Everything I Need to Know I Learned My Freshman Year

Now that I’m halfway done with my college career (a pretty cushy place to be, considering I have two more years before the real world), I anticipate all the bright eyed and bushy tailed freshmen about to invade the dorms and use fake-id’s at all my favorite bars. Putting myself in their shoes, I wish that someone had been there to give me advice for my college career (all I got was my Mom telling me not to hook up with any fraternity boys until Spring semester). So I dove in head first and learned a few lessons of my own.

I learned the value of my dry erase board to my social life, I learned that “attendance optional” classes are not always a good thing. I learned that I should always have an assortment of costumes readily available, and that sharing drinks with my friends meant sharing drinks with whoever they made out with (and whoever they made out with…) All of these were very important lessons, and I’d like to share some of the pearls of wisdom I gained my freshman year.

College is not as big a place as you think.

It was easy to assume that a huge new campus meant instant anonymity. Therefore it was also very easy to assume that taking 6 tequila shots, throwing up underneath a bar stool, and going home with some guy in a sombrero at my first college Mexican restaurant experience would have no repercussions. Unfortunately, my hangover proved otherwise, as did the nickname “El Puke Capitan” that followed me around for the rest of my freshman summer. Oh, and Senor Sombrero? In the same section as me for Social Problems that Fall. Bottom line: college is big, but it ain’t that big.

You will not wake up at 7, make a power smoothie, hit the gym, shower then go to your 9 am class. Ever.

Come December of my freshman year, I realized what a mature, responsible and “together” young woman I had become (making your own doctor appointments can have that effect). So, I decided that I’d be way more productive and on top of shiz if I made all my Spring M, W, F classes at 9 am. That way I’d have time to wake up, eat a healthy breakfast and listen to CNN podcasts on my way to hot yoga. After that I’d hit the showers and head off to my first class with a post-workout glow. Unfortunately, that post-workout glow was more like post- flip cup nausea, the closest I got to a healthy breakfast was O.J. with my McMuffin, and I never did make it to the gym. More importantly, I very rarely made it to those early classes. Bottom line: prioritize school over partying, but don’t kid yourself about your ability to turn down nickel beers at your favorite bar. When you have the chance to take a later class, just do it.

If you have the opportunity to bring a big bag out, pack a survival kit.

Clutches are cute, and obviously the more practical handbag option for a night of debauchery, but if you can get away with a monster bag, bring that bad boy out. That way, you can pack a toothbrush, flip flops, Soffes and the proper toiletries to decrease the embarrassment level on your walk of shame. Of course the easiest way to avoid the W.O.S. is not to shack with randos, but if I learned anything my freshman year, it’s that those random nights of terrible decision making will occur. Bonus: you can pack your own condom preference. Her Pleasure, anyone?

If your future roommate shows signs of insanity, it may be time to break the lease.

After successfully surviving two semesters of random roommate pairing, I was extremely excited to get my first apartment my sophomore year and signed a lease with two friends from home and one of their friends. We planned how we would decorate our bedrooms and living room and thought of all the themed dinner/drink nights we would have at our cute little kitchen table. I thought that my new roomies would be GREAT, but looking back, the signs were all there. I realized that saying my third roommate’s name earned me some strange, almost piteous looks from mutual friends. I heard more about her spring break hookups from JuicyCampus than I did from her. She started a fist fight and pressed charges against the other girl.

Yeah, in retrospect I probably would have reevaluated my roommate choice, it would have saved me a broken front window that she kicked in, a whole bunch of food that she ate, hours of sleep lost listening to screaming matches between her and others, and a whole bunch of Claritin from the time she bought a cat (even though my other roomies and I are allergic and our apt. is pet free!) At least in the future I know to make roomie decisions a little more carefully…

Get to Know Your Profs and T.A.’s

Fresh out of high school, the idea of spending any extra face time with a teacher seemed a little…lame. But then I realized that seeing a teacher twice a week (along with 200 other students) would not allow them to ever know who I was (or know that I was their favorite student ever), so I started going to office hours. Professors are always willing to clarify assignments, and LOVE discussing their lecture material (most of them would gladly continue talking long after their hour and 15 minutes is up) and appreciate you being proactive about your grades. T.A.’s like this kind of meeting because it’s less formal than their classroom setting and they can level with you as a peer. Also, it shows them you’re interested in what they have to say. A personal relationship with your professor or T.A. will come in handy when you are running late on an assignment, need extra help, or earn an 89.45% in their class and need an opportunity for extra credit.

Keep your Facebook clean.

When I look back on my freshman year, I look back in neatly captioned and tagged albums via my profile. The first look back last summer, after completion of my first year at college, made me realize that I had some major deleting and de-tagging to do. While those pics of me impressively funnelling or taking ice-luge shots with my besties show my friends I can outdrink them, I didn’t want to know what they would show the family I babysat for if they ever saw. So I started deleting. Goodbye Pikeboy Lingerie Party pics, so long drunk wheelbarrow race to the stadium on gameday, no more 47 second kegstand (47 seconds!!). Yes I will miss these pictures, but they’re still on my hard drive, and now there are no creepy old men enjoying my creative use of Saran Wrap for anything-but-clothes parties. Even better? Employers, professors, and my friends’ parents can judge me based on PG-rated pics. Bottom line: put down the Solo before you say cheese, and you’ll be much happier you did.

Google’s Down. The World Weeps.
Google’s Down. The World Weeps.
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