Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dexter's Guide to Freshman Year

So a few weeks ago I finally finished my freshman year of college! Trust me, this is a big accomplishment. I had so many hurdles and complications throughout the year that it's a miracle I made it all the way through, especially with such a good GPA. Now that I've been through the hell of freshman year, I thought I'd help out all the folks who are on their way into college by writing a stereotypical guide for survival.

Tip #1: Ask For Help
When you're new on campus and in your department, it's okay to ask where things are and how things work. Sure, you can figure it out by careful planning and observing, but you might make a few friends by just asking.

Tip #2: Say Hi to People You Know
When you see someone in passing from your class or something, just say hey. If you have time, actually ask them what's up or how their day is, and wait for a reply instead of continuing on your way.

Tip #3: Make Friends With Classmates
This way you have help if you get stuck or miss class, plus someone to commiserate with if the class is miserable. The easy way to do this is to ask a neighbor about an assignment or compliment them on their shirt.

Tip #4: Take Food From the Cafeteria
Our cafeteria has to-go boxes, but even if yours doesn't you can grab an apple or a banana or something and just carry it out. I usually take this to serve as my breakfast, because I never want to go to the fresh early in the morning before class.

Tip #5: Set Boundaries With Your Roommate
If you don't know the person you're living with beforehand, make sure they understand what they can and can't touch. And then if you notice them taking your food or your clothes or something, start hiding your stuff or just calmly ask them about it, like, "Hey, have you seen my bear shirt?"

Tip #6: Find Safe Places
Sometimes you just need a place to chill between classes, or you just don't want to be stuck in your dorm room all day. Find places on or off campus where you can settle down and study or relax. I like the campus Starbucks and the local coffee place T-Bones, but the downsides to those places are that I usually end up spending money on coffee.

Tip #7: Splurge
Every once in a while, you deserve coffee, so go buy yourself a freaking mocha.

Tip #8: Don't Splurge
That said, don't buy yourself a mocha every single day, because your bonus bucks will run out fast. Sometimes you have to just settle for instant coffee or the cafeteria coffee. Try mixing it up by adding hot chocolate mix and a small candy cane.

Tip #9: Don't Lose Your ID
Punch a hole in it and keep it on a chain, buy a special case for it, do something besides just tuck it in your pocket, especially if you have small or loose pockets. One thing I like to do is tuck it into my socks, because it rarely falls out and I can constantly feel it there. Just don't lose it because it's a pain to get a temp card and then replace it.

Tip #10: Register at Dawn
Especially if you're trying to get into a small, good class. As soon as registration opens, REGISTER.

Tip #11: Don't Hang Out With Friends in Dark Places at 2:00 AM

Tip #12: Check the Weather
If it's raining, you want to be prepared with boots and an umbrella. If it's cold, you'll want a coat when you're hiking across campus. If it's hot, you better hope you didn't wear jeans and long sleeves.

Tip #13: Get Involved
Everyone loves saying this and annoys the crap out of me, but it's kind of true. But this does not mean you have to join a bunch of organizations, or even join any of them. I go to RUF and then I started my own book club. Sometimes it's really as simple as bullying your friends into hanging out with you.

Tip #14: Be Open
Admit One Direction is a guilty pleasure and someone else may admit it too.

Tip #15: Embrace the Awkward
If you say something awkward, just keep talking. Eventually you're so awkward that it's endearing and people think you're cute.

There, now I'm sure your freshman year will be a complete breeze.

--Dexter