Tag Archives: freshman

Don’t Judge a (Face)book By Its Cover

Welcome to the first of the Myths of Residence Life Series! This post was actually written BEFORE the idea for the series came about…but I realized it fit so well! Incoming students have the ability to see YEARS of their future classmates’ lives on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and whatever else social media platform that’s out there.

So I might be dating myself here, but I was in college when Facebook became open to everybody. I didn’t think too much of it. The only change for me was now I could be Facebook friends with my friends that were still in high school (I mean, I wasn’t that old).

And then housing assignments were released…I was working at my good ol’ Undergrad U student employment job. I was told that typically we get slightly more phone calls after assignments go out. People are unhappy with what building they are in or what floor they are on. Somebody’s precious darling has allergies and needs air conditioning. Typical calls. The calls started coming that very day and did not stop until the school year started. My supervisor said that she had NEVER heard the phones ring that much.

Why the incredible increase in calls? Students could now look up their roommates on Facebook. That was something I honestly never thought of. Yes, Facebook existed before I left for college, but my roommate didn’t (and still doesn’t) have Facebook. For the friends I did make on Facebook, all of our profiles were NEW. While this was only the first year, that’s still a whole year’s worth of photos. We’re currently several years past this point so now my incoming students are seeing photos of their future roommate’s high school career. Ugh…I couldn’t imagine having those awkward years documented on the internet.

The point is, so many students were making assumptions about their future roommates based on what they saw on Facebook. People use their Facebooks (and before that MySpaces) to display who they want the world to view them as. Back when all these phone calls were flooding in, people didn’t think about privacy settings on their pictures or censor themselves just in case a future employer might stumble across their profiles one day. Some students were calling to complain that they didn’t want to live with their future roommates because all they saw on Facebook were party pics or offensive jokes. Others were calling because their roommate seemed “lame” or “different”. It is impossible to describe what a person is like based off of what you see on Facebook.

While my roommate and I didn’t have the anxiety-laden opportunity of stalking each other on Facebook prior to moving in together, I wonder what a stranger would think of me based off of my Facebook profile. I have my profile set to super secret, so the stranger would have to request me first but that’s beside the point.

First off, we have my cover photo and profile picture. These tend to be absolutely ridiculous. In fact, when I first arrived at college, my Facebook picture was one of my comics. Oops. Right now my current cover photo is a close up of my favorite food and my profile picture is actually a poorly photoshopped photo of one of my friends. So at the moment random stranger would probably think I’m a fat man (not that my friend is fat…just the food and all).

Next, my “about” info. My main network is Hogwarts and my relationship status lists me as being in a relationship with one of my lady friends. My quotes and “info paragraph” haven’t been changed since 2008 and are just a listing of inside jokes. The only musicians I like are my friends bands or singing groups. I don’t have any books, movies, or TV shows listed, but at the moment Facebook is recommending kids books and movies…

And last but not least, photos of me. Since that’s where 99% of my students complaints come from. There are a LOT of pictures of me with my friends’ pets. Not too many party pics…but several photo bomb pictures. And lots of sorority pictures. Of course. Sorority squat!

I don’t think any of that accurately describes me. I don’t use Facebook to list every like and dislike and chronicle every moment of my day. Sorority pictures are in there a lot because those are a lot of the big events I go to…and that’s where the cameras are. At the same time, when I think about students “cleaning up” their Facebooks before they begin their job searches (or before applying for college housing), I don’t think the “after” version of their profiles represent them either.

It’s been a few years since I heard from those angry parents at Undergrad U. I’m still hearing from angry parents. They’re checking out their kid’s roommate’s Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. “He tweeted rap lyrics, my son doesn’t like rap, MY SON CAN’T LIVE WITH HIM!” I wish I was making this up. Now that I’m no longer a student, I’ve started telling parents that we will not change a room assignment just based on something they saw on Facebook. The whole idea of college is to figure out how to live on your own. If there are major issues or lifestyle differences that cannot be worked out once the students have arrived at school and given it the ol’ college try (pun intended), then we will look into finding your precious anti-rap darling a new place to live.

