Here are just a few things I learned during my freshman year that I wish someone told me:
1.) As glad as I was to have the award-winning “UMass Dining,” your college diet will most likely consist of tons of caffeine and a lot of ramen/or your choice of midnight snack, which you probably should not be eating in the first place. Regardless of how many different things I ate at the infamous Berkshire, the food eventually did get old. There is nothing like a home cooked meal, so cherish it while you can!
2.) College actually is different! Creating a schedule and sticking to it isn’t as easy as it seems, but you should try to do it anyway; it’ll only benefit you in the long run. Get used to studying for a couple of hours a day/week where you finish your homework/review class material. It will save future-you sleep and the money you spend on carbonated caffeine drinks to help you cram.
3.) Get to know people, but you don’t have to rush to meet everyone all at once. Let’s face it – you are away from home and are looking to make all the friends you can. But truth be told, that group of 40 kids that you used to go out with during Freshman Orientation won’t last all year (let alone all semester) and you might as well take some time and find true friends that will last.
4.) It is a sad, but true reality that you (or someone else) are now paying for school. Go to class.
5.) It’s okay to eat alone. After orientation weekend, you will probably need some down time anyway. This is not high school where your social standing depends on where you sit in the dining hall.
6.) I know it may seem like you have to go out every Thursday-Saturday. And at first, you might even go out all three nights and go crazy. Just remember that it is okay to kick back and relax once in a while. This is cheesy but you want to give yourself time to relax and do other things besides trying to piece together the night before.
7.) Call your parents. Enough said.
8.) Your friends at the beginning of the semester might not be your friends at the end of the semester. It’s okay; don’t waste time trying to maintain relationships with everyone you ever met at UMass.
9.) Don’t be the annoying person that leaves his/her clothes in the washing machine or dryer even when they are done being washed or dried. Pick up your laundry on time. Other people will throw your now clean clothes on the floor so they can use the facilities.
10.) Play hard, but work harder. But make sure you do both. Going out night after night can get just as boring as studying for hours straight. Remember, life doesn’t happen in your dorm room, it happens in someone else’s!
Purti Pareek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.