1. Make mistakes. Make the same mistakes your roommates made. Make the mistake you made last semester. Make different mistakes. Make the same mistakes you’ve already made until you understand how to turn those mistakes into successes.
2. It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for an extension or to hand something in late. It’s okay to need time.
3. Trust in your professors. They’re all human, and just like your friends care when stuff in your life sucks, your professors care. Give them the benefit of the doubt. If you talk to them and tell them the truth, they’ll do what they can to help you.
4. Nobody wants you to fail.
5. Diane Anderson can fix anything, and she knows you better than you know yourself. This is a fact.
6. Friends are the people you can sit with at Sharples if you go there alone. Best friends are the people you can watch trashy TV with even though you both have work to do. Sisters are the people who stay up until 4:30 AM so that you can take a short nap at 4 and they know you won’t wake up, who order Cheng Hing with you at 11 at night because it’s easier for you to eat with other people, who come into your room and shake you awake, who check up on you without being judgmental. Make all kinds of friends, but make sisters. (You can have guy sisters. No, that doesn’t make them brothers.)
7. People have all sorts of identities. Respect them as much as you respect your own and do your best to learn the right terminology. Being able to respect and understand others goes a long way toward helping you respect and understand yourself.
8. Empathy first. Always. Remember that.
9. Karma is real. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.
10. “I’m having a personal emergency” is the best way to excuse a missed class or ask for an extension when you don’t want to talk about what’s going on.
11. Your mental and physical health matter. Do nothing from time to time. Watch your guilty pleasure. Read books you like. You can’t work all the time. You’ll go crazy. Tell yourself you won’t all you want, but you will.
12. Rely on other people. Let other people rely on you. Never, ever, EVER break the trust of a friend.
13. Sometimes, your friends happen at pre-Swat meet-ups. Sometimes, you have to look for your friends. Sometimes, Rachel Head puts them in your room and you’re all sleeping in the same Twin XL bed by October. I’m not saying one kind of friend is better than others, but…
…Nah. That’s totally what I’m saying. Make the kind of friends you can crawl into bed with.
14. PET ALL THE CAMPUS DOGGIES.
15. Take a class with Andrew Ward. Lucky for you, he teaches IntroPsych.
16. Take IntroPsych. Really. Psychology teaches you about other people, and there are some things you learn in psych that really help you in life.
17. Don’t say anything about someone that you wouldn’t say to that someone. This is a good lesson for life, but I definitely learned it because of the booths in Tarble and my inability to remember to swivel.
18. Hobbs. Go there. Study there. Work there. Exist there. Eat their food. Drink their coffee. Scoff at their prices, but do it anyway. TRY THEIR SUGAR WAFFLES. Just. Hobbs.
19. Take lots of pictures. One day, you’ll want to remember everything. Make sure you have photos to rely on.
20. Have a birthday week. Be the center of attention. Everyone needs it every once in a while. Don’t worry that you won’t be as fabulous a birthday princess as I am; you’re still doing great.
21. Loweclassmyn, it’s not “Essie’s.” It’s “Tarble.”
22. Every single person you meet at Swarthmore (and in life, really) will know something you don’t. Listen. Let others talk. Learn from what they’re saying. You won’t regret it.
23. Learning, listening and understanding do not necessarily mean agreeing. Argue. Discuss. Converse. Be opinionated. Don’t let people shut you up.
23. Learn how to make stuff you like at Sharples. I once went an entire semester eating nothing but panini-press peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches.
24. Go to Philly. Make a point to go at least once a semester. Go for dinner, go to a museum, go shopping. Go let the workers at Lush wash your hands for you. Just go.
25. Don’t ever lock yourself away in your room because you think you can’t, or because you think you aren’t something enough.
26. Get involved with things.
27. Don’t be afraid to quit things in the middle.
28. Listen to throwback music! Nothing gets a party going like “Oops! …I Did It Again.”
29. Solo cups are not for vodka.
30. Take breaks. Reward yourself for your accomplishments.
31. Getting out of bed and going to class is an accomplishment. So is answering your phone.
32. You can do an absurd amount of work in twelve hours.
33. Ask. Ask for help doing, ask for help understanding, ask questions.
34. Make the NYTimes your homepage. You should know what’s going on in The World, even if it’s vaguely and through headlines.
35. Tumblr and Netflix and Hulu and Twitter and Facebook will eat your life.
Use them anyway.
36. Turn off your phone sometimes. Be unreachable.
37. Get lost somewhere - in Philly, in New York City, in the crum.
38. Don’t do 36 and 37 at the same time.
39. Smile. Smile at animals, smile at little kids running around on campus, smile at your friends, smile at Paul Rablen when you see him walking around campus six thousand times a day. Smiling makes you happier. It’s true.
40. Study with other people, even if that just means doing work in the same place. Bring headphones.
41. Follow John Green on Twitter.
42. Read all the Neil Gaiman. Just do it.
43. Don’t have guilty pleasures. Have pleasures. Don’t ever be ashamed of the things you like. Blast Taylor Swift from your bedroom and dance around in your underwear, watch Dance Moms, read Twilight. If you like something, like it.
44. Change, but change for you. Change because you learn things about yourself. Change because you learn things about the world. Don’t change because someone asks you to or expects you to or because you think society is expecting that of you. You won’t be the same person at graduation that you were at orientation, but you should be able to look back to that wide-eyed froshYou and be happy with the changes you see.
45. Never apologize for you who are.