From A to Z: Everything You Need to Know For a Successful Freshman Year

From A to Z: Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Freshman YearIt’s hard to believe that just six years ago, I was packing up my childhood bedroom and moving to Orlando for college. At times, I still picture myself as that awkward 18-year-old girl who was so excited to take those first few steps toward adulthood. In many ways, mine was the traditional college experience: four years of changing majors, making friends, hosting theme parties, interning around town, cramming for finals, dating the wrong guys and joining more clubs than a sane person should. My undergraduate years still hold some of my favorite memories, and taught me more about myself than I ever cared to know.

For many of you, those first few days of freshman year are just around the corner, and you’re probably having a lot of mixed feelings. Whether you’re nervous, enthusiastic or somewhere in between, this blog will guide you through some of the most important aspects of your college experience, from A to Z.

A – Appearance
As superficial as it may sound, it’s important to put an effort into your appearance! Your university’s dress code may technically allow you to roll into your lecture hall in pajamas… but that doesn’t mean you should. The way you dress plays a big role in the first impression you give off in class, among new friends and in front of professors and potential employers.

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From A to Z: Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Freshman YearB – Books
Unless your professor requires some special edition that isn’t offered elsewhere, don’t buy your books at the school bookstore. Rent them through third-party vendors, visit local used bookstores or buy your books online. It will save you a ton of money in the long run!

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C – Choosing a Major
Don’t worry if you don’t have it figured out right now. Take some time to enjoy your general education classes and to take an introductory course that interests you. For more tips on how to choose the right major for you, click here.

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D – Dorm Life
This may be your first time sharing a bedroom or bathroom with someone, so make sure you talk to your new roommate(s) about your expectations and responsibilities. A new dorm room is also the perfect excuse to decorate, so have fun personalizing your new home!

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E – Extra Credit
If your professor offers extra credit, always do it. You might not think you need it, but when your grade is dangling at an 89 at the end of the semester and you need that extra point, you’ll thank yourself.

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From A to Z: Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Freshman YearF – Friends
Open yourself up to the possibility, and you might meet your best friend in college. Get involved, talk to people in your classes and in the dorms, say yes to social outings and don’t be afraid to step out of your bubble.

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G – Greek Life
Rushing a fraternity or a sorority can be a great way to make an overwhelmingly big university a whole lot smaller. If the idea of Greek sounds interesting, talk to older friends who have gone through the process and decide if it’s right for you!

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H – Health
Above all, you must prioritize your health. Avoid the typical Freshman 15 weight gain with these helpful pointers, and remember to take care of yourself when illness strikes. Utilize the gym, health center, counseling facilities and other campus resources to maintain your physical and mental health. Because college can be a stressful time for many, staying healthy and happy is often at the bottom of our lists.

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I – Independence
If you are living in a dorm room or away from home, college is a great opportunity to test out your newfound independence. It will be fun to make more of your own decisions and to not have a curfew, but it will also teach you the importance of finding a balance.

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From A to Z: Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Freshman YearJ – Joining Clubs
Joining clubs on campus will allow you to meet likeminded people, have a good time and possibly even develop yourself professionally. It’s a great way to connect with your university and find leadership opportunities early on. Find organizations that interest you and attend the info sessions – you have nothing to lose!

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K – Kindness
This should go without saying, but remember to treat others with kindness. You’ll meet people whose lifestyles, beliefs and upbringings are radically different from yours, so it is important to be openminded and still respect others regardless of your differences.

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L – Learning For Learning’s Sake
You’ll get so wrapped up in prerequisites and major classes that you might forget that college is, among other things, a place to learn. Take a few elective classes in areas that interest you regardless of what requirements they fulfill. Enjoy the act of learning.

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M – Mentors
Find an older student, a community member or a professor who inspires you, and turn to that person as a mentor. This is a great way to start building your network, and you’ll also have someone to ask for advice on classes, internships and more. If you don’t know where to start, see if your school offers any organized mentorship programs to pair you with someone!