Student affairs professionals of the world…what are some of your most bizarre “well I saw it on the internet” moments you’ve experienced?

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Myths of Residence Life: A Series

I had this idea after housing assignments went out to write about all of the complaints that were coming in from the parents. I listed them down. And then I inadvertently wrote an ENTIRE post about just ONE of those complaints. Oops. So instead, while I am celebrating (and recovering from) my first big girl vacation, you can enjoy the Myths of Residence Life.

If you have any of your own myths that you would like to add, leave them in the comments!

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How to Not Be THAT Freshman

Note: I originally posted this last September. After walking around campus today, I realized that it still applied. 2017, enjoy!

Everybody eventually looks back on their first year of college and says to themselves, “was I really that clueless/naive/dumb/etc ?!?!” I started asking myself that about halfway through freshman year. I’ve thought long and hard about what makes freshmen so…freshmen-y and have compiled a list of tips for you.

Look down.

Are you wearing a lanyard with your key/ID/meal card around it? Take it off. Right now. That’s how everybody knows you’re a freshman. At one institution where we used our IDs to enter our buildings, I carried mine in my back pocket. There were only a few instances of leaving it in yesterday’s pants. A lot of schools use some type of proximity sensor so you have to just wave something as you walk by. Figure out what works best for you, but seriously, take the lanyard off your neck. You don’t want to be THAT freshman wearing a lanyard.

Look to your left. Now to your right.

How many people are you walking around campus/your new city with? Is it more than four? Stop, stop right there. I know that they say “safety in numbers” but you’re going to the extreme. You know that awesome party you’re about to go to? Well, it just got busted because a neighbor saw twenty five freshmen walking up to the door. Walk in small groups so you stay safe but don’t anger the neighbors. Also, if you’re coming home from a party, it’s much easier to see if you’re missing a person out of a group of four than forty. You don’t want to be THAT freshman wandering campus in a herd.

Got Questions?

Contrary to what some professors and teachers say, there are dumb questions. There are certain people provided to you early in your freshman year to answer many of your dumb questions. These are your orientation leaders and RAs. But after a certain point, Google is your friend. Need to contact the Health Center? Search for “(your school’s name) Health Center”. Tada! In class, if you have a question that only relates to you (“Can I miss a quiz because my brother’s wedding is that weekend?”) ask the professor at the end of class or during office hours. You don’t want to be THAT freshman asking dumb questions in the last five minutes of class.

Know Your Limits

In college, you can have too much of a good thing. Just because your dining hall is all-you-can-eat doesn’t mean you need to eat it all. Put down the brownie. Grab a piece of fruit every so often. You don’t want to be THAT fat freshman. For alcohol, take it easy. Yes, you probably will have at least one night you regret, but you don’t want to be THAT freshman that throws up all over the communal bathroom during orientation. As for sex, wrap it before you tap it. No glove, no love. However you want to say it, USE PROTECTION. Susie Q might look at pure and innocent but you do not know what sort of Fifty Shades of Promiscuity she might be into. Likewise, Susie, make sure you’re on birth control. You don’t want to be THAT pregnant/STD-carrying freshman.

Don’t Panic

A lot of what I said probably just made college seem like the most terrifying (or most wonderful) place on earth. Everybody will be stressed out or nervous or scared at some point in their college career. You might go from being be THE valedictorian of your class into a freshman class where there are many other valedictorians. Congratulations, you are now average. You might get a bad grade. You might sleep through a class. You might be sitting here reading the above realizing you are THAT freshman. Stop. Take a deep breath. Don’t have a meltdown in the middle of the hallway. You will survive. You don’t want to be THAT crying freshman.

Congratulations, Class of 2017, for making it this far. Good luck with classes and don’t try too hard.

