Whether you know it yet or not, college is going to forever alter your outlook on life. College, the prime opportunity for new beginnings, is a time for personal growth, friendships and independence. Although college life has become notorious for hookups and raging parties, the vitality of these few short years is based on how you identify yourself as a person. Take a word from the wise: while college can be liberating from the daily grind of high school, there are some blunders that you would rather not make. As a soon-to-be sophomore, I have a few tips on how to safely navigate through your freshman year.
Tip One: Your roommate does not have to be your new BFF
While all of us want to get along with our roommate, you should not automatically declare her as your destined new best friend. Although it might feel safer to cling to the girl that you are living with, you should focus on getting to know other people, too. With this strategy in mind, you can become acquainted with a variety of people.
Also, if you and your roommate aren’t getting along, remember that it isn’t necessarily the end of the world. I had my own share of roommate issues earlier this year, but I’ve found that talking through your problems can make all the difference. And if at the end of the day your situation with your roommate isn’t working, simply request to switch. Although moving in to another room can seem like more of a hassle, your overall happiness is more important than a few hours of the uncomfortable moving-out process.
Tip Two: Tonight’s drunken hookups could be tomorrow’s regrets
You’re chatting up the hottie at the party, and he’s been pouring you drinks all night. I’m just going to flat out say it since I’ve been there, done that: Chances are he’s not looking for a friendship. Before you make yourself the “freshman conquest,” just remember that you may regret what you do when the hangover has fully gone away. In general, the guys that you see wasted at the parties are not always of the best quality. Any guy who is worth getting to know will talk to you when he’s not intoxicated. Instead of lowering your standards, keep your eyes open for the guys who want to study with you or hang out at a coffee shop. Chances are that these will be the ones that you will want to get to know better.
Tip Three: Don’t try to be something you aren’t
College is all about new opportunities, but this doesn’t mean that you have to lose yourself in the process. Know who you are, and don’t forget to hang on to the things that you love doing. Whether it’s an activity or a hobby, keeping a part of yourself when you go to college can make the biggest difference in adjusting to life away from your familiarities. In all seriousness, your new friends will like you for who you are, not for who you are pretending to be. Remember that important fact when you are wanting to hop on that bar table next weekend in order to impress your new college buddies. If you’re not the party child, it’s perfectly okay to keep your feet planted firmly on the floor.
Tip Four: Sometimes you meet the cuties in the most unexpected of places
Instead of partying it up with random boys, there are other locations to successfully find someone that could catch your eye.
1. At a sporting event: Many men love sports. For these guys, there is nothing that gets their blood pumping more than seeing a cute girl rooting for the same team.
2. Volunteering: Although in high school it was less than cool for guys to be involved in volunteering, many choose to do so in college. If you’re looking for sensitivity, this could be your outlook.
3. In the dorms: It sounds obvious, but many girls don’t pay attention to the guys who stay on campus. Instead of getting wasted and hooking up with random people, these guys are chilling with their friends. You’d be surprised at the sheer number of genuinely nice men who would rather spend quality time with their buds rather than hitting the bars.
4. At the gym: Going to the gym can be a way to kill two birds with one stone: You get to have a nice workout while checking out your attractive peers.
Tip Five: Distance yourself from home, but still keep in touch
No one wants to be dependent on their parents when they go off to college, but having a good relationship with people at home can help you adjust better to your new life. Without the connections at home, figuring out college life can seem overwhelming. A healthy balance is key. Learn how to be independent, but also remember to value those who support you at home.
Tip Six: Don’t be afraid to ask for help
College is all about learning who you are, but you should not be afraid to ask for help along the way. Whether it's concerning classes, roommates or adjusting to college life, know that there are always people around to help you out. As far as classes go, the best advice that I can give you is to regularly talk to your teachers about your progress throughout the semester. Professors at St. Olaf have office hours scattered throughout the week, and they are always more than happy to discuss academics. In addition to your professors, other important revenues for seeking help on different issues would be the Campus Wellness Center, and your JCs who live in your dorms. The Campus Wellness Center deals with a variety of issues, including those deriving from problems with your mental health, and your JCs are there to discuss any questions that you may have about college life. Just remember: you are never alone, and there are plenty of people willing to help!
So ladies...I hope these few tips helped, and we all can’t wait to see you on the Hill next year at St. Olaf College! Um Ya Ya!
Photo Credit: universitylifecafe.k-state.edu