This is the second part of my personal story/college advice blog installment. For the first one (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 on 10 October 2016: Tags have since changed.*
Rule #9: If you have a food allergy, the dining hall meals will get real boring real fast.
I know this because I'm lucky enough to be trying a gluten-free diet for my fibromyalgia. So, some food allergies, you won't have a problem with, like nuts. You're probably OK, nut people. But if you're a vegetarian, or gluten-intolerant, or have a corn allergy, or maybe even a veggie allergy, 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.
As a gluten intolerant personage, this is my standard college diet. Breakfast: eggs. Lunch: hot dog (sometimes a hamburger patty) w/out a bun, and fries. Snack: salad and a bit of fro yo. Dinner: hot dog (or hamburger) and fries.
So if you have an allergy like mine, good luck guys. Eat whatever food you can when you visit home. Like CARBS!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm dying for pizza. Or even just BREAD. Yeesh.
Rule #10: YouTube and other distractions are even more addictive in college.
I think that's pretty straightforward. I was never much of a computer addict before (besides for writing novels and such). I never watched YouTube. 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 super limited. Lots of rules and blocks and firewalls and stuff. I could basically just go on a few writing websites, the school website, my email, and later on, Facebook.
Good thing is 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 despite this little factoid), be prepared to be utterly caught up in it. I actually, um, 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. It was bad. And 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. The other people whom I actually fit in with, you know. And it makes me feel happy and safe, but it's insanely distracting. So be aware. And try not to get too caught up in it. You don't want to miss your orchestra class, like silly old me.
Rule #11: The professors have been there.
On the first day of my English class, my professor immediately informed us all 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 was totally surprising!
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, even if they're not Dr. X from X-Men. :) So be aware, troublemakers.
Rule #12: College will break you of a lot of weird habits.
Now that you're in college, you're around your peers constantly. Like seriously constantly. And this will cause you to become very aware of some of your weird, previously unnoticed habits, which you will immediately get rid of. It's called conformity. Conformity's not always bad, and in this case, it's pretty neutral. Sometimes even good.
Some of my personal examples--bad table manners, excessive makeup wearing, singing to myself for no good reason, and 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. This is the bad part. Cuz see, now you're on your own, with no parents, but you're also surrounded by everyone else who's on their own, with no parents. And since you're adjusting to a new place, your regular habits go all over. So suddenly, everyone's breaking the rules, whether on purpose or accidental, 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. And it involves lots of bad nutrition, skipping meals, sleeping odd hours, and not exercising. The worst go off into drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, etc.
My advice? DON'T DO IT! Your body is the only body you're gonna get. Why ruin it? You're only going to regret it later. So don't conform to bad body habits. Take it from a fibromyalgic. Your own body, turned against itself, is the worst enemy you can ever have. It will torture, tear, and generally imprison you. So be friends with it. Don't make it your enemy.
Rule #14: The environment will catch you off guard.
Unless you're staying in the exact same town (heaven help you), there will be something about the weather/climate/wildlife that you will not be expecting in your new college area. In my case, 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 becoming acquainted with the fact 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--for example, she never burned at her old home, but the higher altitude makes for thinner air, which means more sun, and burning. Point of all this being, expect the unexpected.
Rule #15: If you're unhappy, do everything you can to 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. But this is a good rule for just about everything in life. 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, but perhaps not amenity-wise. Both of these would be drastic actions to take. So instead, I'm taking it a step at a time to see how much I can make better before I make a big decision like that.
My first problem that I actually internalized as a reason to leave college 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 OK. My second problem was a lack of friends. See Rule #8 for how that went. My third problem turned out to be that living with a roommate is exacerbating my fibro. So, despite some stress and drama, I am finally applying for, effectively, a single room. I'm hopeful that will improve my mood. And, now that I've complained to you all about the food, some gluten-free bread finally appeared in the dining hall. :) Happy days.
Next thing to work on if the room change doesn't make me happy enough to stay? Intellectually stimulating myself... hello NaNoWriMo. :)
That's all for today! Come back Saturday for another, I think, music-related post, and on Wednesday for more College 101! Love you all and good luck to juliathewritergirl as she starts out college too (hiiiiiiiiiiiiii Jules!).
Images via qthechef.com, addictions.com, comicvine.com, spring.org.uk, and sfgate.com.
I'm an unpublished novelist, primarily of YA fantasy, and a freelance editor. I love psychology, cats, social justice, and love! I'm also a huge fangirl. More than anything, stories are my life.
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