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From A to Z: Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Freshman YearN – Networking
I cannot stress the importance of networking enough! It may sound terrifying, but it doesn’t have to be. Get to know people every chance you get. You never know who will be able to help you out in the future — or whom you’ll be able to help. Networking helped me land a job right out of college! Read more about my experience here.

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O – Office Hours
Your professors are required to hold office hours, so attend them. They can be a great resource when the class material just isn’t clicking, and it’s always an added bonus for the professor to put a face to your name.

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P – Partying
Enjoy having a social life, but learn to do so responsibly. Remember why you came to college in the first place.

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Q – Quiet Space
Find your quiet space on campus for when you need to study or simply get away. Whether it’s the top floor of the library or a secluded corner of a campus garden, find that quiet space and use it when you need it.

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From A to Z: Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Freshman YearR – Romance
Unless you’re one of the lucky ones who meets your soulmate on the quad that first week of school, you’ll probably have your share of good and bad relationships in college, and that’s okayFrom every “failed” relationship, you’ll learn something – or at the very least, you’ll have a good story to tell. (My exes had better beware of my memoir! 🙂 ) Enjoy the ride.

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S – School Spirit
Soak it up! Wear your university colors, attend sporting events and be proud of the institution you attend. Don’t pretend you’re “too cool” for it. The time will eventually pass and you’ll wish you’d enjoyed yourself more.

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T – Time Management
Find an organizational style that fits you, and use it. Having strong time management skills will allow you to balance classwork, extracurriculars, work and a social life. The more you hone these skills now, the better prepared you will be for the future!

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U – Unique Opportunities
In college, the world is your oyster. If an opportunity sounds too good to pass up, take it! Study abroad for a semester. Volunteer in another city for an alternative spring break. Run for student government. Take advantage of these opportunities while you’re still in school, as they might never come back around once you graduate.

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V – Values
Be true to yourself. Know what is important to you, and keep that close to your heart as you make decisions in college. Don’t let others push you into something that makes you uncomfortable or puts you in danger.

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From A to Z: Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Freshman YearW – Wallet
Learn how to budget and take care of your finances. Learn to live within your means. Your money habits now will shape the way you spend and save long after you graduate.

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X – eXams
The dreaded exams will pop up every semester at least once, so it’s important to prepare for them. For more on how to survive your final exams, check out my article on Career Camel.

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Y – You Time
Take time for yourself. College can be a very social environment, and I encourage you to take advantage of that, but it’s always good to spend some time alone without worrying about others. “Treat yo self” to a night in every now and then, or focus on putting together that DIY Pinterest project you’ve had your eye on. Making time for yourself will help you maintain your sanity when life gets stressful.

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Z – Zero Tolerance
Love yourself enough not to tolerate negative treatment. Have zero tolerance for the people or situations that make you feel lesser than. If a friendship or relationship is making you miserable, leave. If you dread being part of a certain organization, quit. Life is too short to waste on people who treat you like crap.

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Best of luck to all of those starting college this fall! Readers, what are your tips for incoming freshmen?

Discover Your #DormStyle: Designing the Perfect Ocean-Inspired Dorm Room

Source: Wayfair.com

Source: Wayfair.com

With the summer just flying by, many of my readers are already gearing up for the upcoming fall term. For some of you, it will be your first semester in college, and with that comes many adventures: choosing your major, meeting new people and getting involved on campus! When I was a student, one of my favorite experiences was living in the dorms and in student-affiliated housing. Not only was it a great opportunity for me to make friends and live away from home for the first time, but it also gave me the chance to decorate my brand new space!

Flash forward to two years after I graduated from college, and I still love to decorate. Earlier this month, I moved into a brand new apartment, with decorations partially inspired by Old Hollywood and partially inspired by my love for all things aquatic. (Hello, I am a Floridian!) As part of Wayfair.com‘s #DormStyle campaign, I’ll be sharing my tips for designing the perfect ocean-inspired dorm room. 🙂 Feel free to share your favorite findings or your own personal dorm style in the comments section below!

