Freshmen Advice: What to expect in college
There is an abundance of those “What I Wish I Knew Before I was a Freshman” books out today. Many of those books are now in my personal library, given as well-intentioned graduation gifts by people who want to be sure that I survive my freshman year of college unscathed. I appreciated them, and I read through most of them. Once.
All these books have one tactical flaw. Most of the authors are so far removed from the freshman experience that the books are little more than the sweet reminiscing of seniors about to leave and so-called “experts” who wish they were back in college. “If I were a freshman again, I would study all the time, be nice to everyone in my hall, and study all the time. I wish I could be a freshman again.”
Liar, liar, pants on fire. No one ever wishes they could be a freshman again. This is why these books always fall short of their intended usefulness. We need a guide written by someone who understands the freshman experience, who realizes the peril of having a freshman standing and can speak with wisdom, concern, and a genuine need for the cash flow that comes with such wisdom. In short, me.
Why me? In addition to my vast experience studying the social structures of ancient tribal college rituals and my role as adviser to the president and senior author of the SAT, I just finished my first year of college remarkably unscathed (OK, so I made that first part up).
So here is my guide, a little list of things which everyone should know when they come to college. (Upperclassmen, pay attention. You are never too old to learn).
- In logical time, an 8 a.m. college class should feel like an 8 a.m. high school class. Well, college doesn’t operate on logical time. College operates on I-only-got-two-hours-of-sleep-last-night-because-the-guy-next-door-plays-that-one-Nirvana-song-over-and-over time. In this new time frame, an 8 a.m. college class seems to occur somewhere around 4:15a.m. logical time.
- If your roommate cuts his hair in the sink, no one is going to clean it up. Ever. Trust me on this one, I know.
- Along those same lines, the floor does not vacuum itself. At home I have this thing that sweeps in and eliminates all messes automatically. I called it Mom. They forgot to put one of those in my room.
- Senior sorority girls really don’t go for freshman guys. Sad but true.
- If there was something you were good at in high school, at least 53,000 people are majoring in it and are much better at it than you.
- Being nine hours from home does not seem that bad until you watch your parents leave to make the trip home without you.
- A $600 food budget lasts about a week.
- On weekends the campus empties out leaving anyone stuck there without a car, stuck there without a car.
- Community bathrooms. Enough said.
College really isn’t that bad. I had an awesome time my freshman year, and there are many things I’m looking forward to in my next 3-20 years of school. Including senior sorority girls (hey, a guy can dream).