Ten Commandments of College Life

As a graduating senior, I have had my share of experiences at the University. Whether it was finding myself at McDonalds for midnight dollar big macs, all night sessions in the library, painting splatter paint squares at 3 am (long story), or explaining to all my peers  and professors why I had a cast on my hand in class  when it had not been there 48 hours before (even longer story).  With less than two months left before I walk across the stage at PNC and shake President Paul Brown’s hand, there are some things that I learned over my four years here.

10. Thou Shalt Get Involved

I know, I know. You have heard this from every professor since your freshman seminar class, but it is the truth. Often I have heard, “there is never anything to do around here unless you are in Greek Life.” While I love and respect all my Grecian peeps, there are so many other ways to get involved on campus, from the outdoors club, the harmonic jewels glee club, community service club, and not to mention all our intramural sports. Also remember being in a club is only half the battle. You have to contribute otherwise it will feel like there is no reason to be there, and you might be missing out on meeting some great people.

9. Thou Shalt Cut the Cord

Coming from someone who is extremely close with her family, I understand how hard it can be away from your family in college. It is a big change and there is always the “what if” scenario running the back of every student’s mind (even if we don’t want to admit it). Trust me, there were several days during my freshman year I would have done anything for a hug from Mom. However, remember you are in college to make something on your own, to grow up and be independent. That doesn’t mean you completely have to shut your parents or siblings out to have your space, but you also don’t have to go home every weekend either.

“It is important to test your wings,” said Lorna Schmidt, professor of communication. “So getting away from your parents gives you the opportunity to do that. Then when the parents still call, I usually have a tendency to email the student saying, ‘Your mom, or your dad called,’ and then the student usually takes it upon themselves to say, ‘okay, I’ll take care of it.’ ”

As my mother Judy would say, “Go out, have fun, and learn something. We will be here if you need us, but you gotta learn to pick yourself up when you fall.” Trust me. Enjoy the time away while you can.

8. Thou Shalt Not Abuse Social Media

This is pretty self-explanatory. It can be tempting to post inappropriate pictures, statuses or other internet tell-alls on sites like Twitter and Facebook, but that could spell trouble down the road.

Senior criminal justice major Katie Musa said, “I think us as students should be aware of what we put on our social media sites just because it can hurt us as we start applying for jobs,” which is very true seeing as most employers will at least skim over your profile before hiring you. So be wary of the 3 am grammatically incorrect rant statuses.

7. Thou Shalt Not Take Themselves Too Seriously

While grades are important, a main part of college is to go out and make connections with people.  Simple things like going for a run, hanging at the beach for an hour, or taking a mental health day are important too. You will get that paper done, get the A, graduate, and get your dream job. But in the meantime don’t forget to enjoy yourself.

6. Thou Shalt Burst Thy Bubble

Going along with number seven, there are times where things aren’t going to work out as planned. Maybe you hate your class, or decide that you want to try a different major. It may be frustrating, but you have to learn what you like and don’t like, and to go outside your comfort zone. Follow your heart, you are paying to go to school, you should be happy with what you are doing. Otherwise what’s the point, right?

5. Thy Roomies Don’t Have to be Besties

I have lived with several people over the past four years and I am happy to say that I have been living with three close friends I know I can go to anytime. However, it took me a while to get there. So if you and your roommate aren’t skipping along wearing “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” shirts, don’t worry. Sometimes, that is actually better if you and your roommate are different and do your own things. It will allow you to learn new things and be your own person.

4. Thou Shalt Buck up or Shut up

There are going to be times when you are in some rough spots and will have to choose, and it will be difficult. But you have to make sure you stand up for yourself and your voice is heard, and don’t complain if you aren’t willing to make a change.

“You are grown up and have the ability to make your own decisions,” said Matthew Fernandez, a senior. “Just be sure that the action you choose is something you’ll be able to live with and not regret a day, a week, a month, or a year from now.”

3. Thou Shalt Try Nelly’s at Least Once

You’ll enjoy it and regret it all within the same hour. Be sure to have some Pepto Bismol on hand.

2. Thou Shalt Travel Great Distances

It doesn’t have to be a grand scale trip. Traveling in college could be a day trip to NYC,  Washington D.C., or a town like Red Bank. There are so many ways to travel as a student whether it is study abroad, a school trip, or a club community service project. Going off to new places will give you a better sense of perspective and some great new memories.

1. Thou Shalt Enjoy the Little Things

Most of my favorite memories at the University have been what most would call ordinary. Little trips to Dunkin’ Donuts in between classes, grabbing lunch at Surf Taco, taking trips to Anne’s craft store in Shrewsbury, or simply looking for shells on the beach included. Doing all these activities are so special to me because of who was with me, and they are little moments that will remain a part of me forever. So for all of you (and you know who you are), thank you for four years of fun, wonderful, and exciting little moments. Be sure to remember the little moments that make you smile as I always will, and get your head out of the books, away from the computers, and off the phones, and enjoy yourself and the ones around you.