When I first started college a year ago, I had a very little idea of the year to come. I knew it would be nothing like the movies and if anything I was hoping to make some new friends. In nearly a months thousands upon thousands of others like me will be taking their first step into college feeling the same as I did. So I am here to give my five pieces of advice that will be good to know during your first week of school.
1. Don’t panic on move in day.
I was rare among my friends where instead of going to a college close to home, I went somewhere two hours away from my house. It had always been a dream of mine to get out there and try and become someone new. But when move in day came I was a mess. I cried when I said goodbye to my cat, when we left my street, and when the signs came up that we were getting closer to the college. But I learned that it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel emotion when you leave a home you’ve been at most of your life. But unlike me, I had many friends who did not cry on move in day. It’s okay if you do or your don’t, neither makes you better than the other.
Nothing is going to go smoothly on move in day. Someone will get lost or something may break. You may unpack your things in the wrong room. You may realize you left something vitally important at home that you can’t go a day without. It’s okay. Forgetting something is normal. I know my mother was mailing little things I had forgotten at home the day after I left. Just because you don’t have those things now doesn’t mean the world is going to end. Your college dream will not be crushed.
Basically my advice is: take deep breaths throughout the day. Someone is going to drive you crazy or make you upset. Don’t let that get to you. This is the beginning to something awesome.
2. Don’t be afraid to eat alone.
At the college I attend, I knew no one there. A few kids from my high school went but I didn’t know them well enough to become friends with them. I was put into a suite which meant that I lived with seven other girls(not as terrifying as you would think.) So when dinner time came around I found myself lost. My roommate had gone off with some girls she had met and I knew no one else in my suite. So I went by myself to the dining hall and ate alone. Of course I was texting and snapchating my friends so I wasn’t completely alone. But as I looked around the hall, I realized there were a lot of other kids there too, eating alone and looking nervous.
Eating alone turned out to be a good thing because as I left, a girl in my building stopped me on the way out. She remembered me from the hall meeting and worked for Housing. She said “I saw you eating alone and I was wondering if you wanted to come with me and a few of my friends to go see a movie on the lawn.” I was surprised she asked me but I gladly excepted. I didn’t really talk to that girl again but it was a nice start to a great semester.
Advice: Do what’s comfortable for you. I decided to eat alone because I wanted to face my fears. I knew people who stayed in their rooms all night because that was comfortable for them. Whatever works for you do it.
3. There is a 50% chance you will become friends with your roommate
This is always a complicated because there are so many people who have so many different situations. My roommate and I were good friends during the first semester but by the time the second semester ended we barely spoke. A lot of our problems were miscommunication and both of us were too stubborn to try and fix things after a long semester of fighting.
This may not be your situation. I know many people who have kept in touch with their old roommates and are still good friends. I also know people who can barely speak their name without wanting to throw up. Don’t let this get you down. Everyone is different in their way of communicating and discovering who they are.
Advice: Keep communication open. If you aren’t comfortable with what your roommate is doing, say something. Bring a mutual friend that can help if that makes you more comfortable. But also vice versa. If your roommate comes to you with a problem she/he has, listen and try to compromise. Communication is key.
4. Leave your room
It is very tempting to hide in your room all weekend and watch videos on Netflix or Youtube. But hiding in your room is something your shouldn’t do. Try to look up events that are happening on campus. If you’re an Introvert like me, the thought of socializing makes you tense. But try and build the courage to go to at least one event. This will make you so much more comfortable with the people around you and get you use to the flow of the college.
Many clubs try their advertising during the first week of school. Get yourself out there and try to find something that suits your eye. Most colleges have a huge variety when it comes to the clubs and organizations they have. Maybe you’ll find the one that suits you best.
Advice: Leave your room. You won’t regret it.
5. The first year is the hardest
My first year of college was a lot of ups and downs. I like to focus on the ups but also remembering how I got to the downs. No one’s first year is going to be perfect. There are so many tests, projects, and speeches that seem so far in the future but come so fast. If you can, try to make at least one friend in every class. That way you have someone that can give you advice or even help you along the way.
I was lucky enough that my close friend at college now had the exact same schedule as me during our first semester. We have become so close since and I don’t regret the day we started talking.
Finally I would like to say that college isn’t for everyone. It’s okay if after your first semester you say “This isn’t right for me.” or even after your first year. The first year is a trial period to figure out who you are and who you want to become. I hope this helps anyone out there who may be stressing over college right now.
Apparently, if Princeton’s entire Freshmen class told Princeton “nah, I don’t wanna attend…” then there would still be enough qualified applicants with 4.0’s and 2400’s to replace the entire class 2.5 times over.
Ultimately, it’s up to your personality and essays and your out-of-school life. I know a lot of you guys are stressing, and I too am dying to know “hey what’s my chance of getting into this college???” but this kind of proves that there is no set formula. Plenty of valedictorians and 2400 SAT students get rejected from Ivies. Just be yourself. Don’t stress out too much. (:
Easy to say, hard to do, I know. but this is my little message for you guys today.
New research from the Scholes Lab: Solvent-dependent photo-induced dynamics in a non-rigidly linked zinc phthalocyanine-perylenediimide dyad probed using ultrafast spectroscopy. Read more here: pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2017/CP/C7CP02143G#!divAbstract
Compare Russell and Einstein, two leading figures, roughly the same generation. They agreed on the grave dangers facing humanity, but chose different ways to respond. Einstein responded by living a very comfortable life in Princeton and dedicating himself to research that he loved, taking a few moments for an occasional oracular statement. Russell responded by leading demonstrations and getting himself dragged off by the cops, writing extensively on the problems of the day, organizing war crimes trials, etc. The result? Russell was and is reviled and condemned, Einstein is admired as a saint. Should that surprise us? Not at all.
Nate hadn’t been particularly looking for anybody that evening. He’d given a polite hello to a few of his colleagues, had a cordial conversation with the dean so that he knew he’d showed, and he’d already downed the number of drinks he’d allotted to himself beforehand. He hadn’t been there nearly two hours. It wasn’t that Nate didn’t value the societal and historical aspect of the event; anyone who’d ever spent two minutes with him knew he did. The social event, however, was a different ballgame.
Though he’d never been one, he’d been around snobbish socialites all his life. At Princeton, Cornell, and even now in NYU - hell, his mother had always wanted to be one. He remembered the glimmer in her eyes when the two of them got the invitation for the parents’ reception his freshman year. He recalled how she spent weeks choosing an outfit, even longer saving up for it, and how it seemed to be the happiest night of her life. He had never enjoyed the social aspect of it nearly that much. At times, he wished he did.
Lost in his thoughts, he didn’t notice that someone else he knew had come into frame. It was only when the light brown hair caught the dim light in a way that was undeniably familiar did he realize it was Sophia. His mind raced: should he say hello? She hadn’t seen him yet; could he slip away without being seen? Would it be rude? She had denied him, after all, and it had stung a little more than he’d thought.
Deciding that ignoring her would be childish, he gripped his drink tightly in his hand, willing his feet to move forward. She still hadn’t noticed him, and he wondered if it was possible to get her attention in a way that seemed uncaring. Taking one last gulp, he steeled himself and tried to appear as casual as possible. “So,” he said, loud enough for her to hear, “is this more your scene then?”