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Moving Home

As a young adult, the idea of visiting home sounds wonderful. Family, friends, HBO that I’m not paying for, FREE MEALS…seriously. It’s like a vacation minus the hotel and airfare. When I was in college, I LOVED going home for weekends…maybe a little too much at first. Even now I try to make it home for big events and I still try to see as many people as possible in a short three day weekend.

However…the idea of MOVING HOME?? That had me running and screaming in the other direction. I had spent most of my life and most of college thinking that I’d finish college and move into my own apartment or at the very least an apartment with friends.

This seems like an accurate representation of what I thought my twenties would be like from the ages of…oh….ten to twenty-one.

Except…just like the “Friends” theme song…no one told me how life was going to be this way. Once I graduated college, I had a part time job lined up, but it wasn’t enough to cover rent my security deposit and I was completely SOL.

It actually started a few weeks before I graduated. My mom called. WAIT. No, no, no. This story starts MUCH further back than that.

Part of the reason I didn’t want to move home after graduation was that my family was VERY strict. I distinctly remember my first only summer home during college. The summer actually started off easier than it ended. During dinner, I told my mom I was going to hang out with one of my friends after she got out of work. “Be home by eleven,” was her response. “But mom…she doesn’t get out of work until 10:30.” “Well, I guess you two won’t be seeing each other tonight then!” “Mom, I’m supposed to pick her up from work. She had someone drop her off because those were our plans.” My mom finally agreed that I could go get her (you know because we’re nice people and all) but that I couldn’t hang out afterwards. It was too late. This seemed absolutely archaic to me after nearly an entire year of not having to follow any rules. At school, we wouldn’t even LEAVE for some parties until after eleven. By the end of summer, my 11:00 pm curfew included the computer. I might have gotten in more trouble for calling my house Guantanamo Bay at one point…oops. By the time August rolled around, I was looking for any excuse to move back to school early. After that summer, I didn’t go home for anything longer that a four day break until graduation.

So…back to where I was. It was a few weeks before graduation. My mom called. “When are you moving home?” I laughed. Out loud. While on the phone. “Mom, I’m not moving home, I have a job here. I have an apartment I can stay at. By the way, can I have $1200?” It’s really hard to convince a parent that you are a grown up in the same sentence that you’re asking for money. And that is the story of how I wound up moving home. I was not happy about it. I was dreading the rules and the boredom. Back then there weren’t blogs or advice articles on how to handle this because my graduating class was the start of the wave of students moving home due the recession. My solution was to spend as much time as I could AWAY from home which didn’t exactly please my rule-loving mother. But, as you probably know from reading other posts here, I eventually found my way to grad school, moved out, and got a big girl job.

What can you do if you’re moving home?

Whether you are moving home for the summer or heading back after graduating, there are a few things you can do to make your life (and your parents’ lives) easier.

Have a nice, sit-down discussion about rules. What is a reasonable time that you should be home? Who might be allowed or NOT allowed to spend the night in your room? Do you need to call home with your plans? Certain families are much more relaxed than others. Also, your life situation might be MUCH different than when you last lived at home. Asking a parent if a significant other can stay over in your room while you’re in high school is laughable in most homes. (Granted, it’s still laughable in mine, but that’s another story) In college, your boyfriend or girlfriend might have spent the night with you loads of times. Your parents might tell you that he or she can’t stay in your room. Yes, it sucks, but you know what? I’m not even going to fight that one any more because I know they aren’t budging. I did eventually break my mom down on the curfew…after I graduated I had to come home “when the bars close”. Good thing I live on the border…2 am closing time on one side, 4 am on the other. Sorry not sorry.

Know what’s expected of you. Do you have to help with any chores around the house or baby sit for your younger siblings? Do your parents need help with the rent or paying any bills? Even if your parents tell you that they don’t want your money or your help, offer from time to time! Make dinner for the family one night or help out with raking the leaves. I bought my parents something they had wanted for awhile but didn’t really have the extra money for. Another time, I surprised them by paying their bill at a restaurant.

Find something to do. I had lost touch with my home friends so while I was home, I really had nothing to do. I wound up joining a gym and eventually creating a new friend group consisting of old and new friends. If you’ve been gone for awhile, it’s really like moving to a new city.

