Starting School Right

Three years ago, I was lugging my belongings up two flights of stairs into Willow Hall. I was about to begin my long-anticipated adventure of college life. It has been so much more than an adventure. My college years have seen me enter as an immature young girl and leave as a mature, young lady. As a senior, I am able to look back on each of those years at the University and view things in 20/20 v ision. All of my habits, good and bad. My decisions, right and wrong. My expectations, high and low. I have one final year to prove that all of those mistakes, decisions, and expectations were worth making. I also have this year to create new stories to tell in my many years that follow graduation.

As I recollect my memories of my previous fall semesters, I have one simple phrase of advice to offer not only to myself but also to fellow seniors and underclassmen: start your semester on good terms. It is so simple to wander down new paths and get lost in a world of new faces, new schedules, and new drama. Trust me, I would know. It is exhilarating to be on your own, to do anything you please when and where you want. However, there is no time in your college career more important than the beginning.

Those of us who have experienced the first few weeks at the University know the temptations that lie ahead. Skipping class for the beach. Having a tad too many beverages on a Tuesday night. The list is endless, but you can still enjoy these endearing pleasures while keeping yourself on track for a successful start to the semester. Here are my top five tips for upper and underclassmen.

Tip # 1: Go to class. For Pete’s sake, the semester just started! The class may not have anything to do with your major, but neither will you if you flunk out due to absence.

Tip #2: Keep the roommate issues between you and your roommate. I speak for females when I say that word spreads faster than you’d like it to. Emma Stone called it the “accelerated velocity of terminological inexactitude” in Easy A. She was ab- solutely right. Sharing a room with someone- stranger or friend- can be an annoyance. Define your boundaries and come up with mutual agreements now before the guys down the hall know about your consistent one-night stands and unwashed bed sheets. ( Just pay the $2.00 to wash and dry!) Guys, make your peace in your “we’re-too-manly-to-talkabout- it” way. Bottom line is don’t just scribble your name on the room contract given to you by your RA without reviewing part of it together.

Tip #3: Catch your Z’s. I’ve had my fair share of 4 a.m. bed times, and in no way are they a fun time the next morning. Don’t get me wrong, staying out late is a blast! But try not to make it a consistent habit (see tip #2). Most college students complain about their lack of sleep due to mounds of assignments, papers, and studying. Although I know they are huge factors, I also know many other causes of sleep deprivation, and most are better off not written in ink. Rather than hitting the snooze button and skipping your morning class (see tip #1) or sleeping in class, give yourself at least six hours of sleep each night during the school week. And reserve the cat naps for after class.

Tip #4: Join a club. I don’t want to sound like mommy, but getting involved in something is better than nothing at all. You know what interests you academically, athletically, intellectually, spiritually- you name it. Most club meetings are held during the convenient time slot that the University kept open for everyone on Wednesday afternoons. Plus, you can make more friends! Isn’t that half the fun of college?

Tip #5: Use your calendar. It cost you money and a shopping trip to Staples, so don’t hide it under the clutter on your desk. Write your class schedule on it the first few weeks. Highlight test days and assignment due dates in different colors. It makes the calendar much easier on the eyes, and you might realize how helpful it can be!

From one colleague to another, I hope you find my advice to be helpful and that you utilize the tips to make the beginning of this semester your best.