As I begin to mentally and emotionally prepare myself for the start of my Junior Year, the questions I keep asking myself include, “Am I really halfway done?” “Should I have gotten Hillside more often?” and “Did I do everything right?” I know that there is not a single person out there that has had the quintessential college experience, but reflection has definitely crossed my mind over this past month. While I am irrefutably not an overflowing glass of wisdom and grace when it comes to new experiences, I think that I know enough after two years of school to shed some light on to your highly anticipated freshman year.
Step 1: Take some time to date around and find your roommate.
While I chose to do the random selection route, I think that finding someone that you click with before you even meet is a great path to take. And while I did like the roommates I had, I regret not going through the whole “dating” for a roommate process. It is not only a smart way to find your compatible second half, but it also is a fun experience to start off college right and meet some new people before you even step onto Newton or Upper (shout out to my beloved Fenwick Hall) for the first time. Plus, you two will have a huge laughing session looking back on the corny and awkward flirty conversations you had a couple of years down the line.
Step 2: Pick out room décor that you love.
I know that if you are boy the only room décor that you need is an American flag and a twelve-pack. But for girls this is not only a crucial step, but a really fun one as well. Taking the time to pick out a bedspread and decorations that make you feel at home will help immensely in the adjustment process. Everyone feels homesick for a short period after their parents ship them off to college, so having a room that reminds you of your bedroom at home is the key to feeling not only happier, but more comfortable in your new environment. Regardless of the obviousness of this next tip, putting up pictures of your friends, family, and puppy will help to make you feel more at home as well. Pinterest always has great ideas when it comes to room décor. I also liked looking up videos on YouTube to see how other girls decorated their dorm rooms and the specifics of their organization methodology in such a compact space. Doing this step will inspire you to have the perfect dorm setup that will allow you to succeed in your first year away from home.
Step 3: Be confident.
I am definitely a shy person, especially when it comes to meeting new people. I am the type of person who comes off really quiet when you first meet me, but once I am comfortable around you I allow my true, crazy personality to shine. It was hard for me going off to college because I did not know really what friends I was looking for, or even if I would find a group of friends that I like and who would like me back. Additionally, I had a really hard time, and still do, being away from the friends that I had left behind. However, the only advice I can give you when it comes to making new friends that last is to be confident. Even if you are a quieter and more reserved person, like me, confidence is always stronger than criticism. No one can look down on you if you openly love everything about yourself and own it. People will be drawn to your optimism and love for life and I bet that you will make a few good friends because of it.
Step 4: Don’t Procrastinate.
I will admit, as my hand silently glides into the air above my head, I am guilty of this step. Not only am I a procrastinator, but I am also the world’s WORST procrastinator. I always have been as I am completely comfortable with the idea of completing an assignment two hours before it is due. However, one thing that I regret not doing during my freshman year was working harder on lessening these habits. I spent a lot of time exploring campus, talking to friends, and relaxing. While all of these are irrefutably things that you should be doing, take college in stride. You have so much time to hang out with friends and be young, and your life will definitely be less stressful if you limit those late nights at O’Neill. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Step 5: Join a bunch of extracurricular activities.
I cannot stress this enough. The activities fair on Linden Lane in September is your best friend. Make the most of your time there and stop at every table that you find of interest, not just the ones that your new posy finds interesting. The most rewarding experiences that I have had while at BC have been due to my involvement in clubs and organizations on and off campus. I have gotten to meet so many new people who I would have never met before through these ventures and I have gained irreplaceable friends with similar interests and passions. You do not need to overwhelm yourself with activities outside of the classroom, especially in your freshman year, but join a couple of clubs or organizations that you find appealing and immerse yourself in them. I promise that you will find reward in any club that you join at BC and it is an experience that I highly recommend.
Step 6: Do not give into peer pressure.
Now we all know that going into college means drinking, going to parties, and doing other things that I do not think that I need to mention for you to be aware of. Personally, I had not really been involved in any of that in high school because I have learned to embrace my role as a true grandma with a weak stomach; so coming to college was a whirlwind of new things to do, see, and experience. While it is perfectly okay to have those crazy college nights (trust me, I have had a few of my own), I cannot stress enough that doing what you want to do is the most important thing. If it’s Saturday night and all you want to do is stay in and watch a movie alone you are more than entitled to do so. Do not listen to the crowd of people begging you to go out or just take that one shot. You are your own person, and I guarantee you that even if you decide to go out you probably will not have as much fun as they promised you would have and you will feel awful in the morning. If you want to go out that is perfectly okay, but do what you want to do and not what others say that you should do to have fun in college. Because the last thing you want to do is look back on college with regret and a sad liver.
Step 7: Don’t forget who you are.
Obviously you are going to change in college. Not only in regards to the Freshman 15, but your personality, goals, and priorities are going to change as well. I am not the same person that I was in high school because being away from home for so long is such a monumental learning experience. It teaches you what you find to be the most important in life, who your true friends are, and what makes you happy. While change is a vital part of the college experience, do not forget who you are as a person. I know too well the person who leaves for college and comes back completely changed and in their own eyes “rejuvenated”. One of the biggest things that you can do to be successful in college is to remember where you come from, what you value, and who you are.
There is definitely a typical BC student, and I will admit that trying exhaustively to fit in has clouded my judgment before on who I am, what I allow people to say to me, and who I associate myself with. But do not let people boss you around and tell you who you should be to be successful, fun, or likeable. You are your own person, which is absolutely intelligent, radiant, and beautiful. I mean, you got into BC, I don’t think that I need to tell you all of that. You are at a great school and you alone (with some help from your parents I am sure) got yourself here. Never forget the importance that your self worth brings you because you are worth so much more than those who bring you down may make it seem.
Step 8: Have fun!
College is a great place to meet new people, make unforgettable memories, and to have an irreplaceable and memorable experience. Just follow these steps, believe in yourself, and rock it because before you know it you will be wearing your decorated cap and ironed gown as you walk under the trees on Linden Lane.