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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!

 

The Terrible (And Relatively Tolerable) Truths About Being Twenty

Twenty. It’s an awkward age. And I thought I was awkward then. Psh. I’ve only blossomed. When I was younger, I always thought that twenty was going to be such a grand thing. I was going to have everything in my life together, wrapped neatly in a white picket fence and bow. Well, not yet, but on my way toward the like. But as a current twenty year old, I can honestly say that it isn’t as glamorous as it seems (self-kick to the childhood). Here are a few terrible truths about being twenty that I never would’ve even thought about as a kid, that I now know to be inevitably true. The fantasy has officially been extinguished.

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1. Life: “You need to get your act together. You’re an ADULT. You need to have job experience. Nobody’s gonna take you seriously unless you start taking on more than your schedule can hold. Do it for ME–I mean….employers.” Love always, Your Parents (and supposedly your greatest support system. Hrm. It’s just tough love. Right? Riiiight?)

Reality Check: You’re too young to have a full-time occupation but still too old to “babysit”. At this point, it would just be weird (“You little slacker, you. Nobody’s gonna look at that babysitting job on your resume and say, “Wow, this kid’s a catch. He can whip up snacks and make sure kids don’t die while their parents “visit grandma for dinner”. Hurry, grab him while he’s still available. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! WHY ARE YOU NOT ON THE PHONE WITH HIM AS WE SPEAK?! These qualifications are rare.”). If you’re not an intern for a major corporation by 20 (If you’re not already owning it by now, because you should really be trying to get ahead of the pack, you slacker), you’re the epitome of a failure. Embrace the failure stink. It’s all that you’ll ever know.

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2. Life: “You know Josh? Do you remember little ol’ Josh? Well, Josh works for the FBI now–he’s in charge of the FBI–oh excuse me, he CREATED the FBI. And he’s only 19. And he’s also cured cancer, built homes for the poor, completely ended world hunger, and invented a flying car, all in one weekend. Could you imagine what he could do in two?! Josh was always such a good boy, but wow! Josh is so great now! Why can’t you be like Josh? You should call Josh. Hang out with Josh. Love Josh. Love him. Josh. Josh. Josh. Josh. Joshjoshjoshjoshjosh….(“Josh” chant that leaves you in a state of eternal hell, kind of like the ending to the “Bill Nye the Science Guy” chant at the end of his intro. Ring a bell?)” (The name “Josh” is hypothetical, but I guess if you’re an awesome Josh, I’m talking about you, buddy. You’re making my parents and everyone with high expectations of me hate my freakin’ guts. Good job. HOPE YOU’RE PROUD.)

Reality Check: We all know a Josh. Ugh. Kinda wish he’d go away and take his Facebook full of all of his stupid milestones with him. He makes my own major accomplishments look like mere blips on the radar, and then I get verbally paddled (with a gentle voice occasionally to cushion the blow) because he’s the next young genius of geniuses in all of Geniusville. This is why Netflix exists. Not to entertain us (me). It’s so we (I) can wallow in our (my) disappointed existence because Josh ALREADY FIXED ALL THE WORLD’S PROBLEMS SO THERE’S NOTHING LEFT TO DO. JOSH HAS IT ALL FIGURED OUT, DOESN’T HE?! But think of it this way. Because of Josh and all of his perfections that you lack, your services are no longer needed. You’re free. Roam, my child.

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3. Life: “Here, have some homework. Wanna hang with friends? Here, have some homework. Got some dishes to do? How about some homework? Family is packing the van and driving for several hours, updating you every five seconds to ensure that you’re waiting at the apartment like a dog that hasn’t been fed in months, so they can see you for the first time in what feels like centuries? It’s a great time for a research paper that has to be a minimum (minimum. not maximum.) of 800 pages, single spaced, due obviously tonight. That’s enough time, right? That was rhetorical, by the way. Eh, who cares. I most certainly don’t care.” -Life

