Tag Archives: professor

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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Faculty Disconnect

Disclaimer: These are my feelings based off a situation with ONE particular professor at ONE particular school. This probably does not apply to ALL professors. Kindly take whatever I say with a grain of salt.

I recently attended a university function that paired faculty with staff in different groups. As I chatted with this professor, it quickly became apparent that she had NO clue what I did as a professional working in ResLife. I don’t want to make her sound completely ignorant. We all know that my parents (still) have no idea what I do and half the time I’m not even too sure. So when she was unsure of if I assigned students to their rooms or where I lived, I explained those things to her.

Later, as students arrived at our function, I made a joke that I was happy to be talking to students for positive reasons rather than because they are in trouble. The professor said, “Oh. You do that?” Later, when we were talking about the locations of some of residence halls on campus, she was surprised that I knew where they all were and then concluded that I did because I lived on campus. I actually know where they are because IT’S MY JOB.

While this professor may have been a little more clueless than most, the truth is most faculty members I speak with don’t have a good grasp on “dorm life” (sidenote – great YouTube series by the same name). Things have changed a lot – even in the past ten years! I once heard a professor comment that he was surprised to learn about social events in the dorms outside of floor meetings with pizza.

What can professors do about this? Contact your ResLife department! Many departments want some sort of faculty involvement within the residence halls. Find out which of your students are RAs. Maybe you can do a small activity with the RA on his or her floor. When it gets close to finals, host a study session in a lounge instead of a classroom across campus. Find out what activities are already happening that you can be apart of.

What are some best practices you’ve seen for professors getting involved in the residence halls on your campus? Share in the comments!

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