Here's general advice for a new campus life
Published: Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 18:05
I was asked to dole out some words of advice for incoming freshmen and their parents to read and converse about, so here it goes.
College is another world. A subculture more different than anything you experienced at high school. You may have been a big fish in that pond, but don't expect to come here and rule.
Frankly, I don't think any one person rules this school, and I like it that way. Come in expecting to feel awkward, out of the loop and ready to make adjustments. You may find you have a roommate that is a bit unconventional, a professor who talks about their drug-infused college experiences and people expressing themselves openly.
At that moment, while we want you to feel like you belong, until you open up to the idea that nothing is set in stone, you won't belong.
I am pretty sure you have talked about this fear with someone such as a friend or family member, but I hope you take this moment to talk to your parents about it. What insights can they provide? While no one wants to be labeled a "momma's boy" or "daddy's girl," your parents will provide you a lot of emotional support this first semester and school year.
College is stressful. Not just because of increased academic demands, but because of the out of place feeling that you might become overwhelmed by. Friendships will develop, eventually, but like everything else it takes time. I know. what a horrible statement in the age of instant gratification.
Explore. Try all kinds of new things, the worst thing that could happen is you not like it and don't do it again. Go to some club meetings and interact. Join a study group. Talk, but think before you do.
Keep in mind, you are still just a child. Some of the people in your classes may look like they can have a few (in my case a lot) more years worth of adult life experience on you and judgemental, ignorant opinions can leave you ostracized. I'm not saying keep your opinions to yourself, but don't just open your mouth to change the foot that is inserted.
Be safe. If you are going to indulge in the activities banned from your parents' house because you find yourself unsupervised and living the good life, make a plan. Utilize designated driver systems, use protection, know how to protect yourself. The pull cords in your dorm room work; don't tape them to the wall so you can't use one if necessary.
Find a reliable taxi service and program their number in your phone (see page D5). Make a note before you go out to let someone know where you are; you never know what can happen. If things start to feel like too much, step back and talk with someone you can trust. Again, your parents are instrumental.
I guarantee you that no matter how much they want to see you succeed, a bad grade or a stupid impropriety won't negate the fact that you are their child, and they love you. A momentary disappointment is much better than a lifetime of loss.
You're a smart cookie, or else you wouldn't be here. Enjoy your new found freedom, use your noodle, and welcome to FGCU.
See you in class.