I consider myself a “college expert” at this point (entirely self-proclaimed and entirely delusional). I’m sure many people would disagree – including the woman from Student Services who has had to issue me approximately 10 new student IDs because I can’t stop losing them. But regardless, after spending three long years navigating the wasteland that is college life, I think I’ve become a bit of a college vet.
Don’t worry, freshmen. Your questions may feel weird, but they definitely aren’t unique. I’m here to help.
1. What do I do when I’m sick and mom or dad can’t spoon-feed me chicken broth?
No doubt, being sick at school is terrible, but it’s inevitable. Living in such tight quarters with hundreds of other people makes college dorms more like petri dishes than shelters. Your best bet is to always be stocked up with Vitamin C and Zinc. Take those the second you start feeling sick. Wash your hands (duh) and do all the other things your grandma always told you to do. If you’re super sick, go to the infirmary. The nurses there are just like moms. You can spend some time being nursed back to health and use it as an excuse to skip class.
2. I haven’t had to make friends in just about a decade. How do I do that?
Your mom says to just be yourself, and that’s kind of true. When you first get to school, though, you probably aren’t going to want to tell everyone that you still collect YuGiOh cards. Be yourself, sure, but also be a normal, nice human being. Keep the YuGiOh cards stored away for now.
Pro Tip: When you go into the dining hall and get intimidated by the huge groups of freshmen all hanging out and laughing together like they’ve been friends since Tupac “died,” don’t forget that they all literally just met a few weeks ago. You can sit down next to them; you won’t ruin their group dynamic.They don’t even have one yet. They’re all basically strangers.
3. So, roommates. What do I do if they walk in on me naked or otherwise compromised?
If you want to hang around the room naked, you should probably ask your roommate or at least give them a warning. If you still feel weird texting your roomie about that -“Hey girl I’m going to let it all hang out for a while, are we cool?” – you can always just come up with a little emoji signal. Text her a peach emoji. She’ll get the idea. If they do happen to catch you unawares, then just try to laugh afterwards. Make a joke out of it, otherwise there will always be that elephant in the room. (Here, that elephant is your naked body. Little weird, huh?)
4. I’m going to get fat, aren’t I?
First off, it’s not the worst thing in the world if you do. You’ll probably be enjoying yourself far more than everyone else struggling to avoid the dreaded Freshmen 15. But still, you don’t have to. Get the steamed veggies with your steak tips instead of fries, take the stairs instead of the elevator all the way up to your 6th floor suite or even start a (woefully unskilled) intramural volleyball team with your friends. No, you won’t get fat.
5. If I get called on in a huge lecture with tons of smart upperclassmen, how do I avoid sounding stupid?
Use a lot of big words. Say “the fact of the matter is…” Politely disagree with whatever the last person to speak said, and then just read a bunch of words off the chalkboard in what sounds like a sentence. Honestly, whatever you say, you won’t sound stupid—even if you don’t quite know what you’re talking about. Professors just love for students to participate. You can even toss out a disclaimer beforehand – “I may be wrong here…” – if you’re still too nervous about making a fool of yourself. But if all else fails, just don’t talk for too long. Or hide in the very back of the room.
6. How do you get used to… uh… going to the bathroom in a public space all the time?
You’re pretty much never going to be alone. Ever. And that means you have to learn how to be okay with that girl from down the hall listening in on you doing your business in the bathroom. By senior year you won’t care who hears, but for now, you probably do. Your best chance of getting some quality alone time in the stall is going around meal times while all your hall mates are out at dinner. Another little known fact is that there’s also a separate single-stall bathroom in most residence halls. Use it wisely.
7. Are parties really just tons of angry bros drinking creepy, unidentified punch like in the movies?
Some of them can be, but don’t forget that parties are just a bunch of people hanging out together. Those bros making a ton of noise and jumping on each other’s backs? They’re just guys who (while they may be a little bit inebriated) are only trying to have a fun time together. They aren’t going to yell at you for being a freshman or kick you out, especially if you have the right “ratio.” Guys, start making friends with the ladies. Don’t forget, though, you can always just leave. Who needs parties when there’s Netflix?