FINALLY. It's been four days since our internet went down in a big thunderstorm. Four days since I've been able to log online and check mail, visit Facebook, chat with people, and just generally look things up. The frustration was insurmountable. I guess you never realize how much you rely on the internet till it's gone. Thank goodness that's over.
Someone asked on my last post if there was anything a first time college student should bring to school, or anything specific about RIT that they should know. Having been living in a dorm setting for essentially the last four years, I'm pretty savy when it comes to packing/moving in and dorm life. I thought I'd share my top 10 or so for those of you doing the pre-college shopping thing.
1) Minimize as much as possible. I know, everyone wants to decorate their rooms and buy new furniture and cool stuff. But, for the sake of your roommate(s), hold off on purchasing big furniture items until you've had a chance to discuss and arrange things. It's usually best if the roommate who lives closest purchases the fridge. Remember, everything you bring with you, you're either going to have to pay to store it or take home.
2) Make friends, connections, and emergency contacts. Going to school far away, (or even close to home)? Make sure you make friends with people who know the area. Speaking as a student 650 miles from home, you're going to want to know people with cars who you can count on, the nearest 24 hour diner, and any relatives or friends in the area who might offer to give you a meal. Sometimes, it's necessary to get medicine from a pharmacy off campus, or to go see a doctor. Knowing people who can help will make your life a whole lot easier.
3) Speak up. Life in a giant community of people can be a lot of fun, but can also very annoying at times. If something bothers you, speak up. Don't let your annoyances simmer, they'll just cause resent ment towards others. If you have a problem with your roommate, tell him/her. They can't know they're doing something wrong if you don't communicate.
4) Branch out. College is full of new people, new experiences, and new challenges. It can be a little overwhelming at times. Don't be afraid to try things or meet new people. Remember, there are almost 2,000 others just as new as you are to this. It's okay to be a little nervous.
5) Portable food. Don't buy any till you get here, but you're definitely going to want food you can take with you to class. I'm personally a fan of cereal, Special K bars, Cambell soup, and Korean ramen, but the key word here is portable. Things you can eat on the run are infinitely more valuable than sit down meal thingys. After all, why wake up for breakfast when you can get 45 minutes more sleep if you eat on the way?
6) Noise canceling headphones/earplugs. Believe me, life got SO much better after I got a pair of these. People running up and down the hallways at night is obnoxious, as are times when you need to sleep but your roommate wants to work. Sometimes you just want to tune everyone out, and these are a fantastic way to go about it.
7) Join something. There is no better way to soldify yourself in the college community than by becoming a part of something. So join a club, sorority/frat, team, group, organization, whatever. Just be aware that you only have so much time to fill. I'm a chronic overachiever, and let me assure you, overextending yourself is bad. Very bad.
8) Free = Fantastic. The first rule of college should be, if something is free, you go. If there's free food being offered at a lecture, go. Free t-shirts being given away for filling out a survey? Go. Remember, more t-shirts means less laundry you have to do, and more food means the less you have to rely on a meal plan. Plus, who doesn't like free things?
9) Failure/mistakes happen. You're going to encounter a subject, class or idea at some point that you simply will not understand. Ex: I'm a biotech student, but I'm HORRIBLE at understanding chemical properties of solutions. My advice: Give whatever it is your 100% best effort, and if you're still failing/losing/not getting it, you've done what you can. Don't beat yourself up over it too badly. One bad grade is not going to sway the course of your future. You're also going to make a stupid choice at some point. Learn from your mistakes, and move on.
10) Find an on campus job. On campus jobs are a great way to meet people, to connect with the adults at RIT, and to learn a little more about the place that you call home. (And, if you work at Admissions, they feed you!) They also bring in some spending money, which should make everyone's parents happy. My job here at Admissions put me in touch with some fabulous upperclassmen whose advice got me through a few tough decisions, and the wonderful adults who frequently bake for us and bring us cookies. And life just seems a lot simpler when you have cookies.
Wow, that was a long post. Anyway, so yeah. I've lived in dorms for what seems like forever, and that's just my take on things, built on years of...interesting experiences. I'll leave it at that. Hopefully my internet will stay and I'll be posting again later in the week. Off to enjoy fresh baked cookies!