  • Bedding
    Your bedding will set the tone for your entire dorm room, so you’ll want to do it right! For a fabulously aquatic dorm, stick with blues, greens and white. I love this comforter set from Wayfair (pictured above), even though it isn’t explicitly nautical. The fun shapes and colors are still subtle enough to go with your other fixtures and decorations, but still exciting enough to draw the eye.
  • Wall Decorations
    Another great way to show off your dorm style is with fun wall art. Aquatic canvases are definitely in vogue, and you can find some unique pieces at your local off-price stores if you’re willing to dig through the home goods sections. Everyone who has been to one of my parties knows about my unapologetic love for seahorses (I literally hosted a “seahorse seashell party” for my 22nd birthday), so naturally I gravitate toward those art pieces that feature seahorses. These gorgeous Etsy pieces are handmade and add some texture to the mix.
  • Light Fixtures
    Depending on your dorm room setup, you might not get a whole lot of natural light in the room, so light fixtures are a must! A basic floor lamp like this one from Target can (quite literally) light up your whole room. Pick a blue that matches your bedspread or a white shade that is a little more neutral.
  • Organizers
    You’ll be limited on space when you move into the dorms, so you’ll definitely want to invest in some organizers. These bins from Kohl’s are adorable and will help you save some space. Look for bins with similar color palettes or patterns to your overall theme, while still neutral enough to keep around if you decide to switch to a new theme.
  • Miscellaneous
    When you’re shopping, consider pieces that feature anchors, ship wheels and sea creatures. Browse your favorite home goods stores, look for inspiration on Pinterest and check out Wayfair for more #DormStyle posts. Have fun when decorating your dorm room and be creative! The world is your oyster. (Get it?) 🙂

For more dorm room essentials, check out my list of must-haves. You won’t regret it!

The Freshman 15: Topics To Discuss With Roommates

As you settle into college life, one of the first people you’ll meet will probably be your roommate. Although this doesn’t apply to those who stay at home and commute to school, you will quickly have to adjust to sharing a very small space with someone who might otherwise be a complete stranger. Roommates come in all shapes and sizes and can become your best friends or the agoraphobiacs who never leave the dorm, but regardless of the closeness of your relationship, you should keep an open line of communication in order to avoid conflicts. This month, we will focus on some of the topics it is helpful to discuss with your roommates before things get too out of hand.

The Freshman 15: Topics To Discuss With Roommates

1. Who is bringing what?
Before you pack to move into the dorms, you need to know what appliances to shop for and what your roommate will provide. You don’t want to end up with two microwaves in one kitchen, or two television sets in one bedroom. Conversely, you don’t want to avoid purchasing something that your roommate doesn’t have, either. Keep a list of what each of you plans to bring to the room, and if you need additional items, try to split them up as evenly as possible.

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2. Overall cleaning habits.
Are you the compulsive neat-freak type, or do you let things pile up throughout the week? These two types of people tend to get on one another’s nerves, so it is important to identify your personality types right away so you can show more respect toward each other. If your roommate cares a great deal about keeping the place neat, for example, then the knowledge of your roommate’s preferences will make you more aware of your own habits, and you may think twice about leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight.

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3. Daily/class schedules.
If you realize right away that your roommate believes in “Early to bed, early to rise,” but you’re more of a night owl, you will have a better chance of sorting out those issues early on. Figure out if your roommate has an 7:30 a.m. engineering class she needs to go to bed early for, so that you can find a way to dim the room and keep quiet as possible during the evening hours. Your roommate will hopefully be able to return that favor by getting ready for those break-of-dawn classes without making too much noise. Also, if one of you likes to nap in the afternoon, you can work it around the other one’s course schedule.

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4. Locking doors.
Although I always felt safe when I lived on campus, I always knew that my belongings were less secure when I shared a bedroom and a key with a roommate. Not only did a greater number of people have access to my bedroom that way, but also there was always a greater chance that one of us would forget to lock the door on the way out. You each have a key for a reason, so remember to talk about it and use it.

