Advice on Surviving Your First Semester

collegeHere are the Do’s and Don’ts of how to survive your first semester of college. This semester matters. You’re building the ground work, you’re building your blueprint for the rest of your college experience. Hey! Remember – if you want to start building your resume now, e-mail me to be a college blogger – it’s easy and will look great on your resume! 😉

1. Don’t go home every weekend. This is tempting, especially if you live close, or you have a significant other at home, but you will make absolutely no friends on campus this way and you will be miserable. You will also be known as “the one who always goes home.”

2. DO communicate with your roommate. This is crucial! One of the biggest causes of roommate conflicts is a failure to communicate, especially at the beginning of the year. If you don’t start early, it just gets harder and harder. If your school doesn’t require it, I recommend you and your roommate create a contract discussing your expectations of each other involving guests, cleanliness, alarm clocks, TV etc. It may seem silly, but it will come in handy later!

3. Don’t sit in the library every weekend. You will burn yourself out fast if you study all the time. You need to take social breaks. I understand that for some of you it’s easier to sit and read a book or stare are your computer screen than it is to go out and converse with new people. Socializing is important to your mental health and it will help you in the long run when you need to interview for internships, jobs, meet with professors, and work with new people.

 4. DO explore the different majors are your school. You will probably not end college doing the same thing you think you will do when you start. This is more than likely because when you start college, all you really know is law, medicine, and business, but there are so many more great options, so don’t be afraid to explore them and to change your mind! One trick I tell student is to go into the admissions office at their school and pick up the newest viewbook or list of majors. This will list all of the majors. When you see one that’s interesting you can then find a professor in that department and e-mail them. You’re on the campus now, use your resources!!!

5. Don’t spend every second with your new boyfriend or girlfriend. This is a topic that needs its own blog post and I very well may write one in the near future. It’s so easy to totally consume your time with your new boyfriend or girlfriend. It will take energy and effort to force yourself to spend time with your roommate and other friends. Force yourself to do that! Your bf/gf will still love you even if they don’t see you for a night or a weekend and if they don’t, then you need to get rid of them because that’s not healthy.

6. DO get to know your RA. Your RA is not out to get you. Remember, they’re students too, and writing you up just means hours of unwanted paperwork for them on a Saturday night. They hate doing it but they will if they have to, because it’s their job, and because they want you to be safe. Which brings me to my next point –

7. Don’t do stupid things. You cannot get away with anything. I know that you get away with a lot, now that you are out of your house and on your own. Yes, you can get away with staying up all night. Yes, you’re allowed to walk around campus whenever you want. But no, you can’t break the rules. No, you’re not invisible. I’ve seen the stupidest things done – I’ve seen students get caught for smoking weed with their dorm room door open. Seriously? What makes people think they can do that? Remember your morals. Keep in mind that college is not a guarantee and you very well can get kicked out of school. Don’t be dumb!

8. DO ask for help. I really mean this. If you are struggling with homesickness, depression, if you can’t sleep, if you are having trouble finding a good study habit, if you find yourself experimenting with substances, if you got too drunk one night and scared yourself, if you’re just not feeling like yourself ….find help and ask for help. Talk to your RA, go to health services, talk to a faculty member. If you have no idea who to go to, e-mail me and I will help navigate you to the right person -> gabbriel.simone@gmail.com

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You Only Give ONE First Impression, Don’t Screw It Up

Closeup portrait of a group of business people laughingIt’s true that most people will judge you within the first second of meeting you and their opinion will most likely never change. You can form a good or bad reputation in the first weekend of college. People will form opinions about you even without meeting you. My first weekend of college I had formed opinions about people just based on observing the way they acted and also based on what other people said about them. It didn’t matter what happened over the next 4 years, because when I saw those people at graduation, I still remembered the first impression I had of them. It’s human nature to form an opinion about someone. Do a little experiment today, make an effort to meet someone new. As you meet them, be conscious of the observations you make about them. Are they speaking clearly, are they fidgeting, are they rambling on, are they making eye contact with you? Then as you leave, think about the opinion you formed of them. Is it a good one? Why? What kinds of things did they do that impressed you? Takes that impressed you and keep them in your back pocket, pull them out when it’s time for you to meet someone new.

