Now that we are into the third week of classes, most freshmen have assimilated into the daily routine of college life and will pass by others unnoticed. However, behind each confident upperclassman, was a once nervous freshman, experiencing their first semester of college too. Sophomore Ryan Young remembers the draining first day of classes and the trouble he experienced in locating the buildings where his classes were located. “I had trouble finding academic buildings, especially ones like Caputo and Roddy. I ended up stopping at the SMC to ask for help,” he says.
While the initial days are always the hardest, as everyone knows, there is much still to learn about college that can make you feel more confident and less dependent on your peers. First of all, let’s talk about the convenient meal plan that all on-campus freshmen are automatically enrolled in. Although a 15 week meal plan is recommended, if you find yourself not using all of your meals, a good alternative would be to enroll in a 12 week meal plan. Making this change will save you money, so consider adjusting your meal plan next semester by contacting the Bursar’s Office.
One important aspect of the meal plan that you should understand is that you can only use a meal during designated time slots. If you use a meal outside of those time slots, it will be taken out of your flex dollars. Unfortunately, there is always someone who does not realize this and uses up all of their flex money. Without flex, they are forced to rely on their friends to buy them Starbucks and are thus labeled as the “hog” that has no flex left. Young recalls a similar experience when it came to understanding the meal plan.
“I never knew what was allowed on the meal plan or what was considered flex,” he said. Unfortunately, the only solution is to ask the individuals who work at places such as the Anchor. If enough people ask, perhaps it will become annoying and the system will change to become considerably clearer for new students.
Another difference for freshman students is the idea of walking to class. While thunderstorms were fun when they happened in high school, they are very unpleasant for college students who must bear the trek to class during a storm. One item that you will want to invest in is a good pair of rain boots or at least an umbrella. Unfortunately, this campus tends to generate giant rain puddles, making a dry passage nearly impossible. There is no way around it; please don’t be one of those students who walk around with soppy shoes and a scowl.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of college is learning to live with another person. While it is always wonderful when roommates can form a bond and lasting friendship, don’t fall into despair if it isn’t working out. Looking at the situation realistically, roommates are really just two strangers who suddenly have to live in the same small square room. If there is a clash, one of the best ways to deal with it is to find time for you. If you have a loud roommate and need to get away from your dorm room, there are several quiet alcoves available; you just have to find them.
While the new McNairy Library is accessible Sunday through Thursday from 8 A.M. to midnight, the Club De’ Ville sitting lounge located on the lower level of the SMC is an even more secluded area that is usually very quiet with like-minded students trying to study. Remember, if your roommate situation is not working out, you can always talk to your resident advisor and ask to be moved to another room.
Lastly and most importantly, even though you may be overwhelmed with classes, don’t forget to join activities and get involved on campus. Too often people wait to join clubs and activities, and later on they ask themselves, “Why did I wait?”
There are countless organizations to join, so you are bound to discover something you are interested in. Don’t forget that starting fresh at a new place is the perfect time to reinvent yourself if you want to. It is a time to try new things, and figure out who you really are.