Lastly, come up with some sort of timeline. If you’re just moving home for the summer, that’s pretty simple. You’re going back to school. If you’re moving home with no end date in sight…that’s a different story. Once you have a job, set a goal for yourself! You will save $X per month so you can get your own place in Y months. Tell your parents this goal so they can help in any way they can, whether it’s looking for apartments, finding furniture, or even helping you move!

What advice do you have for those moving home?

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Throwback Thursday – Something New

I’m not a fan of change. As old and dinosaur-like as my laptop is, I refuse to get a new one because that means I’d have to change all the settings and move all my files and it’s just a hassle. I know, I know, total first world problem.

I have this bad habit of hating the first year of anything. First year of middle school? I missed recess. I wanted to go back to elementary school. First year of high school? Despised. First year of college? Loathed.

Many students are excited to start fresh when they arrive at college. Not me. I kept my EXACT routine even though my earliest class was HOURS later than when my high school started. And of course, to make sure I wasn’t exhausted for my early morning alarm, I went to sleep early. Like, 9:30. Because that’s when I went to sleep in high school. And luckily since Undergrad U is full of weirdos, my roommate never thought twice about my early bedtime. However, a few weeks into the school year, I realized I was missing out. All the fun things were happening after 10 pm!! Finally, my friends dragged me out of bed one night. Okay, friends might be a longshot. They were people from my floor that were friends with my roommate that basically didn’t believe I existed because I was always asleep. One night they literally dragged me out of bed and brought me to Walmart at midnight…while I was wearing my pajamas. At first I was embarrassed  but then “People of Walmart” became a thing and I realized that I was not the worst dressed shopper.

Since I hated new things and change and all that jazz, I refused to try the food our city was famous for. I’m a picky eater. Eating too much of foods I like can make me sick to my stomach. Also, it seemed gross. I didn’t understand everybody’s obsession. It looks terrible, smells terrible, and probably contains more calories than all of McDonald’s menu eaten in one sitting.

And then two days before graduation, I tried it…and it was amazing. I suddenly understood everybody’s obsession. I was actually upset that I hadn’t tried it before. And then it got me thinking of all the things I wish I had done sooner in college. I wish I had made friends sooner. Joined clubs sooner. Had fun sooner.

College is a great time to try new things and I think everybody could benefit from leaving their comfort zone a bit, but that does not mean you need to succumb to peer pressure and disregard your values. Peer pressure is bad. In “I Am Charlotte Simmons“, Charlotte’s friend Laurie says that college is a time to experiment. Try new foods. Go to different types of art exhibits. Go see “Vagina Monologues” because I’m sure you wouldn’t have gone to a showing of that in high school. Some people want to experiment sexually or with alcohol or drugs. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to. Whatever you choose to do, please be safe. And try not to do anything illegal.

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Annndddd…Break!

This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for several things. I’m thankful that I have a job. I’m thankful my parents took my dog in when said job said I could not bring her with me. And I’m thankful it’s break time and my students are LEAVING. Finally…a few days where I don’t have to pace around the laundry room waiting for a dryer to become available.

But then I almost feel bad for the freshman who are making their first trip home from college. I remember mine. I missed home so bad. I couldn’t wait to be home for A WHOLE WEEK. And then once I got there, I could not wait to leave. I actually made up some lie about a project I had to do and said I could ONLY do it in the studio.

The whole week felt a little like this.

So just like there are stages of grief and stages in student development theories, I have decided that there are stages of vacation time at home. While this is geared more towards students, I think some if it (with a few tweaks here and there) still applies to twentysomethings/adults.

Stage One – Excitement

You probably haven’t even left for home yet. You are counting down the days until break. You’re excited to sleep in your room and eat some home cooked meals and hang out with your friends and sleep in and do nothing all week. This week is gonna be great. You love home. Home home home.

