. Include her in conversation if she’s up for it!

food-sandwich 5. Don’t eat her food or use any of her stuff without asking her. I can’t stress this enough! Nothing is worse than a roommate that just digs through your stuff and picks out what they want. More often than not, when I’ve been asked for either in the past, I’ve often said “yes”. It’s all about communication. It’s your home that you share. I doubt that, at your “home home”, you have to hide your stuff, so treat this new place in the same way. Anything she keeps in common areas has the same rules as the items you leave in the common areas, unless stated otherwise!

Tactics:

  • If you buy some of the same foods, either label them or have both of you pitch in to get the food to share. If food goes unlabeled, how is she supposed to know whether it’s hers or not if it’s something she buys, too?
  • Bring a mini fridge if you don’t want to share fridge space or would like to keep some stuff in your own room. There’s no problem if you have your own space for some stuff, but I wouldn’t suggest taking up the shared fridge’s space, too. Just be courteous.
  • If you borrow anything (after given permission), return it in the same condition.

 

Do you have any tips for first-time roommates? Share them below! 🙂

Absence and Transitions

Today has been an excruciatingly busy day for my boyfriend and I, as we’ve been packing his apartment room to transition him back home for the Summer. It’s always nice to feel the emptiness of these tiny apartment rooms, but the work that comes into play in order to establish that comfortableness is astounding to me. Four people, he, his parents, and I, all packed his room and just the organization itself took hours. I can only imagine the pain and suffering that will ensue when the time comes to pack my own apartment room, since I am a girl and tend to have many more clothes, accessories, and things than he does. Thankfully, this will be the last time I will be doing this. In the coming semester, I will have a permanent living situation for the following two school years and will finally be able to relax after finals, instead of the usual scrambling to pack prior to the housing deadline. I think the packing is half the battle, with all the crap we have to do on the side. Sometimes I wonder how I get everything, or even anything, done. At this rate, I really just want to sleep. I do want to write, too, but sleeping would be the very best thing for me right now. Uninterrupted sleep. For at least 10 hours. Or maybe 20 if I’m lucky.

I hope all of you college students out there are pushing through your finals like I am, and if you’re not crawling on your hands and knees, bloody with sweat and tears pouring from your face, you need to get it together. A couple more days and we all get to relax. How does that sound?

Regardless, I won’t be writing as much, I assume, for the next couple of days because I will be committing said actions above, and making sure all the exam information I need is force-fed into my brain until my ears start gagging Anthropology and Art History. It’s really the only way to go. Thank you for all the support and love that’s been sent in my direction, and I cannot wait to interact with you guys once again when all of this mess has been completed and pushed out of my way. I’ve got a couple more obstacles ahead of me, but I’m pulling through. I’ll be seeing you guys at the finish line.

Strange to Think That the Roles have Reversed.

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As a kid, parents and relatives will always tell you that “school should come first”. School should always come first, before socialization, leisure, and everything else. I find that agreeable. But what about when your obligations for school take away your ability to enjoy leisure and to pursue your own activities? What is the wise advice to give in that situation?

As most of us college students realize, finals week is looming around the corner, and we’re all saddling up to get our acts together for those big, stressful, coffee-filled days. But as those days approach, crawling closer by the hour, I can feel my anxiousness rising within me. It’s not even because of the exams, because believe it or not, I don’t suffer half as much during exam weeks in comparison to those who surround me, with their racked up history courses, 18 credit hours, and needy minimum wage jobs barking at them to keep their hours in check. Now it may seem minimal to others who may not relate, but during these weeks, all of my creative freedom and inspiration is diminished. I go from a right brainer to a hardcore left brainer in a few days, which throws off my ability to write, for one thing. I can feel it right now, actually. I spent my whole morning staring, glaring at the empty post form in front of me, and weirdly, I did not know what to say. When have the roles reversed? When has school begun to project its fury upon my creative outlets?

This has become a common thing for me, by the end of the semester and the completion of each college year specifically. By then, I’m just trying to crank out the last few projects and assignments and, if all goes well, exceed during exam week. It’s like my creative pursuits no longer exist in my world. Which leads me to my next point, for those who read these regularly and count on my daily posts. Please forgive me if I become absent in this coming week, week and a half. My head will be so far into my textbooks that I won’t be able to do anything else until my work and courses feel complete and I am satisfied with the effort I’ve put forth. My efforts will be contributed full-force to my education and not much else. However, despite taking courses in this coming Summer as well as working at the gym I’ve been longing to return to since I’ve left for sophomore year, once I finish my courses for this semester, I will have large amounts of time and inspiration to throw onto this page for you guys. I’ll definitely have a lot more to say, seeing as how lately I’ve resorted to keeping my mouth shut about certain situations in my life that I am dying to discuss on here once I’ve escaped this….living situation I’ve found myself in. Trust me when I tell you, I will be an open book once the storm has passed.