For the first installment of this series (and later ones in the future!) go to the right, look for "Categories," and click the link for "College 101". Those, by the way, are my new blog tags! Hopefully, they're simple enough to follow. (Editor's Note: Tags have since changed.)
Rule #9: If you have diet limitations, the dining hall will get real boring real fast.
I'm lucky enough to be trying a gluten-free diet for my fibromyalgia right now. If you're a vegetarian, or gluten-intolerant, or have a corn allergy, or something big like that, you are going to have problems. The food people will tell you they will help you, but probably they won't, unless you are brave and go talk to the mean-looking cafeteria lady about getting more food. Which I haven't done so far. Instead, I've been eating this: Breakfast: eggs. Lunch: bunless hot dog (sometimes a hamburger patty) with fries. Snack: salad and a bit of fro yo. Dinner: bunless hot dog (or hamburger) and fries. I'm dying for pizza. Or even just BREAD. Yeesh.
Rule #10: YouTube and other distractions are even more addictive in college.
I was never much of a computer addict before, but I've now actually been recommending stuff to people and browsing around. Why? Because I can, I guess. My internet access, when I was underage and at home, was limited. There were lots of rules and firewalls and stuff. I could basically just go on a few writing websites, the school website, my email, and later on, Facebook. The good news is that I'm still on a basic addiction level. Those of you who have YouTube problems even before starting college? Good luck.
Rule #10 Addendum: Skype is one of the worst of these distractions.
Yeah, if you ever get Skype (which I do highly recommend), be prepared to be utterly caught up in it. I actually missed orchestra yesterday partially because of Skype. In my defense, I had a broken cello string anyway, so I couldn't have played, but still. I've been on Skype pretty much all the time for the past week, not just video chatting my mom, but also PMing my friends both at home and from the writerly world. I actually fit in with them, you know. And it makes me feel happy and safe, but it's insanely distracting. So try not to get too caught up in it. You don't want to miss your orchestra class, like me.
Rule #11: The professors know what's up.
On the first day of my English class, my professor immediately informed us all that her first time in college she'd dropped out because she had been "majoring in drugs." So bringing drugs to class would be a bad idea because she would know. It shocked me, but of course, this sort of thing is true for most professors. They've been through college; they know the stupid stuff you might try and pull off. They're not going to be fooled or fazed.
Rule #12: College will break you of a lot of weird habits.
Now that you're in college, you're around your peers constantly, and this will cause you to become very aware of some of your weird habits, which you will immediately get rid of. It's called conformity. Conformity's not always bad. Some of my personal examples: bad table manners, excessive makeup wearing, singing to myself for no good reason, not wearing anything but a towel when leaving the bathroom. This last one is especially important. I'm on a co-ed floor.
Rule #13: Take care of your body.
This is part two on conformity in college--the bad part. You're on your own, with no parents, but you're also surrounded by everyone else who's on their own, with no parents. Since you're adjusting to a new place, your regular habits break. So suddenly, everyone's living chaotically, and your body gets left on the wayside. Personally I've done pretty well at keeping things up, out of necessity. But I've seen what everyone else does. My advice? DON'T! Your body is the only body you're gonna get. Don't make it your enemy.
Rule #14: The environment will catch you off guard.
Unless you're staying in the exact same town, there will be something about the climate that you will not be expecting in your new area. I discovered that my college area is actually drier than my part of New Mexico. Don't ask me how it's possible. But I'm discovering that water bottles and Chapstick are my new best friends. I also have learned that some species of flies actually bite people. I now have two fly bites: one on my back, one on my ankle that actually swelled up enough that my current roommate put a poultice on it for me. She, too, has had some problem--she never burned at her old home, but the higher altitude makes for thinner air, which means more sun. So expect the unexpected!
Rule #15: If you're unhappy, change the small things before doing something drastic.
I haven't had the greatest time at college so far. The first couple weeks have been really tough on me. I've considered dropping out and taking online classes from home, and I've considered transferring for next semester to a college that might be more like me student-wise. Both of these would be drastic actions to take. Instead, I'm seeing how much I can make better with small steps before I make a big decision like that. My first problem was that none of the guys would look at me. So I continued to go to activities I could handle, and eventually, a couple guys did talk to me. I also lowered my expectations. If I date a guy in the next two years, I'll be surprised, and I guess that's okay. My second problem was a lack of friends. See Rule #8 for how that went! My third problem was that living with my roommate is exacerbating my fibro. So, despite some drama, I am finally applying for a bigger suite. I'm hopeful that will improve my mood. Next thing to work on if the room change doesn't make me happy enough to stay? Intellectual stimulation... hello NaNoWriMo!
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