Stage Two – Suddenly Everything Has Changed

You get home and run up to your room to put your things down when suddenly…what are all those boxes doing in the corner? And is that dad’s bill paying desk? And why are there no pillows on your bed?! Whatever, it’s only 7 pm, you’ll deal with that later. You go back downstairs, excited to see what’s for dinner and your parents tell you that they’re going out to dinner. But but but…you wanted mom’s lasagna, not Olive Garden. You cave and decide it’s worth it for the bread sticks. While are dinner with your family (BO-RING!) you text your friends to see what they’re all doing tonight. “Can’t, busy with the fam!” seems to be the standard reply. Okay, okay, you’ll have a boring night in (maybe spend some time searching for pillows) and see your friends after you wake up at like 2 pm and have pancakes.

Stage Three – You Want to Kill EVERYTHING

WHAT IS THAT BLINDING LIGHT? Oh, just your mom flipping on the lights because she needs something in one of those boxes RIGHT NOW. What time is it? Oh, you know, 8 am. And what’s that noise outside? Is that the leaf blower? Come on dad, couldn’t that wait until a reasonable hour? Your mom promises that you can go back to sleep as she tiptoes out of your room but then the next thing you hear is the vacuum. So much for sleep.

Stage Four – One is the Loneliest Number

Your friends are nowhere to be found. Foursquare informs you that they all are over town…at the movies, the mall, grocery shopping…with their boyfriends, girlfriends, siblings, and parents. By the way, where is your family? Your parents went to the grocery store without you. I know, how could they, that could have been a social outing! Your siblings still have friends and live in your hometown since you know they still go to school here. Looks like it’s just you and the internet.

Stage Five – Family Time!

Remember that family that you missed in stage four? Well you don’t need to worry about that anymore because now they’re all home and guess what? So are twenty of their relatives! That’s right, it’s time for Thanksgiving dinner. Now you have to spend the next six hours pretending that you love every single minute of college and are really working hard for that education your Citibank loans are paying for.

Stage Six – Now They Want Things

Ahhh…the relatives are gone and you have two days left of break. NOW you’ll be able to see your friends and relax. No, no, that’s not happening. You need to clean up after Thanksgiving and while you’re at it, take some of that crap from your room to the basement, your parents need more room for storage. And what do you mean you want to hang out with your friends? There’s only two days left of break, you need to spend more time for your family. Right now you’re probably about to scream…

Stage Seven – GET ME OUT OF HERE!!

You can’t stand it anymore. You wonder if it’s possible to sneak out and hitch a ride back to school. Are any of your friends leaving tonight? You can’t possibly wait until morning. You better pack your bags in case it gets to be too much to handle and you need to leave in the middle of the night.

Stage Eight – Homecoming

You finally get back to college and you’re thisclose to dropping to your knees and kissing your uncarpeted dorm floor. As you unpack, your roommate gets back and starts raving about how terrible her Thanksgiving was. You are not alone.

It almost feels a little something like this.

So fear not college students, you have a few more weeks of college living until…Winter Break.

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Sorority Recruitment – Not BS…S (Big Southern Style)

Throughout the fall recruitment season, I saw many blog posts and articles about how to make sure your daughter gets through sorority recruitment and into the house of her dreams. Apparently some people even hire consultants for this very purpose. Um…what? While I understand that at some schools recruitment is VERY competitive and you do need rec packets and all that sort of fun stuff, there are plenty of schools that are not, but I find very little information telling young women how to navigate recruitment at these schools.

The majority of schools I have worked at have deferred recruitment, meaning that first year students are not allowed to go through recruitment until they have completed a semester. The good news? If you are unsure about whether or not you want to join a sorority, you don’t have to make that decision right as (or even before!) you set foot on campus. The bad news? If you don’t do so well academically in your first semester, you may not be eligible to join your second. The somewhat better news? If you do better in the spring, they do have fall recruitment for non-first year students.

