Advice to High School Seniors Regarding College
Advice to Current High School Seniors
I recently started my freshman year of college, and as I have never lived outside of the home I grew up in, this has been a large transition. It’s been fun, and exciting, and hard, but definitely worth it. The experiences I’m going to gain from being here and learning how to live in this environment are going to shape me forever!
However, current high school Seniors, I have to give you a few words of advice. Granted, I’ve only been here for a few days, so I am by no means an expert. But, as a novice, I can at least let you know the things I’ve found important.
Get involved. While it’s very tempting when you don’t know anyone to simply hide in your room, it’s also very disheartening. The first week will usually be super packed, so much so that you won’t really have time to think or breathe, and when you do, the last thing you’ll want to do is go find more people (that is, if you’re an introvert like me). However, I also have to say that I am so incredibly pleased that I went to some large campus events. While my room is a sanctuary and a place to rest and recover, my life is happening out where the other people are. And until classes actually begin, that is where I will need to be in order to truly enjoy the next few years of my life. This is also an incredibly good way to fight boredom.
Never hesitate to ask people their names for a second, third, or fourth time. While you definitely won’t know or remember every person you see on campus, the more people you can recognize, the more at home you’ll feel. Due to all of the hype surrounding the beginning of the year and the desire to be welcoming to new freshmen, it can feel very much like you've just stepped into summer camp and you'll only be there for a few weeks. While comforting, that is a misconception that your brain wants to hold on to, since it means you don’t have to get connected. Do not listen to that little desire. Connect with people. Ask them their names as many times as it takes for you to remember. Get used to having people ask you your name. You thought your graduation party (and the weeks leading up to it) was bad? Like you sounded like a broken record? The first few weeks of college are worse. Every person you meet asks these questions: your name, where you’re from, and your major. Often you’ll have to say it multiple times to the same person. But that’s okay, because there is so much information going in that no one is really going to remember anything. Don’t worry, though. You’ll get the hang of it eventually.
Get good sleep. I know that sounds like a silly thing to do, what with all of the new people and the advice above, but there is no way that you’ll survive even your first week without a good night’s rest. You will always, without fail, be tired. This can mean going to bed hours before your new roommate comes in. That is perfectly okay. It may feel weird, not knowing where they are or what they’re doing, but while you should get along, it’s not necessary to best friends. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to get to know them. In the first weeks, they are the most amazing gift because they are a constant in a swirling and changing setting around you. Their constant nature, however, doesn’t mean that you have to do everything together. Not even fall asleep at the same time.
Bond with your hall-mates. If they’re watching a movie, join them. Even if you don’t particularly know or like the movie, it gives you a connecting point that you can speak with them about, which opens up the opportunity for life giving conversations and friendships. If they’re going out late to get ice cream, go with them (even if you want to go to sleep). Spend time getting to know the people you’ll be living around. Again, you don’t have to be best friends with them, but if you even find one person that you can hang out with, your life will be much more enjoyable. This also means that if you can’t find something, or you realize last minute that you forgot something, you have a basis of a relationship with the other people around you and you can ask to borrow something of theirs. Leave your door open if you’re in your room, it gives people the opportunity to find you and approach you in order to get to know you, but it also lets you have the space if no one comes in.
Lastly, a note on packing. It’s an incredibly stressful thing to even consider, since you're trying to figure out what you use in your life and what only takes up space. If you ask the upperclassmen, they’ll say that the longer you move in and out, the less things you bring. But for your first year, listen to your mother, pack what she tells you to. Always bring at least one coat, and a pair of super comfortable shoes. While you may be able to walk around a high school in heals, on most college campuses it will take at least ten minutes to get anywhere, since you have to walk wherever you’re going. This is assuming you’re not allowed to have a car. Your feet will hurt, so having good shoes is a very nice luxury. Bring what makes your room feel like your room. For me, this was the two books Sinner and Drift by Sharon Carter Rogers. My room would not have been my room without those two pieces of my soul. Also, things like pop heads or little figurines related to your interests are always a nice talking point, and in the first few weeks any talking point you can think of is better than silence. Not to mention that they also provide a little smile and encouragement through the day, or is that just me?
These are just a few of my thoughts on my college experience so far, things I know I was told but that I maybe wrote off as being unrelated or that I thought I just sort of knew. These are the things I wish I’d heard better. Even though I’m incredibly new at this, and have only been on this college campus for a few days, this is the advice I would have wanted.