It’s hard to believe, but my freshman year of college is coming to an end; on May 10th, I’ll be heading home for the summer, and exiting my dorm for the final time. It’s a little bittersweet, but at the same time, I can’t wait to start my sophomore year. While this year was really amazing, I could use a fresh start in a few aspects, and the fall of 2012 is the time to do it.
Everyone is going to make mistakes when they arrive at college, but hopefully my list can help any incoming freshman out there take note of what (not) to do when they get here!
1. Do not go home during the first month of school.
As I left for school, my niece and nephew had just begun their autumn soccer season and, being the supportive aunt that I’ve tried to be, I felt terrible missing their first game. I spent my first weekend on campus, but once the second one came around, I was heading home to see the kids play.
I should have waited.
You see, the first few weeks of class are possibly the most crucial, as it’s in this period when RAs are holding tons of floor bonding events and everyone is getting to know each other. While I was back home, my entire floor went out to Panera for lunch, and it was out of that day that everyone became friends; by the time I’d gotten back and joined them for a floor dinner later that week, I was the odd one out. To this day, though all the girls on the floor are friendly to me and like me well enough to always say hi when we pass each other, I’ve never fully been a part of the floor, and it was definitely a bit lonelier of an experience than I would have wanted.
2. When asked which side of the room you want, think it through.
I need time to process my thoughts when it comes to big decisions like this, and unfortunately, I didn’t have that time on move-in day. So when the question was posed, I rashly just pointed to the bed on the far wall and claimed it for my own. I would later come to realize that this side of the room only had one set of electrical outlets–my roommate has two on her side.
I also believe this played a major role in my inability to fully integrate myself to my floor. You see, my room was set up as such last semester:
So, what’s the problem? This: passers-by could see my roommate at all times, but never me. As a result, no one really knew I existed because, unless I was actually being sought out, it was impossible to for anyone to see me from the hallway.
So, moral of the story: if you’re a shy person, try to be as close to the door as possible so people can actually see you and stop in to say hi. Otherwise, you’ll just become another piece of furniture.
3. GET INVOLVED. (And ask your new friends if they’re interested in doing it with you!)
When you’re as timid as I am, it’s really hard to just show up to a meeting alone, and for that reason, I missed out on doing a lot of things I wanted to do, like going on mission trips during spring break and joining the committees for our community service organizations.
Turns out, I had a friend who wanted to do all the same things all along.
My friend (and sophomore year roommate!) and I have decided that we’re going to do everything we didn’t get to freshman year, especially mission trips (including, if we get in, a winter break service trip to Belize!). This year just wasn’t as fulfilling as it could’ve been.
So, here’s to hoping I can try again with sophomore year and make better use of it than I did this time around.
Until then… I can only wait and trudge through these final exams…