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5. Daytime visitors.
You don’t need to notify your roommate of every friend you ever plan on inviting to your dorm room, but you should at least give fair warning to your roommate if you plan on becoming a complete social butterfly. If you’re hosting a lot of little get-togethers and your roommate doesn’t like having so many people in the dorm at once, then you need to come to a compromise. Figure out a rough number of people you would accept in the dorm at any one time, and if you are expecting a greater number of people one night, then give your roommate the heads up.

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6. Overnight visitors.
These can range from one-night-stands to visitors from out of town. While neither of you needs to divulge all of the details of your social life (although, chances are, you’re both probably fully aware), you should be cognizant of your roommate’s feelings about the situation. In other words, don’t hole up with your boyfriend all the time — it will make even the coolest of roommates completely uncomfortable, even if you live in an apartment-style dorm and don’t even share a bedroom. If your best friend is visiting from another university for a few nights, just let your roommates know ahead of time so they aren’t asking themselves “Who is that strange girl in the apartment?” a few days later.

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7. Borrowing and sharing policies.
This is one that my friends complain about to this day! It’s great to have a roommate you feel comfortable with and with whom you share similar interests or fashion sense, but you should always ask your roommate before borrowing something of his or hers and vice versa. When you do return that item, return it in as good as or better condition than when you borrowed it. (Word to the wise: Don’t borrow or share boyfriends. This is usually not good for your relationship as roommates.)

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8. Use of living space.
This concept especially applies if you are sharing the actual bedroom with your roommate. Each of you may have completely different personalities, viewpoints and personal style preferences, and while you can certainly decorate your particular sides of the room in your own way, you want to make sure that neither one of your style choices makes the other too uncomfortable. For example, if your roommate decides to plaster a lot of nude photos or a Confederate flag on the wall and that makes you queasy, speak up. College is the time to be exposed to all sorts of different worldviews, so it is important to choose your battles wisely, but if you feel that your roommate’s decorations are appallingly offensive, politely tell them that it makes you uncomfortable.

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9. Best way to reach you.
In case of emergencies, you always want to have backup. Store each other’s phone numbers into your phones so that if you ever do need them at the least convenient time, you will be able to contact each other. One late night early in my first semester of freshman year, I was almost locked out of my room because I left my key in a friend’s car downtown (I was young!), and without my roommate’s number, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get back in until the next day. Luckily, my roommate was around to let me into the dorm, but I could have avoided a lot of anxiety if I had just gotten my roommate’s number in the first place. (Would have avoided even more anxiety, had I kept ahold of my key, but hey- freshman year is the time you’ll make the most mistakes.)

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10. Noise habits.
The roommate with the loud set of speakers who likes to practice his music always seems to get paired up with the quiet roommate who would prefer complete silence. Find a place for compromise and stick to it.

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11. Study habits.
These often border on noise habits because many times, roommates will fight over the noise levels in the room while doing homework or studying. If you can’t come to an agreement on the appropriate level of noise for the room during certain hours of studying, then you should take turns in going to the library to study and making loud noise on other parts of the campus.

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12. Chores.
Although some tasks are entirely your own responsibility (such as how often you decide to do laundry), others are important for the entire room. Who is going to vacuum the floor/clean off the kitchen surfaces/put away dishes? For my first two years in the dorms, my roommates and I often battled over who had to take out the trash. Although we devised a trash schedule to take care of this problem both years, I often found myself picking up the slack and resenting my roommates for it, even though we were all friends, and one time I even fell down the stairs carrying trash out when I was sick. Talk with your roommates early on to figure out what needs to be done as far as cleaning goes, and figure out who is going to do it when.

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13. Bathroom schedules.
If you and your roommate both have a 9 a.m. class and you both want to take a shower beforehand, how are you going to decide who gets the bathroom? Devise a schedule so you can figure out if one of you needs to get up earlier than usual, or if you should merely switch your showers to the evening. This way, you aren’t completely pressed for time in the mornings and caught off guard because of it.

