Well, it’s official. You made it. You’ve waded through mountains of paperwork, fought your way through the dreaded FASFA and copy-pasted your way through various scholarship applications.
You’re in college.
But now that you’re here you have a whole new host of challenges to watch out for, and that’s where I come in.
(Cue 80’s infomercial music)
Hi, I’m Evan Dodd and I have absolutely no qualifications to advise you apart from the fact that I just “successfully” completed my freshman year. (Success is a relative term; I survived with all of my limbs.) So let me give you some pointers that will keep you from failing, injuring yourself, and might even make for a memorable first year.
First, save your meal blocks. There is nothing more humiliating than having to beg because you ran out in October. I honestly survived for over a week by stealing my friend’s stash of almonds when he left the dorm in the morning. Don’t be that guy.
Second, don’t pet the moose. This should be obvious but, well, apparently it’s not. If you want permanent brain trauma then visit UAF for a weekend, don’t drag the wildlife into your lunacy.
Third, your dorms WILL look depressing when you move in. It’s a given. Something about whitewashed walls and small spaces make people antsy. That’s okay. Just make sure you visit Value Village or somewhere similar to buy a bunch of decorations you absolutely “need”.
For example, in my first week I came out with two ugly paintings, a, very fake Chinese vase, some shag carpet from the 80’s and a lamp carved in the shape of a pineapple. These things are critical to the success of your college experience, if anyone tries to tell you otherwise then they are doing it wrong.
On a side note, no matter what your parents, countless movies or your friends have told you; you do NOT need a beanbag chair if you live in the residence halls. You have limited floor space and it will only get in the way. Save your cash and buy something practical, like a life size Storm trooper.
The Bare Necessities (campus convenience store) is your friend, except when it’s not. If you don’t have a car and you have a craving for some late night ice cream or some gas station quality sushi then the Bear is a Godsend. If you were expecting to pay normal human prices for those things, then expect to be severely disappointed.
This is the current Bear exchange rate: one Bear dollar equals approximately four human dollars, the soul of your first-born child and whatever you have in your pockets at the time. It’s one of life’s great mysteries, like the meaning of life, and why we let Carrot-top exist.
The most important thing to remember is that you have to participate to have fun. Go to campus kick-off, do the first week activities, try new hobbies. If you decide you don’t like them, you can always bail later on. Worst case scenario, you meet some new and exciting people that you can help you carpool to Value Village.
But you have to meet those people to enjoy college, they won’t come to you. Just because hoards of beautiful women carrying pitchers of Guinness show up at my door every night, doesn’t mean that they will for you. Only working at The Northern Light can guarantee something like that.
For everyone else, you have to get out and meet these people. Everyone has that roommate that lives as a hermit until one day in November when they finally emerge, blinking in the bright moonlight (let’s be realistic, the sun is long gone in November), wondering where the weeks went.
So get out and do it all. Join that club that sounds mildly interesting, knock on doors in your hall and meet random strangers, or write for The Northern Light and be wildly successful.
There is no wrong way to college (unless like me, you think that “college” is a verb, in which case your English classes have failed you), everyone will have a different experience, just make sure that you are open to it.
Trust me, college will change you. One day you’ll be in the middle of a spirited university debate, or at the center of an incredible party, or on a date with a strapping young news editor; and you’ll think, “How am I this awesome?”.
And ultimately that’s the point, to expand your horizons and give yourself new opportunities to succeed.
So good luck, goodnight and Godspeed, young fresh-people.
Here’s to a great year.