TSB Staff, Christine Baker
“We’ve only been here for a week and we’ve gone to Wal-Mart six times.”
“Why is everything so expensive?”
“Should we buy a Swiffer?”
“No, it’s your turn to take out the trash.”
“It looks like we’re on our way to gaining the freshmen 50.”
“I didn’t even bring laundry detergent with me.”
“We need paper towels? Okay, just make sure they’re the Great Value brand because I need that 50 cents for a burrito tomorrow so I don’t have to eat in the cafeteria again.”
After only a few weeks on our own at college, these are just a few of the things my roommate and I have discussed. When most people think about college, they think about being independent and having fun. What most don’t realize is that there is a lot more to it than that. If there’s anything I’ve learned this past month, it’s that I am not as independent as I thought I was. Having to do my own grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, sharing a microscopic bathroom with three other girls, and living with someone I barely knew – talk about a rude awakening!
College really is an entirely different world. No one is there to remind you that you need to get your homework done, wake you up if you’re late for class, do your laundry for you, make you dinner or do grocery shopping for you. Everything really is up to you. At first, it seemed nice, but after about a week away from home I realized that I was not nearly as independent as I thought I was. In my first week I called home constantly to ask things like how to use my new coffee maker, how to connect the wireless printer to my laptop, how to install a router, how to hook up my TV so I could have cable and Netflix, what kind of extension cord to buy, and other minute details that I didn’t realize I was clueless about.
Now that I have finally adjusted to the college life here are a few words of advice for incoming freshmen:
1. Everyone is dead serious when they refer to college students as being broke. Spend your money wisely and remember that every dollar counts – you can probably buy a hot pocket with that!
2. Make sure that you’re mini fridge is at an appropriate temperature so that it doesn’t freeze your yogurt and all of your leftovers.
3. No matter what people tell you, the library is the only place where anything productive gets done. It’s the best place to study or do homework, mainly because there is no reception.
4. Even though it’s easy to be skeptical of cafeteria food, at least they always have salad and cereal.
5. No matter how organized you think you are, keep a planner.
6. Do not take 8 a.m. classes everyday of the week. Even with coffee it is exhausting to wake up at 7 and walk a mile across an empty campus.
7. Go to the gym. It relieves stress and to be honest, cheap food isn’t the healthiest.
8. Never do homework in bed. You WILL fall asleep.
9. Always set your alarm before you go to sleep, sleeping through class is not fun.
10. Remember to deep clean your room before family weekend. You don’t want your empty ramen bowls and dirty clothes everywhere.
Making this transition was anything but easy but I have somehow managed to find time to go to the gym, go to every class, do all my homework, be in a sorority, be on the junior Panhellenic board, eat more than cafeteria food without spending all my money, go home every now and then to see my family and watch my brother play middle school football, and bond with my roommate who is now one of my best friends. How do I do this? If there is only one piece of advice I can offer you, it’s this – in college you have three options: academics, social life, and sleep. However, you can only have two out of the three. Which ones are most important to you?
Photo at right: Christine with her brother, William
Christine Baker is 2012 graduate of McKinney High School and a freshman at the University of North Texas. Read her thoughts, and those of fellow College Corner columnist Nikki Darling, on a regular basis on TSB.