Part of Grit's "Crib Sheets" series—Your totally local guide to getting through the back-to-school season. Also check out...
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I remember college orientation like it was yesterday. My mom and I pulled up to campus and I felt like I was going to puke because I was so nervous. Actually, I think I did puke. Yep. I definitely puked. Anyway, we moseyed up to the check-in table where a very handsome boy wearing pleated khaki pants greeted us. A few moments later, I discovered I’d mixed up the dates, so I’d missed the entire first day of orientation. Enter, devastation. I gathered my brochures and maps and printed name tag and proceeded to run to the bathroom where I sobbed to my mom about how “my life was over” and that I would “never make any friends” and I’d be “lost on campus forever.”
Which brings me to my first pearl of wisdom: don’t freak out. There will be moments in your school career where you’re going to want to freak out. Maybe it’ll be because you’re starving right before a final and you thought you’d have time to swing by and get a delicious bacon, egg, cheese croissant from that bomb diggity coffee place, but you didn’t. Or maybe it’ll be because you fail a test. Or maybe it’ll be because you’re broke and you got, like, 10 cents back for a textbook you purchased for 150 bucks. (Related: textbooks are expensive and that ain’t right, y’all.)
So, yeah, don’t freak out. Next up: get your butt to class. My mom told me that if I simply show up to class everyday, I’m guaranteed to get a C at the minimum. She was right. Treat class like a job. Show up. Raise your hand. Ask questions.
Speaking of going to class, I’d also recommend getting dressed for class. This may seem like common knowledge, but I am shocked at the amount of humans I see moseying around campus in flannel pants and a dirty t-shirt. I’m all for expressing yourself, but unless your house is on fire, I feel confident that you can change out of your pajamas prior to the start of English 101. You’ll feel better, I promise.
Finally, keep an open mind and for heaven’s sake, have some manners. One of the things I loved most about college is the different people I came in touch with. It can be easy to make assumptions about others at first glance. (I guess I should apologize for being so judgmental about pajama-wearing students. Sorry. Kinda.) Everybody is fighting their own little battles, so be nice. Offer the heavy nose breather a number two pencil when he needs it. High five the girl marching for her cause on the quad. Join the astronomy club if it makes you feel good. Start an ice cream social group because you want to (ugh, this is one of my biggest regrets).
Get out there, but be gracious along the way. After all, we’re all just awkward 8th graders on the inside anyway.