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14. Personal space and alone time.
When you’re an independent person who suddenly has to share a bedroom with someone, it can be a difficult adjustment. Chances are, your roommate feels the same way. If you can figure this out early on, it will be easier to decide how you might be able to create your own brief solitude while your roommate is in class or at a club meeting. If you like to keep to yourself, this is also important for your roommate to know, so that he or she doesn’t bother you too much and so that you don’t seem too cold or distant.

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15. Methods for dealing with conflict.
Having a roommate can be one of the most exciting aspects of dorm life, but occasionally you won’t see eye to eye on things. (Tweet this!) In such cases as these, it is important to know your roommate well enough to know the best ways to communicate with him or her in the face of a conflict. Talk about your personal styles for coping with such disputes early on, so that you know the best ways to seek compromise with one another.

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Some questions for readers:

– What are some of your worries about dorm life?
– If you have already lived in a dorm, what were some conflicts you ran into? Ways you fixed them?
– What other topics would you like to read about in future Freshman 15 posts? 

How Bittersweet It Is

After two years of new friendships, developing aspirations and lessons learned, I have finally moved out of my on-campus home, the dorm room where I grew up. At 2 p.m., my room became completely devoid of any evidence that it ever belonged to me, even with the two years of history we have together, and all of its contents are now split between a storage unit and my childhood bedroom.

My parents have had the same house since I was two years old, and so moving isn’t exactly my forte. I like the consistency of the room I’ve known forever. Living in the same dorm for two years brought with it a similar familiarity, one that made the transition to college much smoother.

As I stripped my walls of all their posters, collages and bulletin boards, I realized how much of an effect a place can have on you. I thought about the ups and the downs, the friends I’d made and the people who had disappointed me, the celebrations/birthdays I’d thrown and the days I’d lay sick in bed. I thought about all the roommates I had at different times in that room (six official, but sometimes it felt like a lot more!). I thought about my freshman year especially and everything it had taught me, and one thing rang true: for better or for worse, I’m going to miss this place.

In two weeks, I will move into an apartment off campus with two of my close friends, and I am very excited to live there with them. At the same time, a small part of me is sad to leave my old room behind. The move can be such a bittersweet thing, unearthing one’s nostalgia and painful memories, but the change (while scary) can also lead to bigger, better things.

What would you miss most about your apartment or dorm room? How do you feel about the next step?

The Freshman 15: Ways To Party Smart In College

For many of us, college means freedom. Now out of our parents’ homes, we are accountable for ourselves in ways we never even imagined. Not only do we have newfound responsibilities, but we also have fewer restrictions on how we spend our free time. In other words, if we want to stay out until 4 a.m., we can, without worrying about calling home first or sticking to a pre-planned curfew.

Of course, some people adjust better to balancing school and a social life than others, and while many find that college has helped them to grow up, others get a little power-hungry and find their little “balance act” spinning out of control.

This month, here are 15 ways to party smart in college while still maintaining your grades and safety. (Tweet this!) For legal purposes, I will not endorse or discourage certain behaviors. I know that each of you will assign a different priority to the social scene, and that’s okay. However, as you continue to shop and pack for college, I hope you remember that with great power comes great responsibility (thank you, Spiderman!), and keep some of these tips in mind.

The Freshman 15:  Ways To Party Smart In College

1. Remember why you came to college in the first place.
Okay, so maybe “going out” was one of the things you were looking forward to when you enrolled in college, but that certainly wasn’t the only reason. College might become the most exciting part in your life so far, not so much because of the partying you choose to do, but because of the people you meet, the clubs you join and the opportunities you come across. Being able to go out and decide when you’re going home is an added bonus, but it is not what your tuition pays for. Ultimately, whether you like to go to bars or hang around at frat parties, remind yourself that as fun as all of this may be, your schooling should come first.

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2. Get your work done early on.
This means that if you know you’re going to be out late on Friday and/or Saturday night and you have an assignment due Monday, do your assignment before you leave your room. Finish as much work as you can by Friday afternoon so that you have nothing hanging over your head on the dreaded Sunday night.

