BEFORE I started at RIT. This entry is totally thanks to AB, a parent of an incoming student. But I guess it's a good time to write this. I didn't have the easiest transition to college and I don't hide that when I'm talking with families and students. What would I tell myself if I could go back in time four years? Hmmm...
Introduce yourself to the kids on your floor and then go out and do something with them. Go get dinner at Gracie's together. Go to Walmart at 2 am. Sit in the hallway talking until 5 am or your RA kicks you out. If the latter happens, go find somewhere else to talk.
Go to the club fair during orientation week. Sign up for something that interests you AND GO. Don't be intimidated by how big the club is the first meeting. 75% of the people there are freshmen just like you and they'll probably quit because they think the club is too big to fit in it's meeting space.
Give Greek Life a try. Go to a recruitment event. If it's still not your thing, you can go home. I didn't go to one until this year. Vicki invited me and I didn't even know it was a recruitment event. The next thing I knew, I was in a sorority. My friends at home (and some from here) are still laughing about that. But hey, I never knew it was the thing for me until I gave it a try. Now I'm sad that I've only had a year to experience it.
And last...maybe you are the pickiest person on earth and NOTHING on this campus interests you. Start your own club. "Future Nuns of America" "I Love to Knit Toilet Paper Cozys" Whatever floats your boat.
Don't mope around because you miss home.
Getting involved will help you with this one. The busier you are, the less time you have to creep on Facebook to see what your home-friends are up to.
At the same time, you don't want to lose touch with your BFF. Set aside sometime during the week to chat with home-friends but don't make it your life. Also, don't get caught up in home-friends home-drama. You are far, far away in college now.
I missed home. A lot. All of my friends were still together in Connecticut and I had chose to go 300+ miles away. I'd go online and talk to them a lot and then feel so left out because they were all going to the movies together or having a party. It was a vicious cycle. My home-friends would unintentionally make me sad and then sad-me wouldn't want to go hang out with college-friends and since I wasn't hanging out with college-friends, I'd talk to home-friends more...etc etc.
Don't go home every weekend.
So it's your senior year and you realize that this is your last homecoming/school play/prom. But then, some of your friends who are juniors say "Well just come back next year!" It's cool to go back for a few things, especially when they coincide with break. But you don't want to be "that guy". In this case, "that guy" is "that old creepy guy". Choose only special things to go home for. Try not to go home more than twice in a quarter. There's plenty going on here at RIT that you do not want to miss out on.
Don't bring EVERYTHING with you.
Dorm rooms are small. My freshman year roommate and I each took two car-fulls of stuff to get up here and we managed to survive. It was cramped, but we did it. But we really didn't need to do it.
Yes, there is this season called winter that requires you to be warm. Guess what? You move in in August and winter starts MAYBE in November. I say pack a hoodie or two and a fleece jacket. If it gets really cold before then, layer. Get your winter coat and other winter paraphernalia when you go home for Thanksgiving. Remember, it's the wind, not the cold, so bring something to cover those ears!
Bedding - two sets of sheets, lots of pillows, blankets
ONE SET OF DISHES. This means one plate, one bowl, one fork/knife/spoon, one cup. If you bring multiple, this will encourage you to keep using clean ones and let dirty ones pile up. This is a bad idea.
DON'T BRING A DESKTOP PRINTER WITH YOU. This is one of the secrets I will share with you. There are plenty of places to print black and white for free. If you ever need to print in color, it's probably for a project that needs to be nicer than something your printer can do. Use the HUB or the DPC for this. They take Tiger Bucks! (The secret I will not share with you is what time the parking guys stop ticketing...that is for you to find out the hard way)
Don't be afraid of your advisor.
Your first quarter freshman year, your schedule is made for you. It's great because honestly, if I had to register for myself I would have no clue what to do. However, they put me in this AWFUL liberal arts class. But I came here, had a schedule and followed it. I HATED this class...I was one of four girls in it and two of them liked to skip class a lot. Not to mention, most of the boys in the class were of the "bathing is optional" type. I did awful in the class and it killed my GPA. If I had gone to talk to somebody about it, I would have found out that I can choose what liberal arts classes to take and I could have dropped that one and taken another.
Don't be afraid to ask for help.
At RIT, we have plenty of resources to help struggling students. EVERYBODY is a struggling student at one point or another. Writing papers is probably one of the hardest things for me. Luckily, there is a writing lab. Also, if you tell your professor you need help with something, they can either tell you where to get the help or sit down and help you themselves. Just because they have the title of professor doesn't make them a student-eating monster.
That's what I can think of right now. Speaking of papers, there is one I need to be writing. So those are the things I wish people told me in advance. However, the things that people DID tell me...I didn't listen to them.
So I guess that's another thing to put on my list.
LISTEN TO THE ADVICE YOU GET.