Stillwater Survival Guide 2018 - Page 5

A letter to my freshman self... P artway through your freshman year, you’re going to realize Post-it Notes are everywhere. They’re covering your desk. They’re on your laptop. On your dorm room wall, there is a Post-it Note reminding you to buy more Post-it Notes. People will tell you organization is imperative in college, but you won’t notice how accurate that is until you find yourself there in a sea of sticky notes, seeing how much you have to accomplish that you haven’t done yet. It gets so much better. Don’t forget to take a deep breath. With time, your organization skills will improve, and it will make sense. • One reminder on the wall says, “Check emails every day.” In high school, you thought emails were so 1990s, but if you ignore them in college, you won’t know that your professor canceled class. Get into the habit of looking at your email account, and soon, it’s just a natural part of your daily routine. • Another reminder says, “Set your alarm.” This one might seem like common sense, but it’s easy to forget when it’s late and you’re tired. Although your quirky Yoda alarm clock might annoy you in the mornings, he is your best friend. Use backup alarms on your phone. Make sure the alarm clock is set to ring at 7:30 a.m. instead of 7:30 p.m. You’ll learn this from experience, but thankfully, you’ll still get to class on time because you’ve mastered the art of speed- walking. • A planner sits on your desk. This was a necessary purchase. You’ll find yourself color-coding everything according to class or extracurricular activity. At the start of the week, you’ll try to plan your schedule precisely to the minute, whether it’s the time you need to start working on making a Quizlet to study for your economics exam or the time you want to go to North Dining to grab dinner. It might seem like a tedious process to write all of this, but it will help you avoid feeling scatterbrained and blanking on what you need to do during the week. Even with the planner and a random array of sticky notes, you won’t always follow the schedule you set. Unexpected events will happen. You’ll get back from a basketball game and realize you lost your student ID. The campus tornado sirens will suddenly sound during your psychology final. But you’ll handle everything OK. The best parts of college are the ones you can’t anticipate with Post-It Notes or planner reminders. • You will wander into the lounge at your dorm during Welcome Week, not knowing anyone. The people you’ll meet that night will become some of your closest friends and confidants. • If you’re invited to something, unless you have class work you must complete first, say yes. It doesn’t matter if that means eating at Eskimo Joe’s with classmates, attending a sorority event with your friends who are involved in Greek life or making a late-night run to buy chips and Gatorade with people from your dorm. Step outside your comfort zone. Every experience will teach you something about yourself and open your mind. And laughing with others is good for your soul. • Don’t have preconceived ideas about who you should befriend. Talk to everyone you can. First impressions matter, but they aren’t everything. Sometimes, you’ll discover that those who seem like your polar opposites are the most fiercely loyal friends you can have. At the same time, never let go of the people who are similar to you. Embrace them. • College classes are fun. You’ll feel stressed when you have to read a 51-page chapter about the inner workings of the brain, but you’ll also learn some seriously cool facts. Although you might dread some of those required general education classes, they’ll probably surprise you and interest you more than you expect. • Find mentors who will constantly encourage you. Then become a mentor to others. As you go through your freshman year, remember the experiences you have so you can use them to help future freshmen when you’re an upperclassman. They’ll thank you for it. • Take the time to let people know you care about them. As cheesy as it sounds, before you know it, the friends you meet during Welcome Week will walk across the stage in graduation caps and gowns. Don’t wait until that day to tell them you appreciate them. Consistently go out of your way to share genuine kindness, and they’ll do the same. The Post-its and planners are important. Organization matters, but sometimes it’s nice to let go of your perfectionist, planning-focused ways and treasure the moment. Treasure spontaneity. Treasure everything that brings a smile to your face. On “The Office” (which you’ll watch in your dorm room as you’re eating a TV dinner at 10 p.m.), Andy Bernard says, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” One day, you’ll see college as those “good old days.” From your freshman year until graduation, make sure you take the time to know it as those moments are happening. If you’re scared you’ll forget, write it on a Post-It Note. Hallie Hart Stillwater News Press STILLWATER SURVIVAL GUIDE 101 | 2018 5