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3. Go out with a group.
Every club has its creeps. If you arrive with a protective barrier of friends, it will be much easier to avoid said creeps and feel more secure in your surroundings. Although I would choose a party over a club or bar any day of the week, I always feel more comfortable when I’m there with several friends, especially if a few of them happen to be male (and look like they could throw a decent punch!). Going out with a group of friends is generally a lot safer than going out by yourself.

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4. Behave yourself in the dorms.
I don’t care what you do in your spare time; if it’s illegal or prohibited on campus, don’t do it there. Obviously, it is important to make wise choices wherever you go, but if caught doing something risky at the school, you could get kicked out of campus housing. Be aware of the rules — the last thing you want to do is lose your dorm room because of one stupid decision.

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5. If it’s questionable, don’t put it on Facebook.
As many will tell you, professors and prospective employers will stumble upon your social media outlets from time to time; some will even seek them out. You can keep your privacy settings as restricted as you would like, but you never know what photos, statuses or fan pages will slip through the cracks. Not only should you avoid being photographed in certain situations, but you should also be sure to untag any pictures that do come up (or ask your friends to take them down!) and avoid posting anything inappropriate on your own page in the meantime. Although your Facebook page shouldn’t reflect the type of worker you’ll be, many employers will still assume that it does, and it could ultimately play a role in your selection for a job or special program.

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6. Avoid clubs and parties on a school night.
There will be exceptions from time to time (a close friend’s birthday, a mostly-mandatory sorority social that happens to fall on a Thursday, etc.) but for the most part, save your exciting nightlife for the weekends. During the week, focus on school and other major responsibilities. There is never a need to go out 5 nights of the week.

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7. Choose a designated driver.
I know that most freshmen are not 21 (the legal drinking age), but I’m going to say it anyway. If you and your friends are going to a club or a party where alcohol will be available, make sure that someone in your group commits to not drinking that night and will be able to drive the rest of you home. Some schools may offer shuttle and taxi services as well, but have your plans ready before you go out so that you can make sure you’ll get back safely.

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8. Watch your drink carefully.
It doesn’t matter if you picked up a beer or a cup of water; keep an eye on your drink. Don’t drink from a cup you set down, especially if it was out of your sight at all. You never know who might slip something in. It’s a sobering thought (pardon the pun) but it’s important to guard your drink to avoid a potentially bad situation.

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9. Say “no” when you need to.
You are not obligated to attend every social event that has ever existed, so prioritize. If your grade is on the borderline in one of your classes and you really have to study, sometimes it is better to stay home or in the library than trying to cram everything into one weekend. If you’re too tired to endure a night out, it’s okay to stay in. There will be other nights, so if you are going to go out, make sure you aren’t dreading it (and that you’re able to commit!).

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10. Keep a calendar.
Make sure you manage your time effectively. When someone invites you to a can’t-miss party, jot down the details in your datebook or calendar so that you can work around it. That way, if your crush’s birthday festivities are at the end of next week and you have a big project due the following Monday (because things always tend to work out this way), you know how to budget your time on the project beforehand. (For more tips on time management in college, click here.)

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11. Get some sleep.
The old joke goes: “Social life. Grades. Sleep. Pick two.” Of course, at times it might be hard to figure out how you’re going to obtain all three of these, and often people will choose to sacrifice sleep in favor of the other two. If you aren’t getting enough sleep most nights, your immune system may weaken (if you don’t believe me, just ask how many times I went to the health center my first fall semester of college), and your schoolwork may suffer as well. Make sure that you don’t go out every night and that you aim for 8 hours most nights.

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12. Know your limits.
If you are going to drink, don’t drink to the point of excess every time you go out. Be mature and protect your reputation; you don’t want to be known as That Girl/Guy and you don’t want to be a total spectacle. When you become completely out of control every night, nobody is laughing with you anymore.

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13. Find out who your real friends are.
If worst comes to worst, your friends will take care of you. They will not leave you stranded outside a club, or abandon you when they see you in a situation you don’t seem remotely comfortable with. Right away, it’s important to figure out who you can trust.

