Jaded college veteran offers tips to survive your first semester

Published by adviser, Author: Janelle Wilson, Date: March 3, 2016

You must be new here. I can tell by the bright gleam in your eye and the lanyard dangling  proudly from your neck.  Don’t worry, it’ll be months before the enthusiasm is sucked from you as completely  as the third cup of coffee the night before your first final’s week.

You’re a freshman, and unless you came into college with a rulebook for how to  behave and succeed, then you’re probably as lost as I am trying to figure out what I’m going to do after I graduate. If only I had a dispensary of sage wisdom at my disposal. Consider yourself lucky.

1. Throw everything you know about being a “cool kid” out the window.

Oh, you were the quarterback of your football team in highschool? That doesn’t matter here. You were homecoming or prom queen and student body president? Fascinating. There is no interesting person who leads their introduction by saying that they were popular in high school.  Here in no man’s land, it doesn’t matter how cool you were in high school, but how cool you are as a human being. And if you weren’t cool in high school, chances are you’re

actually a pretty cool person with a wide range of interests. Go you.

2. Be careful about who you spend your time with, you could be stuck with them for four years or more.

The best part of going in college is meeting new people and having new experiences.  Unfortunately after awhile, those new people you meet become lifelong friends. Do you really want to have that kind of commitment?  The girl you lived with freshmen year could wind up being one of your best friends to this day, and that boy down the hall who was “just a fling” could wind up being a three and a half year relationship (whoops.) Choose your tribe carefully, you will be stuck with them, after all.

3.When passive aggressive roommates are coming in hot, grab a shovel and dig a foxhole.

Roommate drama is inevitable. Even adulthood doesn’t relieve  you from passive aggressive texts, piles of dirty dishes and  hundreds of dollars worth of food that has gone MIA.  There is no  way to come  from this fight clean, so duck and cover.

4. Save up money so that you can fuel your impending caffeine addiction.

When people warned me of the dangers of drinking too much coffee, I laughed it off. I didn’t drink coffee in high school, why would I need it in college? I’ve never been more wrong about anything in my life. Three short months later I was drinking a pot of coffee every day just to sustain myself. It’s best to start cutting your losses now. Who needs food when there’s coffee, anyway?   

5. Be ready to go on strange adventures with new friends.

You know those new friends that I mentioned earlier? Well chances are that they are as strange as you are. Always be prepared for midnight trips to Sheetz, early morning trips to Starbucks and if you’re lucky enough to have a car, first class trips to Butler and Grove City. Our world here may be small, but there will be no shortage of other SRU students on those same adventures.

6. Keep your uniform straight, wash your hoodie and sweatpants at least once a month.

In college, being fashion forward isn’t one of your top priorities. While being trendy isn’t necessarily important, being clean is. I know that $1.25 for laundry can get expensive and rounding up quarters daunting, but   at least keep your collegiate uniform  looking presentable. It might even be wise to invest in a sweatshirt and sweatpants for special occassions.

7. The freshman 15 won’t keep you looking hot, but it will help keep you warm.

Slippery Rock does not have a temperate climate within any interpretation of the word. If you’re to survive daily walks to the quad in the arctic winters that we have here, you’ll want to pack on a few pounds. Go ahead and indulge in the cheeseburgers at Boozel, and go ahead and go to Quaker Steak the extra night every week. Every little bit helps toward surviving your first winter here, just don’t forget to thank me when the rest of your friends try too late to pack on the extra survival weight.

8. Don’t trust any printer at any time for anything.

If your professor is one of those who still demands print copies of papers, be sure to have your assignments printed at least a day ahead of time. The printers in the library bow to no man, so I wouldn’t even try there. Even your own personal printer will betray you, especially if you’re running late. Printers smell fear, and they will know immediately  if you’re printing a paper at 7:50 for an 8 a.m. class every time. If you respect the printer, the printer will respect you.

9. If you’ve always wanted to compete in the Hunger Games,     go to Boozel during common hour and pay with a debit card.

There is nothing more agonizing than waiting in line at Boozel  during common hour. Add the ridiculous wait time, and it is only made worse when someone tries to pay with a debit card.  The easiest way to make yourself the most hated person in all of SRU is to pay with a debit card at Boozel. Don’t be that person, and you will survive the Boozel lunch rush.

10. In between all of the panic and rage, remember to have fun.

Freshman year was my favorite year of college. I learned a lot, had so much fun (in retrospect, maybe too much,) and met people who I am still friends with to this day. Luckily for you, you have three more years to worry about becoming a successful functioning adult, so take advantage of the year that you’re expected to make mistakes. Have a blast, and make all the memories you can.        


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