So you’re attending a smaller school or a school with a smaller Greek system. How do you find out information? ASK! Policies and procedures differ from school to school to some extent. I bet you have at least one sorority woman in every single one of your classes. Each campus also has an office that deals with Greek Life, whether it’s its own office or lumped under “Student Life”. You’re going to need to know when recruitment is and if you need to register. Other things you might want to find out – what happens if you can’t make an event due to evening classes, if there is a registration fee, how many credits you need, if there is a minimum GPA…some of these things may be posted online but some might not. There are two main types of recruitment – formal and informal. Both of these styles can happen at the same school (although at different times). Formal recruitment usually means you will see all of the organizations and have a set schedule. Informal recruitment usually means you can pick and choose what events you want to go to. As a first year student, you might want to go through formal recruitment in order to get to know women from each organization. As an older student, you may already be friends with women in one organization and want to primarily check out their house – informal might be a better route for you!

Even if you are at a smaller school, some of the advice coming from these articles and posts is still relevant. First impressions mean a lot when you are meeting a lot of people in a short amount of time. Make sure your outfit looks neat and clean and is appropriate! Just like you wouldn’t show up to a job interview in pajamas (although some wannabe-RAs showed up like that recently…) you are not going to go to a recruitment event in sweats or worse, something that looks like you’re heading to a club. Also, stay on appropriate conversation topics. Don’t talk about who you’ve hooked up with or how hungover you are. These are seriously things I’ve heard women bring up in conversation at recruitment!

The golden rule at recruitment is to be yourself. You ultimately find the house where you feel at home. At the same time, try and give every house a fair chance! You will generally have a sense of where you feel welcome and where you don’t. Feel free to leave comments with general questions, but you will get the best answers from your on campus resources.

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I Am Charlotte Simmons

“I Am Charlotte Simmons” by Tom Wolfe is the story of Charlotte Simmon’s freshman year at an elite college. Charlotte was the top of her class and chose to attend the fictional Dupont College because of its academic reputation and the scholarship she was awarded. Charlotte came from a very poor town and was not fully prepared for what college was going to be like. Charlotte’s time at school puts her in contact with many “types” of people – her spoiled princess roommate, a star athlete, a writer for the newspaper, and a fraternity man (although this might be a case where I accept the use of “frat boy”).  From the beginning of her time at Dupont, Charlotte’s values are constantly mismatched with those around her. Charlotte has a rocky start in college but eventually finds her footing.

I first read “I Am Charlotte Simmons” when I was a senior in high school. I was so excited for college and was reading everything I could get my hands on that related to “college life”. I remember thinking how unlucky Charlotte was and how unfortunate it was that she did not like college and had a terrible year. But I also remember thinking that the book was merely a work of fiction. I enjoyed reading it, and quickly set aside to devour another story about college and to dream of my future college life.

The second time I read “I am Charlotte Simmons” was the summer after my first year of grad school. I had completely forgotten about it, but when I saw it on a shelf at a secondhand bookstore, I remembered it from many years ago. As I read it again, I wanted to cry. This story was practically a combination of mine and my best friend’s freshman years. I hadn’t known it at the time, but high-school-me was very much like Charlotte. I avoided many social activities in high school because I didn’t want to be around people drinking. I was the first in my family to go to college and while I was not from a rural area like Charlotte, there were ways in which I was unprepared for “the college experience”. All my reading in high school did not make me ready to go off to school and be surrounded by people with much different values than me. My best friend’s experience was not much better. While I debated whether or not to try a sip of alcohol at a party that I had basically been dragged to, my friend was dealing with issues very similar to Charlotte’s romantic encounters, including dating a star athlete at her small elite college (but with an ending more similar to Charlotte’s trip to DC).

After getting over the fact that the book could have been very well named “I Am The Author” or “I Am The Author’s BFF”, I started thinking about the story in terms of the classes I had just taken and the training I had been through as a Hall Director. A lot of my classes forced me to reflect on my time as an undergrad. One of my professors even asked us to write about our first year at college and apply student development theories to ourselves. While I didn’t go as far as applying student development theories to the book, I thought about how important fit is when entering college. I had seen so many students at my graduate school that did not fit in with the school’s dominant culture and would have thrived at one of the other institutions I went to or was familiar with.

