1. Smoking is still a habit; Whoever convinced me that smoking is declining in America’s young people was, quite frankly, incorrect. Cigarette butts litter every concrete path on campus, despite the proximity of specially-designated smoking dispensers nearby. It’s gotten to the point where I sometimes fear wandering the lawns, for the sake of my own health and longevity. Hasn’t anyone every heard of lung cancer?
2. Online profiles do not tell all; I contacted a small number of girls online before arriving on campus, and I’ve been met with a surprisingly different personality, upon each encounter, than led to previously perceive. Now I know I’ll never participate in an online dating service, ever.
3. Take classes that interest you; Don’t sign up for a class just “because you have to” or your close fiends have chosen the same course. You’ll be miserable, and you’ll have to shell out $150 for a textbook you won’t even read. Enroll in courses that pique your interest, or fit your major; I’m absolutely enthralled by all of my courses this semester (Anthropology, Elementary Spanish, Fundamentals of Public Speaking, Plant Biology, Future of Media), and I’ve only had five days of class! I know I’m going to want to learn from these subjects and course material for the remainder of the year.
4. Be aggressive; Be fearless, don’t hold back. Every freshman at university has a treasure trove of untapped potential coming out of high school, we have to be willing to let others help mold and shape our future opportunities for success. I’ve already joined two student organizations, and I plan on getting as active as I can in these clubs, starting right now. Why should I idle on the sideline and simply wait for chances to appear? I plan on making my own opportunities because I see the vision of my own future. Be that bright shining star and ignite your own path.
5. Help a guy out (in the laundry room); Doing individual laundry is a struggle for everyone, starting out. Especially the male gender. I admit, I chuckled a little as I watched a group of three guys (attempt) to sort through their balled-up basket of laundry for the week, holding the detergent gel-packs like they were slimy eyeballs or pieces of raw meat. After attempting to dry my two loads, I realized I didn’t need the full hour for my handful of towels and athletic gear. So I called over to the guys and offered up the last thirty minutes of my dryers for their personal use. The two who accepted my offer were incredibly thankful – I just hope that if these goliath-sized gorilla-males ever see me cornered in an alleyway, they’ll remember my face and come to my rescue. We all have our different motives.
6. Be open to conversation; I’m the type of person who would much rather work during her lunch hour than sit and chat it up with random classmates or that awkward acquaintance you just can’t help but pass in the cafeteria. However, I’m learning to let go of my workaholic obsession and have a conversation, or two. Last week, I stopped and waited in line for the cafe doors to open next to a Criminology major and a Business major. We talked about Cedar Point (how it’s incredible that I’ve never gone on ‘The Dragster’ before), where we’d all gone to school, and anticipating the moment lunch hour would begin. As we walked inside, I was invited by the Criminology major to take a seat with him and his roommate, Business major. I didn’t hesitate- I accepted. We didn’t have to know each other well to share a meal together. That’s what college is about, meeting new people. I got up when it was time for my class, and genuinely thanked them for inviting me to lunch. I may never see them again, but that’s not the point. It’s through these moments that I’m shattering my social barriers and embracing conversations, whenever they arise. Even if a Photography major interrupts your study session to show you stunning images of Wiz Khalifa, I’ve learned that it’s in these unexpected conversations where you meet the most interesting, memorable people one could hope to know.
7. Sit front row. College is no time to worry or fret about those of your peers in the back who’ll snicker and scoff at those Hermione-esque girls, like me, who proceed promptly up to the front of the classroom. Just sit where you damn well please, even if it’s right in front of the professor. Chances are, you’re not the only one who wants to completely submerge in the lecture material. So, lead the way. If you’re the first one to sit up front, I guarantee others will follow – other students who have the same ambition and drive as you do. Forget the ones in the back: They’re not going to show up to Friday’s afternoon class, anyway.
8. Listen to your inner geek. If you want to talk about Harry Potter, do it. I developed so much angst in high school debating to display my intense love for the Potter world, or even for classic ‘geekdom’ collections like Star Wars, Avatar the Last Airbender, and more recently, the world of Shadowhunters in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. Now, I’m open and frank about these obsessions, and I’ve found a common bond in many of these geeky interests with my floor mates, and even my RA. Who knew that Pottermore was so popular on the first floor, enough that some of my mates even hacked into the website twice, just so they could take the sorting hat quiz again? I’m not ashamed of my fandom loves – they’re a part of my interests, my personal culture. And I’m glad I could share those loves with other residents, as well. We nerds are not alone.
9. Suburb education is superior. I never appreciated the education that I received from Gahanna Lincoln High School until I left for college and returned a weekend later. One short week completely changed my attitude towards this suburb and its myriad opportunities that I, luckily, took full advantage of. I do not regret my time at Gahanna, but I have definitely returned with much more praise than anticipated. So many of my classmates come from small, obscure Ohio towns, where being the involved in the school newspaper was an outside-of-school, extracurricular activity that employed a handful of students. Some of my peers didn’t even have a television broadcast course, and know not how to edit and splice video packages together. Gahanna, though quite cramped and crowded at times, is blessed with rigorous academic coursework along with club openings galore. My advice to current students, be thankful for your suburb education. You will do well in any university you wish to attend, for you’ve had exposure and awareness to develop real-world skills to take advantage of opportunities in the future.
10. Be thankful for Target toilet paper. Seriously. College toilet paper sucks. It’s about as thin as tissue paper and as coarse as pumice rock. I quickly realized that my overall comfort in daily relieving would be much aided by that coveted Target toilet paper sitting in a pile back home. Admittedly, my first college care packaged had in it a magazine from the mail and two rolls of Cottonelle from my mother. I couldn’t call and thank her soon enough.
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