Wednesday, October 5, 2011

On College

Vague title is vague. I couldn't think of a better one.

Hello my darlings. As you probably are already aware, last year was my freshman year of college. Over the summer, I worked at a College and Career Adviser's office as an intern. Between that and the number of my friends who were just graduating and now headed off to their freshman years, I got a lot of questions about what advice I would give to incoming freshmen.

What I found funny was the fact that most people seemed surprised by the fact that my first two pieces of advice were "Do your homework between classes" and "Don't wear a lanyard."

But those two pieces of advice (and a few very similar rules) are what allowed me to survive my freshman year, and actually really enjoy it. So, I guess this post is about the rules of being a freshman. (Blame for the fact that I've been thinking about this.)

  1. Do Your Homework Between Classes. Or on weekends. Or early in the afternoon. The point is, do it when you have time and are already on a roll. I very rarely get overwhelmed with my workload, and I can say I attribute that to getting my work done when I have time. Plus, if your work is already done by 5 o'clock in the afternoon, there's nothing stopping you from joining your friends downtown, going out for the night, or vegetating watching television later. You have the time if you're willing to make the time.
  2. Reward Yourself. College is hard. Sometimes you need a little motivation. Many long hauls in the library or unpleasant assignments have been made a little easier by promising myself that "If I finish this, I can get sushi for dinner" or "I've been working so hard, I deserve a shopping trip." Small rewards tend to make a huge difference in my motivation to get things done.
  3. Don't Wear A Lanyard. Or an absurd amount of school memorabilia. Don't walk around asking for directions. Basically, don't do things that make you stand out as a freshman. People tend to have a problem with freshmen. Honestly, most of us are jealous of how relatively easy your workload is and how much time you have ahead of you (also of the fact that pretty much any stupid decision can be explained away by letting people know you're a freshman). But people do tend to treat you differently as a freshman, and life is a lot easier when you don't do things that draw attention to the fact that you are one.
  4. Do What Makes You Happy and the Rest Will Follow. Friends? Extra-curriculars? Going Greek or choosing not to? Major decisions? These all seem like major stress factors, and they're all certainly decisions and milestones you will have to reach. But if you start out by trying everything that sounds interesting and doing what makes you happy, then finding friends who have similar interests, joining clubs, rushing or not rushing, and declaring will all come a little bit easier (and will be a lot less stressful).
  5. SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK. This is college. You're kidding yourself if you think something doesn't need to be thrown off the boat. There is only so much time in the day for eating, sleeping, studying, hanging out, working, getting involved, volunteering, and anything else you need to do. Something's gotta give. I suggest sleep. Full-on insomnia is never a good thing, but save the mid-day naps for breaks, weekends, and after exams.
I guess that's my tentative advice for freshmen.

Sophomorically Yours,
Rachel Leigh

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