Whether we want to admit it or not, orientation is overwhelming. Starting a new chapter of life is overwhelming. Being on our own for probably the first time in our lives is overwhelming. If it was anything like my experience, most of what they told you went in one ear and out the other.
It wasn’t until moving into my dorm that everything became real. My cousin gave me my first piece of advice for college freshman: ditch the lanyard. If you want to be recognized as a freshman from a mile away, by all means keep wearing it, but I think you’ll appreciate the anonymity a bit more.
The second piece of advice I learned within the first few weeks, and subsequently for the rest of the year: make nice with your roommate. Whether or not you like each other or get along, at least try. Otherwise, it’ll be a hell of a long year.
The third piece of advice took me a bit longer to realize: appreciate and take advantage of the community of your dorm. We all know some of the dorms aren’t great. Myers, Kelly, Van R, Towers…whatever the case. I was in Myers and didn’t know what to make of it. It was honestly pretty gross, but the people were awesome. I made a lot of close friends my first few weeks, and then my architecture major responsibilities pulled me away and we gradually lost touch as the year when on. I wish I could go back and tell myself to appreciate what I had before it was gone.
Oh and random thought, don’t forget shower shoes because…reasons. Anyway, the fourth piece of advice sounds simple but it’s easy to forget: never stop trying new things. College is a time of exploration and discovery, a time when we finally get to figure out who we are…without parents or anyone else around. So go ahead and go to that party, grab a few friends and venture around the city, or have that movie night with your floormates. You owe it to yourself to of course work hard, but also to have some fun along the way. Just be safe and (at least try) not to make dumb decisions. Let your experience be without regrets so you can look back once it’s all over and know you lived it up.
The only other thing I can think of to say is make it your own experience, never someone else’s. Don’t try to have what someone else has or be who someone else is. Be proud of who you are and if you don’t quite know who exactly you are yet, that’s totally cool too. Just find your group – it probably won’t even take long to find it. They’ll be there for you and help you through it all. And don’t forget to call home every now and then. I promise it won’t hurt ya.