honest advice from honestly nice people
By Jackie Wittry
There are many things to look forward to as you begin the next chapter of your life as a college student. You are ready to take on the world and meet new people, get good grades, and live a life like you see on Tumblr and Pinterest. However, there are a few things to keep in mind as you hurdle through summer getting ready to move in.
1. Your dorm will suck at first, but that's what decorations are for!
When I first saw the empty, undecorated dorm that I was about to call “home” for the next 9 months, I wasn’t super enthused. When you do the dorm tour, the dorms are nicely decorated in the ideal way you’d dreamt your own dorm to be like. I walked in to room 335 in Kokernot Hall to move in and looked to my mom in hopes she’d have something good to say about it. What she told me was that we could take this and turn it into what I wanted it to be. We started to hang my clothes, make my bed, and hang corkboards for all my pictures and memories. We put up frames with pictures I’d brought from home on my nightstand and slowly it became my new home. Even though I didn’t love where I loved my freshman year of college, I learned how to make the best of a not so stellar room situation.
2. It's okay to like a professor that most people don't.
When I started meeting upperclassmen throughout my first year, I heard a lot of different opinions on a lot of different professors. Personally, I like to keep an open mind and choose my classes not based on a professor but based on what works with my schedule and avoiding the waitlist. I learned that a professor can start off harsh and strict but then after a couple weeks they become one of the nicest people you have every met. They do this so they can keep out the students that actually want to take the class and will try versus those who just wanted that class starting at noon so they could sleep in. The people that then dropped the class will only know the professor as the harsh and sarcastic person they started out as. And sometimes, you may like the professor as a person, but not as a professor. That’s okay too. My advice: Keep an open mind and try a class out for at least a week before deciding the professor isn’t for you.
3. You will miss your parents.
I know this seems like common sense, but you will start to miss your parents more than you thought you would. After the first week or two of school, getting settled and finally not getting lost, you will wish you could pack up your bags and go home for a week. For me, it was a bit harder because I am not only out of state, but also out of country. I can’t just visit my parents any time there’s a long weekend. Keep in mind that you have many ways to contact them and you should take advantage of it. I call my mom using the app Whatsapp pretty much between all my classes while I walk from one building to the other. There will be times when a phone call won’t be enough and you will want nothing more than to get in your car (if you have one, and if you don’t you’ll wish you did) and drive to see them. I promise that whatever causes you to realize that college is hard WILL PASS. Before you know it, it’ll be winter break and you’ll have three weeks to catch up with your family and it’ll make second semester easier.
4. You won't make the grades you did in high school...
I had a major wake up call when I started getting C’s on exams in college. Regardless of how much you think you have prepped yourself for the fact that college is harder and different than high school, nothing prepares you for your first bad grade. There were many times during my first semester that I would receive a poor grade and then my mom would as how I did and I would have to tell her, my voice riddled with shame and on the verge of tears. I thought I had prepped myself and I thought I was studying enough and I thought I would be okay. Turns out, I wasn’t. My final grades from first semester were not what I had hoped for, and one of them completely left fielded me. What you need to remember is that your grades DO NOT DEFINE YOU. You can take first semester and use it as lessons for second semester, and then take all of freshman year and use it as lessons for sophomore year. Take college one day at a time, and if you get a bad grade it’s okay to be upset. Just don’t let it kill all your motivation to work your butt off in the future so that you can get your final grade back up!
5. ...but that doesn't mean you can't have fun!
It’s difficult to find a balance between work and play when you get to college because you must take care of yourself. You no longer have your mother standing beside you telling you where to go and what to do. I had trouble finding that balance and you will too. It’s okay to go out with friends and explore Waco or find an organization and attend the meetings, but don’t forget that school should come first. Procrastination is a wonderful thing that every college student becomes prey to, and a little bit is okay. You will get ahold of your life but just remember that when you’re pulling an all nighter that it could have been prevented. Trust me, I would know. With that being said, don’t beat yourself up if you’ve procrastinated too much on an assignment. Do it, turn it in, and take into consideration how you felt while you were stressed out and trying to get it done.
6. Making friends isn't as hard as you think it's gonna be.
Being an introvert, I am not one to usually just strike up a conversation with the person next to me. When I went to college, however, I tried to make a point to change that. In every one of my classes, I tried to talk to whomever I sat next to or around. If we kept talking, then there was someone new that I could grab lunch with. If that first conversation was the only one then so be it, there were plenty of other people in the class to talk to. By making an effort to talk to at least one person helped me to make some amazing friends that I have kept, and to meet some pretty cool people that I was in class with but never really hung out with otherwise. You will find your people, but you have to let yourself. You are somewhere new and you can be whoever you want to be.
There it is. These are just a taste of what to expect when you pack your bags and move in to your dorm at Baylor University. There are so many more things, but it’s up to you to find yourself. It is up to you to make your college experience exactly what you want it to be! Keep an open mind and remember that when you feel like you’re the only one, there are thousands of others that have probably felt the same and there are plenty of current freshmen that are feeling like you. Find your people, study hard, and remember that you are who you are and college is where that personality of yours can grow and flourish!
So I’m Jackie and I like to think I’m pretty cool when in reality I’m just a bit awkward. I grew up in Wisconsin but lived in Honduras for just over three years before coming to Baylor and being deemed an international student. I will be a sophomore International Studies major with a double minor in Spanish and Political Science. I love to write, dance, sing, and read. I am always willing to meet new people so don’t be afraid to hit me up on Facebook, Snapchat, Insta, or email! If you find me there and want my number just ask! I’m always down for lunch or dinner with a friend.