Hello! I’ve been having an absolute blast at Cal Poly’s dreamy WOW orientation!! (WOW stands for Week Of Welcome… Fun, right?) I’m excited to share some little tidbits about my experience for those who will someday be in my shoes as well as those who have survived all of the craziness and are interested to see what the present-day college experience is like…
5 things I learned the week of college orientation-
1. You can be friends with people who don’t have the same outlook as you, as long as they lift you up and make you a better person. Chances are, you’re not going to find people you click with right off the bat, but you’ll be surprised by how easily you can get along with people who don’t live life like you do. If they do or say things that you don’t necessarily love, that’s okay as long as they are lifting you and others up when you’re around them. Maybe you’ll never be best friends, but you can both be good influences for each other!
2. People are going to do stupid things. There’s no avoiding it; people are going to do things that hurt themselves and others around them. You have a choice to join in because it’s the easiest thing to do and because quite a lot of people are doing it, or you can take a step back and say “that’s not for me.” As many people as there are doing stupid things, you’ll be surprised by how many people are choosing to stay away from those things. There is already news about Cal Poly freshmen going to the hospital because of alcohol-related injuries. There were two ambulances outside my dorm last night. I don’t know the whole story, but I’m praying for healing for those who are hurt and prevention for those who could possibly hurt themselves or others. God loves these people and will take care of them. And if He wants you to get involved, He will tell you Himself!
3. If you haven’t ever done laundry, it’s easier than you think. Okay, this sounds silly, but don’t freak out. You’ll totally be able to handle it. Have your mom/dad/grandma/older sibling/some laundry expert walk you through the process before you move in and make sure you try doing some loads yourself before you leave home. Note: The washers and dryers at Cal Poly take credit cards, but I know some places take quarters. Find out what your school takes!
4. Everyone is super friendly in college. It’s not like high school where everybody only really talks to the people who have similar tastes/interests. You’re going to be living in close quarters with people who are just as excited as you about college! Everyone wants to create good relationships from the get-go, so there will always be someone to meet initially! Make an effort to really get to know people’s names and lives; you never know when you’re going to meet your future best friend/roommate/made of honor/best man!
5. Everyone is going through the same things. Everyone misses home and everyone is worried about finding friends. Everyone wants to graduate on time and everyone wants to feel accepted and loved. Everyone wants to balance their schoolwork and their social lives and everyone doesn’t know what to wear to their first day of class. It’s okay to feel confused or sad as long as you own those feelings and are open about them to others. You’ll be surprised by how much you connect with people that way.
5 things I’m happy I brought-
1. Snacks: You’re going to be on the move a lot, and it’s nice to have granola bars or fruit snacks to toss in your bag when you’re on the go!
2. Vitamins and Emergen-c: All of a sudden, you’re living in close quarters with hundreds of other people, so you’re all bound to get sick while you adjust to the new environment! If you eat healthy, take vitamins, and drink Emergen-c if things get bad, you have a better chance of evading sickness.
3. Lanyard: Your dorm key has to go somewhere! Don’t wear it around your neck though, or swing it around your finger. Those are sure ways to tell if someone is a freshman according to upperclassmen. 😉
4. Band-aids: I’ve used a few of these already! Blisters from walking up and down campus and downtown have accumulated, and so have scrapes from service projects and nicks from shaving. It’s good to have these tiny little bandages around!
5. Confidence in Christ and my identity in Him: Meeting new people in a new place is full of pleasant surprises and disappointing discoveries. Both encounters are inevitable, and so the consistency of Jesus keeps me going. His continuing love and my identity as His beloved daughter reminds me that I’m not here to fit in… I’m here to stand out! Simply smiling and being friendly to everyone is a way to show His love when adjusting to a new place and new people.
5 general tips for college life-
1. After someone introduces themselves, make sure to say their name a few times throughout the conversation. You’re going to meet a lot of new people in a short amount of time, and this gives you a better chance of remembering the person’s name. Example: Megan: “Hi, I’m Megan. What’s your name?” New Friend: “Hi! I’m New Friend.” Megan: “It’s nice to meet you, New Friend!” … (fun/awkward first conversation) Megan: “It was nice meeting you, New Friend. See you around!”
2. Adjust your comfort zone. Sometimes you’ll want to hide in it and construct a wall to keep you away from everything foreign, but I’m here to tell you that you don’t want to restrict yourself by doing that. I’m not telling you to step outside your comfort zone, because some people mistake doing something dumb and reckless as simply “trying something outside your comfort;” I’m saying that you should try new things in order to expand what you know and love. This will open doors to new and amazing opportunities, friendships, and experiences that you’d never dream of before!
3. Set boundaries and rules with your roommate. I’ve already heard horror stories about disrespectful/rude/noncompliant roommates, and I’ve only been here a week! Make sure you and your roomie talk about what you can and cannot do in the room, how to treat the other’s stuff, and what the hours for sleeping and studying will be. Whether you know them going into college or not, you’ll be happy you did!
4. Use common sense. Straight up. Common sense isn’t so common anymore, so protect yourself from harm by staying away from anything that seems shady or dangerous. You can help other people do that too.
5. Listen to your body. The better you feel, the more successful you’ll be in your classes and the more fun you’ll have in general. If you’ve had a lot of late nights in a row, say no to another one and get some sleep! Sure, you might be sacrificing some studying and some quality friend time, but you’ll be happy you did. Not feeling well? Make sure to exercise and eat lots of fruits and veggies. You don’t need to utilize the dessert bar at every meal (as tempting as it may be haha).
Take this advice if you want. I know I’ve only been away for a week, but I learned so much in those 7 days and this blog post is just as much for my own reflection as it is for your information and entertainment. Thanks for making it to the end and for supporting me in my blogging endeavor. Until next time!
(Photocreds to the group picture go to Katerina Baeza) 🙂