Sunday, July 24, 2011 | By: Brianna

A Bit of Advice

Q: What advice would you give to someone who was about to start college at your school?

A: Because I'm going to be working in a first year building for the second year in my Residential Life career, I should probably give this a little thought.  Even though I might not be interacting with the first years outside of crisis response-ness.  All the same...thought should be given.  Even though I'm not that great at giving advice.


When you get to school, do not go home within the first month of being there.  All of those annoying college books will tell you that you shouldn't go home the first month that you're away at school, and they'll give you all sorts of really important reasons, but the most important reason that I can think of is that that first month you're at school is when everyone is establishing friendships, building community and getting to know one another.  You don't want to be known as "the person who goes home every weekend," because once that happens, there's the possibility that people will distance themselves from you because you're not going to be around once the weekend rolls up.  So stay at school.

Make friends with your roommate.  This seems like a no-brainer, but I know a lot of roommate pairs who weren't friends with their roommate, they just lived with them.  And even though that's an acceptable relationship, and as long as you can deal with it, that's cool, but what I'm saying is that if you make friends with your roommate, you have an instant ally.  You have someone that you can hang out with all the time.  And you can always go to them for advice, help or support.  Living with that kind of support is really one of the best things about college.

Along that line of thought, if you're going to college with someone from your high school, please, please, PLEASE for the love of everything that is holy, do NOT live with them.  Because you will hate them by the end of first semester.  I promise.

More specific for my school....

On movie nights in Hansen, don't forget to get a raffle ticket.  It doesn't matter what movie it is, they're going to have raffle tickets at the desk in Hansen for when they raffle off the movie poster.  You're going to want a raffle ticket, because 1) they're free and 2) even if you never win anything ever...chances are you'll win something at Hansen.  And also, get popcorn.  It's also free.

Go to Hattie's for quick service and double punch Tuesdays.
Go to the Dugout for sub sandwiches.
Go to Tommy's for breadsticks.
Go to the Coffee Shop when you have time.  Lots of time.

Don't call the dining hall "Bertholf Commons," or every upperclassman on campus will know you're a first year.  It's called "Saga."  Don't question just is.  Okay, let me explain.  Saga used to be the food provider before Sodexho.  It just stuck.  Plus "Sodexho Dave" doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "Saga Dave."

If the event is on campus, chances are it's free.  So go to it.  It doesn't matter if it's a cheesy program put on by your RA or an event organized by RHA or Student Senate.  Now is the chance to go to things that you never would if you were required to pay for them.  So go to the speakers.  Go to the pep rally.  Go to football games and concerts.  And even if you have to pay to see the should go.  Because they're good.  Trust me.

Go to Ames, but if you want a study room, go early.  An hour really does make a difference.
Study in the Dugout, but only if you have time to people watch too.
Study in Hansen, but only if you can study with music playing over the speakers.
Study in CNS in an open classroom, stay for Amnesty International.
Go to Buck for the treehouse computer cubbies.
Go to Shirk for fitness classes.
Read on the quad.

Use your dorm kitchen.  Yes, it may be gross, so bring your own all-purpose cleaner and soap, but really.  Cook in the dorm kitchen.  You'll meet so many people just by making something delicious because they'll pass by, smell what you're cooking and stop to ask what it is.

Make friends with the Desk Aides, and your RA.  Because if you ever need something, they can help you.
Know people on RHA (Residence Hall Association).  Because they'll tell you what's going on on campus.
Say "hello" to your building's custodian.  Because they make life so much better in your dorm.

Join a group you're passionate about.  There's an RSO (Registered Student Organization) Fair at the beginning of the year, and nearly every club and organization on campus will have a booth.  So go and visit the booth for the Anthropology Club and sign up for Pseudonym Required's mailing list.  If anything, you'll get informative e-mails even if you don't go to meetings.  (See Brianna and Circle K.)

Skip class when you're sick.  Really.  Don't torture yourself.
Go to Health Services.  They have free cough syrup and cough drops and aspirin and condoms...

Dial "0" on any campus phone and ask the Main Desk to connect you to any public phone on campus.  Or just learn the last four digits of the number that you use the most.
Call your friend's room phone in the middle of the night.  It's great fun when your friend's an RA on duty and stays awake until 3 AM!  (Just kidding...)

Find a professor you like and take as many classes from them as you can.
Choose classes based on professor, not on what time it's at.  If you can help it.
Don't take all 8 AMs.  You won't like it, no matter how convinced you are that you "just got out of high school where you started at 8 AM every day."

Say "hi!" to people you don't know.  It's a small campus, you'll meet them sooner or later.  Plus it always brightens someone's day to know that someone took time to greet them.  It's just a word or two, and it only takes a second, so why not?

Scientia et Sapientia


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