Happy Monday! Since freshmen will be arriving on campus in four days (!!!!) I thought this would be a good time to post some freshmen advice from rising junior, Jessica Drake. Enjoy!
These are some topics that most college freshman will have to do deal with at some point. Hopefully some of this is can be helpful!
Get comfortable with doing things by yourself (aka joining a new club, eating etc.)
I have seen friends not join clubs or try new things because they never had “anybody to go with”. Please do not miss out on an opportunity you may love because you have no one to go with. Going to activities you enjoy is often a great way to meet new people.
For example, none of my friends were interested in going to the homecoming parade on main street last fall because it was too early and cold. I ended up going by myself and I am so glad that I did! It would have been a shame to have missed out on this Hokie Tradition and now I know that I will definitely go again.
If there is any verse in the bible that can apply to college roommates, its Proverbs 15:1-2 and 6: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.”
You are going to be living with another person that you probably do not know. Misunderstandings are certain to happen. If your roommate says or does something you thought was unkind, stop and think that maybe your interpretation of what they said was not what they intended.
Also, do not get caught up on problems or differences with your roommate, there are ways to overcome these issues. For instance, sleep schedules between roommates do not often line up. This was the case for my roommate and I, who for two years had quite different sleeping patterns. My roommate liked to go to sleep early, I soon learned that it was best to study either at the library or work in common areas of my dorm so she could sleep undisturbed. In return, when she got up early in the morning, she was always super quiet so I could sleep well. We never verbally agreed to do this, it was just an unspoken courtesy we developed by “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools.Proverbs 15:1-2, 6
All people have a different capacity for sharing. Do not automatically assume your roommate will be fine with you borrowing their wardrobe or eating their snacks. This can cause issues, so go slow with this at the beginning. Of course, no one has to share anything with anyone; however, keep in mind that a little sharing can go a long way in building a roommate relationship. Sharing snacks is a good example of something that can be easily shared and help you become “friends” with your roommate.
I use food as an example because it is the easiest way to share without crossing any personal boundaries and a way to show some kindness to your roommate without going out of your way. If there are things you do not want to share, it is important to have boundaries. For example, if you do not like sharing clothes don’t ask to borrow other people’s clothes. When you go to borrow other things, always ask for permission so others will feel the need to ask you for permission before they borrow something from you. If they ask, just politely say no. If you feel that saying no could hurt your relationship then briefly explain why it is important to you not to share that item, so they will know it isn’t a personal attack on them.
Some people will spend all day in their dorm rooms and others will only be there to sleep. Be mindful that your roommate may want some alone time in the room, just the way you might want to. Having different places to study (also a good study tip) and naturally having other places to be like clubs will help give your roommate some space and hopefully they will reciprocate that same treatment.
Do not complain about your roommate to friends you both have in common or even acquaintances down the hall. This may negatively affect the way others feel about your roommate which is not fair to them. Remember, “do unto others …”
I also want to encourage you to have an open mind about your roommate. I’m sure there are a lot of people telling you to prepare for the worst, but having that mindset will only cause you to see the worst in your roommate. I am not saying your roommate will be your best friend. But I do think there is a great chance for good comradery between you and your roommate. Give them grace and remember Proverbs 15:1. Nobody is perfect, so give them grace, flexibility and be willing to take the high road when needed. It may feel good in the moment to get your point across, but most of the time it is not worth sacrificing a peaceful living situation.
Doing your laundry
As someone whose first-time doing laundry was in their college dorm, I am giving this advice from experience. Doing laundry is not particularly hard, but it is definitely something worth doing a few times before coming to college. In addition to learning what buttons to press and what settings to use, get familiar with how to separate your clothes before washing so you do not end up with stained clothes afterwards. Some people separate light clothes from dark ones. My strategy is to not mix items that can cause stains (I individually soaked my colored clothes in a sink full of water, if they release color then that means they stain) with white clothing.
Doing laundry also costs money. This was also the way that allowed me to spend the least amount of money on laundry.), figure out how often laundry actually needs to be done (weekly basis, bi-weekly basis), and
Also knowing how to properly fold/hang clothes will save you time and keep your wardrobe in top shape. And another little tidbit is to make sure you either have a decent supply of quarters or laundry money on your hokie pass. You do not want to be ready to move clothes from the washer to the dryer and then find out you need to go to another dorm to get quarters.
Finally, know what type of detergent (liquid or powder) and how much to use. Also, get familiar with dryer sheets or dyer balls. They are very useful!