5 Things to Learn Your First Week on Campus

I learned more my first week at college than I did in my entire life. And I don’t mean academically. I mean socially, financially, emotionally and drunk-ly. Some things took longer to figure out than others (that I should visit the ATM before I get to the bar, to avoid extra fees and my tendency to tipsily make it rain) and other things took mere minutes (don’t eat dining hall hot dogs).

But there are 5 things that every freshman should figure out their very first week on campus. Consider this College Life 101: Intro To The Best 4 Years of Your Life.

The go-to hangover breakfast spot: For those mornings when a Gatorade and toast just won’t do the trick, you need to find the most happening breakfast place near campus. This is not only important for the mornings when you need to take things to-go (back to your bed where you can lie in the dark while watching Daisy of Love marathons), but also for the social aspect of morning-after breakfast. Because everyone knows, after the party it’s the after party…and after that and the hotel lobby… it’s IHOP.

So, on those mornings when your inner monologue sounds like “Hahalalala definitely still drunk and my hair and makeup still look great!” you’ll know where you and your girls can go to re-cap last night’s madness while chowing on carby goodness and watching people walk in wearing their clothes from the night before.

Where you can and can’t use your fake i.d. : I remember when I got my first fake i.d. (the same one I still have, actually, even though it expired in 2007 and I’ll be retiring it in a month). I was so excited to use it anywhere and everywhere (even when I wasn’t drinking). But that kind of enthusiasm definitely could have gotten me in big trouble if I hadn’t discovered very quickly where I could and couldn’t use it.

Ask any older friends or siblings you know who went to your school, hell ask friendly strangers! Just ask someone where your fake i.d. will get you in and where that puppy will taken.  The easiest way to figure out where to use your fake is to go out as much as possible, to as many bars as possible (which you’ll be doing anyways) and make a bartender/bouncer/shotgirl friend who can give you a heads up if the boss plans on, you know, enforcing the legal drinking age.

Your new address, where the post office is,  and protocol for paper mail and packages. Grandma needs somewhere to send those care packages! And you sure as hell can’t tell her where to send delicious cookies or money “for an ice cream sundae” if you don’t have your new dorm address memorized. Or written down. Anywhere. Also, figure out if packages should be sent to your campus p.o. box or the front desk of your dorm. Unfortunately the Fed-Ex guy won’t deliver that hot new mini dress straight to your dorm room.

The best campus hangouts: For those rare occasions you want to enjoy the company of your new friends sans Johnny, Jack and Jose…or even, you know, study, you need a place to go other than your oh-so-spacious dorm room. Read your campus newspaper, look at fliers around your dining hall or just listen to word-of-mouth. Your campus might have a famous burger joint where everyone chills, a live music hookah bar, a local coffee shop. Even if the campus hot spot is a library, it’ll be nice to hang out somewhere where you’re bound to know someone even if Starbucks starts charging for Wi-Fi (personal true story) and it gets too cold to lounge on the quad.

Fashion protocol: Even now that you’ve finally arrived on campus, it’s time to start dressing like you belong there (which, of course, you already do if admissions had anything to say about it). Take a look around to gather the general fashion climate of your school. Do you see a lot of girls wear their gym clothes to class or do they usually get more dressed up? Are PJ’s a do or don’t in the dining hall? If you needed to wear heels for an interview or event before/after class, should you bring a change of shoes?

I’m not saying you should get decked out to go to class or that you should go out and buy an entirely new wardrobe (although if you can swing it, by all means get your shop on), but you don’t want to stick out like a weird freshman sore thumb. The best way to figure out a way to college-ify your look is to check out older girls whose fashion sense you admire, or whose is similar to yours, and put your own spin on it. Then you’ll be “that girl who always dresses so cute” and not “that freshman who wears Crocs.”

What do you guys think is the most crucial stuff to learn your first week (besides all the important/boring stuff they go over at orientation)? What do you wish you’d learned right off the bat?

Why You Should…Stop Texting
Why You Should…Stop Texting
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