Upon my arrival at BC this past September, I don’t think it’s fair for me to say I was simply nervous moving into my Keyes basement double, meeting all new people, and adjusting to a more independent lifestyle. I was scared as hell to come to BC, plain and simple. No one from my hometown was here, and I hardly knew anyone or what to expect. This whole spiel sounds really cliché, but I know now that everyone around me was going through the same internal crisis of trying to look cooler than they actually were at home.
After a full semester at Boston College, I’m looking back and thinking about a few pieces of advice I wish I had gotten the summer leading up to this first semester. I can’t say it was easy to learn any from any of these experiences, but I wouldn’t trade them or these lessons I learned for anything.
Don’t be that guy/girl who throws up all over the communal bathroom the first weekend, even if it is your birthday.
There’s a fine line between drunkenness and just being a pain in the ass. I have been both of those things, and I’ll tell you I’ve woken up the next morning with fewer regrets after a night with my friends where I had fun (and remembered it) than one where I don’t recall taking the Newton bus back to Keyes and singing “Sweet Caroline” horribly off-key with the rest of the 2am crowd. Having a good time is great if you know you had a good time, but one blackout Saturday tailgate or Friday night is not worth possibly (or actually) damaging friendships or hurting yourself/others.
The girl/guy you’ve only been hooking up with consistently most likely isn’t interested in much else.
No relationship is built upon hooking up (however you define that term) alone. There needs to be communication in order to obtain real intimacy and growth with someone. If you think you’ll win someone over in the bedroom before you even know his or her middle name, think again. Go on dates with that person, walk to class together, talk to them. You learn so much more about a person when you’re not making out with them. If your relationship is limited to just hooking up and you’re looking for more, don’t treat yourself like a piece of meat. Move on to someone who gives you the time of day and respects you for you.
Writing in a public forum scares me. Athletic contests and basically any physical activity scare me, too. However, I got involved with The Rock this year, and I tried out for BC crew and made the team with no experience prior to this past fall. Don’t be afraid to try something completely new when you get to college. Do what interests you and allow yourself to make friends with people outside your dorm, while also still keeping your friends in your dorm (they’re possibly going to be your best friends for the next four years). You’re more than likely going to find some fun stuff to do on a Friday night when you get involved than you are if you ambush any mod that opens its door for a few seconds.
Focus on the friendships you make in these clubs first. The parties will be way better than if you awkwardly try to get to know someone in your club/on your team whose name you won’t remember in twenty minutes because you drunkenly met each other at said party. Be daring in your involvements, but don’t join a club just for the chance of going to a mod pre-game every once in a while.
Even though you have your independence, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Since grade school, I had experienced mounting anxiety and mood swings that my family recognized, but I never received help for them. I finally talked to my mom about my issues and got the care I should’ve sought a long time ago. At BC, I learned to be more independent, something every college student experiences, but I’ve also learned when it’s appropriate to ask for help. Because I could consult my friends and professors comfortably about making decisions in my life, I knew I could own up to my weakened state of mind and get the help I needed from family, counselors, and doctors for something that plagued me for so long. College is a time to be vulnerable, to ask questions, to learn, and to be a friend, and being a friend means you have to trust each other and be able to have the serious and the not-so-serious conversations.
I can’t say I have any idea what the rest of college has in store for me, or even how well my finals will go in the next week or so. I do know that I’m thankful for my experience so far at BC. I’m thankful for my friends and my family who supported me through so much this past semester. I’m thankful for the lessons I’ve learned, socially, physically, and academically. I’m thankful to be a part of this community as a whole. While I’m excited for Christmas break and more time spent with my family and friends from home, I’m already stoked to come back in January. Thank you, Boston College, for one hell of a first semester that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else, and here’s to the next three and half years.