Reality Check: Any and every time you have plans, there will be some homework knocking on your door. True fact. The only way to fight against the buildup is to either get ahead or build a pillow fort out of your whole apartment and become a total shut in, avoid eye contact with your roommate who already thinks you’re a nutcase, and close off all connections to the real world. Nothing can come with you on this journey of seclusion. No laptop, no ipod, and no, not even the smart phone. That phone will know if you’re hiding, and it will notify all of your contacts (including Facebook friends, maybe even the ones you don’t like and don’t know why you ever added) that you’ve completely lost your marbles, as the newest feature of the newest iPhone obviously does. Before you know it, they’ll all come ruthlessly banging on your paper-thin door begging you to gather some sense. Just kidding. You’re gonna die alone in there. With a heavy head and an empty stomach. Nobody is going to realize you disappeared. All because you didn’t want to do your homework. Kinda seems silly now, doesn’t it? Just whip out the 800 page paper. It’ll only take you about an hour. Or a million hours. Something like that. I’m not good with numbers.

Parents: “See, Josh was never afraid to–“

Me: “SHUT UP. Just shut up”.

Parents: “But Josh always did his homework before it was due and he still managed to–“

*mysterious disappearance not caused by prior events/conversations at all but definitely by something else, yeah*

*Oh no, where did my parents go? Oh it was an accident. Oh it happened all of a sudden. Oh*

 Can you relate?

We can bask together. Share if you dare.

“You’re only as strong as your weakest link”

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Which is actually great because the people in my life, in this current moment, are the strongest, most driven people I know. They amaze me in millions of ways. The few people I consider good friends at this point continually prove to me that their strength lies in loyalty, honesty, and the ability to be who they are in the sight of those who wish they were different. They’re my breath of fresh air and motivate me to be the best individual I can be, from the inside, out. Thank you.

Think about all the people that continually impact your life. Take a moment to really let them know that they matter. We, as people, like to know when our existence in someone else’s life is significant, and the harsh truth of the matter is that we never really know when our time in this world is up, so if we don’t make a conscious effort to do these things as they arise, we may never get the chance. Give someone some good, honest truths today.

Mandy

Seeing What Isn’t There

Every time I’m doing something, I start seeing things moving at the corner of my eye, only to realize that when I actually look at them, nothing is moving at all. Maybe I’ve got some crazy in me.

“Feelings are for the Weak” (Who Are, Ironically, Much Stronger)

Ever since I was younger, it had been engrained in my head that those who are expressive of their feelings are weaker than the rest of the population that does not. It was always a battle for who could put on the best mask and pretend like they had their whole lives together, much better than the next person. I had surrounded myself with people that I considered friends at the time, but people that had no intention of building strength in the bond. It was a negative time for me, being surrounded by this kind of mentality. The first time I had really broken down my barriers I had built was my first serious relationship, which lasted for around 4.5 years, and even then, there were times when I wanted to keep them out of conversation and out of mind. I did, however, realize something when that relationship ended. All the times that I kept my feelings to myself were the times when I was causing my own destruction. I wasn’t punishing anyone else but myself by letting my pain eat at what I thought to be an otherwise strong exterior. I did learn something, over these years. Losing a serious relationship, eliminating the friendships that were destructive to my own path, becoming increasingly independent as I realized what was permanent and what was temporary…. I learned that I am much stronger than I thought I was, and that others who show the same kinds of strength are those who are not afraid to be real. I screwed up thinking that I was weak because I was honest about my feelings. I should’ve been upfront from the start, but I let my apprehension to do so get the best of me.

Part of this journey to redefine my understanding is shown through my writing. Writing gives me the ability to be honest without direct confrontation, and is something that can be shared or reflected upon individually. I’m continuing to grow and develop my skills of communicating what I need and desire from my life and my relationships with others, and I think this was a crucial part of my journey: establishing up front that being true to yourself gives you the best chance at happiness. I’m well on my way.

As for you, find the people you trust. There are many people out for themselves these days, but if you can find a handful that love and respect you as they do for themselves, you’ll become closer to connecting your feelings with strength. Those who do not patronize you for your vulnerability, but stand by you, are essential to your journey to redefine what is believed to be weakness. Strength comes from the heart. Don’t let your heart by trumped by your head, because in the long run, you’ll need a level-headed, honest perception from both.