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The Freshman 15: 15 Tips for Your New Life as an Argo

1. Lose the lanyard

You frequently lose your keys, you haven’t memorized your student ID, and you’re required to swipe your Nautilus card at every turn. But wearing a lanyard is like painting a target on your forehead that says, “HELLO, I’M A FRESHMAN!” While there’s nothing wrong with being a freshman, you may not want to advertise that you are underage and perpetually lost.

2. You can make a meal in the microwave

A nine course, five star meal? Probably not going to happen. But you’re perfectly capable of making chicken quesadillas, queso, and guacamole in your dorm room.

3. Don’t sleep with anyone until November

There’s nothing wrong with safely, consensually, and responsibly getting your grind on. That said, we all have more than two friends who slept with the Campus Douche during their first month on campus. Avoid this carnal faux pas altogether by waiting until November to sleep with someone new. It’ll give you enough time to learn your surroundings and pinpoint the players.

4. Save your money

Learn to “treat yo’ self” when you deserve it; putting on pants today doesn’t justify another $4 coffee. Also, it may surprise you to find that Chick-fil-A is not actually a necessity to life on Earth. Save up for emergencies, groceries, parking tickets, necessities and fun stuff!

5. Use your planner

This is invaluable advice. Life in a new place is overwhelming. You’re walking into the wrong classroom, you’re out of toilet paper, and you’re pretty sure it’s been Wednesday for three days. A to-do list will make your life simpler, I promise.

6. Join an organization

When you join an organization that you’re passionate about, you’ll be surrounded by other passionate people who share interests with you. It’s a great opportunity to network and you can use these people for carpooling purposes. *Shameless plug: Her Campus UWF’s application deadline is Sept. 12!

7. Call your mom

Someone out there who cares about you is waiting for a phone call. They want to know that you’re eating, sleeping, and not crying yourself to sleep at night. They’ll drop what they’re doing and go to the ends of the Earth for you. That person deserves a phone call.

8. Stfu during class

Seriously, we’re all tired of the boisterous herd of freshmen in the corner of the lecture hall. You’re being disrespectful to your professor and your classmates. Shut up.

9. Introduce yourself to your professors

This is the first step to success in and outside of the classroom. Making that initial connection with your professor allows you some degree of familiarity; so next month when you have no idea what’s going on in class, it’ll be easier to walk into their office and ask for help. It’s also the start of a beautiful thing called **networking** which is wildly important for success in your field of study.

10. Roommates = worst enemies

You can avoid the spiral into passive aggressive Hell by sitting down together and openly discussing your grievances. Be prepared for your roommate to spit some back at you. You must compromise. Don’t expect your roommate to hold the same morals or ideas about a living space; we all grew up in different households, after all.

11. Use the trolleys

Three words: air conditioned transportation. A Campus Trolley will drive by each stop about every five minutes. The Express Trolley ferries students from the University Commons to Target, an invaluable resource for those without personal transportation, but its route takes 40 minutes round trip. To be on time for your ride, check the official Trolley schedule.

12. Know your limits

Don’t over-commit to clubs, social gatherings, work, that extra shot of tequila… You’re on your own now, so you have to figure out how much you can take. You are your own responsibility.

13. Take advantage of campus amenities

There’s a sauna in the Aquatic Center, free food and t-shirts at any event, a rock-climbing wall in the HLS Facility, massage chairs in the Wellness Center, study carrels in the Library, free condoms in the restrooms… I could go on. You’re going into debt for a college education so you might as well squeeze every last ounce out of the experience.

14. Yes, you can.

There’s this weird self-deprecating college culture that’s been popular for some time now. Don’t get caught up in it, don’t believe it. Your lack of sleep isn’t something to be proud of; your bad grades are not something to laugh at. You’re here for a reason: to be the best version of yourself. Get that degree, baby!

15. Leave your room

I guarantee that if you leave your room, you’ll meet people who have worse social anxiety than you do. Don’t waste your college years in the comfort of your dimly lit residence hall. Go to events, climb the Pensacola Lighthouse, ride the bull at Wild Greg’s, swim in the Gulf of Mexico, and explore campus to your heart’s desire. Just go.

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You'll find me in my hammock between classes, drooling over volcano sushi rolls, or cross stitching in silence. I'm a maritime studies student with a dream of working on oceanic documentaries or founding Atlantis, whichever comes first.
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