Sunday, August 31, 2008

What I wish I would have known as a college freshman

Many of my closest friends have headed back to school already, as will I in a few weeks. I’m going to be a sophomore this year and while I’m glad to already know where all the buildings are and which dining halls have the best food; I’ll miss the excitement of freshman year. Here are a few things though that I think would have made my first year a little smoother.

1.) Know your alcohol limits. Coming into college, I basically had zero experience with alcohol. I was super-nerdy in high school (OK, still am) and my parents were never big drinkers so there was no liquor cabinet to sneak sips from. When you go to college, you will definitely be surrounded by alcohol even if you try to avoid it. If you weren’t around beer much in high school (and even if you were!), take it slow. Mark on your hand or plastic cup how many drinks you’ve had, since it’s easy to forget when you’re socializing. Eat before drinking and have water or soda in between alcoholic drinks. Know what you’re drinking- that mystery drink could have way more alcohol that you expected, or even contain a rape drug. And yes, drinking is illegal if you’re under 21. It’s easy to forget that, but don’t. And remember that alcohol is often the cause of the dreaded Freshman 15- in many instances, I’d advise being skinny and sober.

2.) Boys aren’t always nice, but they aren’t always pigs either. I’m sure you spent plenty of time around guys in high school, but in college you’ll get to be around them 24/7...with no curfews! (Unless you go to say, Wellesley or Wheaton. Great schools, but I wouldn’t recommend it!) Don’t be shocked to find that many boys simply want to party, get drunk and sleep with you. Freshman guys often want to really live the ‘college experience’ and many upperclassmen guys will approach you, seeing you as naïve and therefore easy to influence. Know though that there are guys who want relationships, some who even feel ready to get married soon. You need to communicate what you want- a sweaty make-out session one night only or a boy to bring home with you on Thanksgiving break?

3.) Make friends with upperclassmen first. At my high school, upper and under classmen rarely spent time together, mostly because we were in different classes. In college, things are totally different. Upperclassmen aren’t scary- they’re usually more than willing to show you the ropes. They also often have cars and if you’re school is Greek, it’s good to have some connections. Plus they’ll buy you beer.

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