Now I am reading “I Am Charlotte Simmons” for a third time and thinking about the upcoming school year as a new professional. One of the things I was told very early on at my new job is that we have a lot of first generation students coming from impoverished homes that might not be prepared for college. Charlotte was definitely ready academically but not emotionally. In the novel, her best friend goes to an in-state school and “goes with the flow”. While I’m sure the culture was different at that school, I don’t think it was THAT drastic a change that Charlotte experienced.

The students that I am dealing with are from a very different background than Charlotte. I might almost be more prepared to deal with a Charlotte than some of the students I am told I will encounter – students who have lived in inner cities, seen their friends shot, and possibly have children of their own at home. Not too sure what to say to that…

Have any of you read this book either for fun or as part of your job? What did you think?

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How to Not Be THAT Freshman

Everybody eventually looks back on their first year of college and says to themselves, “was I really that clueless/naive/dumb/etc ?!?!” I started asking myself that about halfway through freshman year. I’ve thought long and hard about what makes freshmen so…freshmen-y and have compiled a list of tips for you.

Look down.

Are you wearing a lanyard with your key/ID/meal card around it? Take it off. Right now. That’s how everybody knows you’re a freshman. At one institution where we used our IDs to enter our buildings, I carried mine in my back pocket. There were only a few instances of leaving it in yesterday’s pants. A lot of schools use some type of proximity sensor so you have to just wave something as you walk by. Figure out what works best for you, but seriously, take the lanyard off your neck. You don’t want to be THAT freshman wearing a lanyard.

Look to your left. Now to your right.

How many people are you walking around campus/your new city with? Is it more than four? Stop, stop right there. I know that they say “safety in numbers” but you’re going to the extreme. You know that awesome party you’re about to go to? Well, it just got busted because a neighbor saw twenty five freshmen walking up to the door. Walk in small groups so you stay safe but don’t anger the neighbors. Also, if you’re coming home from a party, it’s much easier to see if you’re missing a person out of a group of four than forty. You don’t want to be THAT freshman wandering campus in a herd.

Got Questions?

Contrary to what some professors and teachers say, there are dumb questions. There are certain people provided to you early in your freshman year to answer many of your dumb questions. These are your orientation leaders and RAs. But after a certain point, Google is your friend. Need to contact the Health Center? Search for “(your school’s name) Health Center”. Tada! In class, if you have a question that only relates to you (“Can I miss a quiz because my brother’s wedding is that weekend?”) ask the professor at the end of class or during office hours. You don’t want to be THAT freshman asking dumb questions in the last five minutes of class.

Know Your Limits

In college, you can have too much of a good thing. Just because your dining hall is all-you-can-eat doesn’t mean you need to eat it all. Put down the brownie. Grab a piece of fruit every so often. You don’t want to be THAT fat freshman. For alcohol, take it easy. Yes, you probably will have at least one night you regret, but you don’t want to be THAT freshman that throws up all over the communal bathroom during orientation. As for sex, wrap it before you tap it. No glove, no love. However you want to say it, USE PROTECTION. Susie Q might look at pure and innocent but you do not know what sort of Fifty Shades of Promiscuity she might be into. Likewise, Susie, make sure you’re on birth control. You don’t want to be THAT pregnant/STD-carrying freshman.

Don’t Panic

A lot of what I said probably just made college seem like the most terrifying (or most wonderful) place on earth. Everybody will be stressed out or nervous or scared at some point in their college career. You might go from being be THE valedictorian of your class into a freshman class where there are many other valedictorians. Congratulations, you are now average. You might get a bad grade. You might sleep through a class. You might be sitting here reading the above realizing you are THAT freshman. Stop. Take a deep breath. Don’t have a meltdown in the middle of the hallway. You will survive. You don’t want to be THAT crying freshman.

Congratulations, Class of 2016, for making it this far. Good luck with classes and don’t try too hard.

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