Making a good first impression is incredibly important, because you only get one shot at it.  So how do you make sure that people are judging you accurately? Not just new friends but your professors, teaching assistants, graduate assistants, RA’s, administrators, corporate recruiters who come to campus, upper classman, everyone that you meet will form a first impression about you. Here is my best piece of advice for you to make sure you give the BEST first impression:

Know your purpose and your intention when meeting someone. One of the most important things to do when approaching someone is knowing why you are meeting them. It may sound odd but it will make you come across more confident and keep you in charge of the conversation. Think about it, if you see a professor and just walk up to them thinking, “oh man, here’s a professor, I should meet them so they know me, I hope I don’t screw up, I’m really nervous,” you’re going to go up to them, put out your hand and said, “Hi I’m Gabby” and then they’ll say “Hi I’m professor ‘whoever’ it’s nice to meet you.” Then after a few seconds of awkward silence, you’ll smile and fidget and maybe say something that doesn’t make sense and then walk away having achieved nothing. First impression – fail! So instead what you should do is think about your purpose. Think, “I am going to go up to the professor to introduce myself and let him know that I am excited about the first semester. I am going to keep it quick, I will remember to smile, I am going to speak clearly….now take a deep breath and stand up straight.” As I walk over I know exactly what I am going to do and exactly what I am going to say and I have just taken a deep breath so I am feeling good and I am feeling confident. I walk up to the professor, put out my hand and say “Hi Professor ‘whoever’ my name is Gabby. I wanted to take a minute to introduce myself and let you know that I’m really looking forward to this semester [smile].” He may then say something as simple as “great it’s nice to meet you” and then you can say “You too, have a good day, I’ll see you next class.” Bing, Bang, Boom. Great first impression – success! Simply because I had a plan. It was much better than the smile and stare and awkward shuffling of paper as I walk away looking like an idiot. Having a plan or an introduction in mind will help you for every conversation you have and it will, without a doubt, help  you master the first impression.

Nobody Likes That Couple

Have you met the love of your life at college and enjoy spending every living, breathing moment with them?  Yea, now is the time to stop doing that.  If you’re that couple and you’ve started to notice that none of your friends like hanging out with you or your significant other it’s time to take a hint.  Life without great friends is like life without coffee (I personally can’t function without coffee, if I don’t have a cup first thing in the morning I might as well dig a hole and jump in ’cause the day is going nowhere).  Anywho… boyfriends and girlfriends are great (when you find the perfect one, life makes more sense) but friend’s are a necessity so don’t be the person who forgets that because it’s common knowledge that nobody likes that couple.

Balance | Individuality | With | Love

{Gab}

Tattoos

Tattoos are permanent.  Be very certain that you want one before you get one.  Be very certain that you are 100% sober when you get one and that the a tattoo of your roommates face across your back is REALLY want you want.  Also, relationships in college get hot and heavy a lot faster than ones in high school.  That excitement and intensity doesn’t mean that you are madly in love, therefore it is also not a bright idea to get your significant others name tattooed on your body.

ink | for | ev | er

{GMS}

Dating

Now is the time to date!  When will you ever been in an environment where you are surrounded by thousands of guys and girls who are all around the same age as you.  I know it’s hard to actually date in college and yes I am talking about old fashion, just you and him or you and her sitting together, without cell phones, and talking to each other, getting to know each other.  Now is the time!  Don’t feel like every conversation with a guy or girl has to turn into a relationship.  The truth is… it won’t BUT it may or at the least it will get you closer to learning what type of person you want to be with.  There are LOTS of fish in the sea you’re in right now.  (Some sharks, some clams, some yucky seeweed too so be careful).

 

Falling In Love at College

You are meeting all kinds of people are school now.  Has someone swept you off your feet?  Is there a girl or guy that you can’t keep your eyes off of?  Have you told yourself to ‘snap out of it’ because ‘this is college, the time to explore, not the time to get caught up in relationships’??  Love happens at times that we don’t always plan for.  Don’t be afraid to fall in love.  Let it happen.  When it happens, don’t fight it.  Enjoy it, celebrate it, make it work, but don’t let it define you or your college experience.  Many people meet their spouse during their college years.  Do not look for it but if you’re lucky enough to have it fall in your lap… let love happen.

{GMS}

Classmates

Everyone has something to teach you.  Embrace the differences in your classmates.  Always ask yourself, “what can I learn from this person.”  Remember, it’s not always what you know but who you know.  Everyone know’s someone.  That guy/girl you don’t really like (for no reason) may have a parent or family member who could play an important role in your career and your future.  Don’t mess that up.

{gab}