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14. Don’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with.
The point of having a social life is to give yourself a break from your daily grueling tasks. It is supposed to give you something fun to do. If you aren’t having fun or if you feel uncomfortable every time you go to a club, then maybe that scene isn’t for you. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t cool, but rather that you would have more fun doing something else. Find something you do enjoy, and spend your free time doing that.

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15. Keep things in moderation.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy… but all play and no work makes Jack flunk out of college. Remember that the college experience is multifaceted and that you will learn nearly as much outside of the classroom as you will inside of it, but that college itself does not break down into Academics and Partying. Take advantage of every aspect that your school has to offer and don’t limit yourself to those two categories alone.

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My questions for readers:
– What do you most look forward to in college?
– How do you plan to maintain a social life?
– What questions do you have about college life that you would like to see featured in a future Freshman 15?

The Friday Five: Roommates You Meet In College

Throughout your time in college, you will come across students from all walks of life. In the past, we’ve talked about the boys you meet in college, the girls you meet in college and the friendships you cultivate in college, but in some cases, you won’t even have to travel past your own dorm room or residence hall to find an interesting mix of people. Living on campus will not only teach you about yourself and how you function away from home, but it will also provide you with a roommate you will always remember (for better or for worse!).

This week, we’ll talk about the five types of roommates you might end up living with. In the comments section, please feel free to include your own dorm life experiences and any additional roommate types you encountered in your time on campus!

The Friday Five: Roommates You Meet In College

1. The Stranger.
When you first received your housing assignment, you were told that one of your roommates would be a girl named Anna. After you move in, you see Anna’s stuff all around the dorm and her name on the door sign, but throughout the next several months, you and your other roommates hardly (if ever) actually see Anna in person. Anna is a prime example of The Stranger, a roommate who probably exists but whose rare presence suggests otherwise. The Stranger comes in two subsets: a. The Stranger Who Is Never Home, or b. The Stranger Who Holes Up In His/Her Room (ie. Total Loner). You often wonder if this person is either out on a secret agent mission, or creating a meth lab in his or her section of the dorm.

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2. The Overzealous Overachiever.
Unlike The Stranger, The Overzealous Overachiever makes his or her presence known in the dorm room and beyond. This person is usually excited about something, whether it’s an internship, the number of As he or she got on recent exams, or a big event he or she is organizing. The Overzealous Overachiever can be a little exhausting to hang out with in large doses, but is also a great resource when you want to know what is happening on campus or which professor to take for Speech. Avoid this person during midterms and finals week.

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3. The Bedroom Socialite.
The Bedroom Socialite embraces his or her single status by inviting over as many “romantic” partners as possible. This can be problematic if the two of you share a bedroom, but even if you live in an apartment-style dorm, you are still generally privy to the walk of shame and the endless string of visitors who walk in and out of your place. Don’t try to get to know these people by name; they will only be replaced in the days and weeks to come. The Bedroom Socialite is not ashamed of his or her number of conquests. In fact, if this roommate is a girl, she will most likely be proud of her “progressive” outlook on hooking up and relationships; if your roommate is a guy, then he will simply be proud because, well, he’s a guy.

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4. The Crazy Conservative.
Depending on your personal viewpoints, this person may not actually be a “crazy conservative,” but rather a “loony liberal,” or anyone else who veers away from your own personal beliefs. The Crazy Conservative has radically different viewpoints from you, and this can occasionally cause tension in your roommate dynamic, especially when both of you are politically minded. Instead of resorting to name-calling and heated debates, try subscribing to the “agree-to-disagree” mindset when interacting with this person, and embrace your differences in order to become friends.

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5. The Best Friend.
Whether you knew each other in high school or simply clicked in college, people often see the two of you as a package deal. Living together, you scarcely get anything done because you’re too busy getting into crazy antics or just having late night talks and gossip sessions. You get along well and don’t come across too much conflict by living together. See “Best Friend” in my post about the gradients of friendship for further details.

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Confession… I have had mainly awesome roommate experiences in the past two years, but many of my friends did come across several of the above roommates during their time in the dorms.

Readers: What types of roommates have you encountered?