Maybe You Shouldn’t Facebook Friend Everyone You Meet and Other Tips For Starting Undergrad

Mark Gimelstein's parents wait for him to come with the key after they got help from the orientation leaders unloading the car. The freshman is from Long Island, New York. First year and transfer students move into dorms at Brandeis University, on Sunday, August 25, 2013.
Mark Gimelstein's parents wait for him to come with the key after they got help from the orientation leaders unloading the car. The freshman is from Long Island, New York. First year and transfer students move into dorms at Brandeis University, on Sunday, August 25, 2013. –PAT GREENHOUSE/ THE BOSTON GLOBE

You went from the top of the totem pole just a few months ago in high school to a position with far less clout. As a college freshman the campus seems huge overwhelming. Don’t fret. Follow these tips and don’t make the same mistakes we did.

Justine Hofherr: If you never drank in high school, your first week at college is probably not the best time to start. If someone hands you a “double’’ shot glass, you should say, “Hey, maybe do you have a regular-sized one?’’ instead of downing copious amounts of vodka. (None, since you aren’t 21, right?!) Don’t get the cliche Audrey Hepburn//beach scene//Hangover 2//beer pong poster. When have you actually watched an Audrey Hepburn movie? This isn’t high school. Going to class and paying attention is cool. No one likes that girl who sleeps all day and then asks for their Geology 100 notes.


Joe Allen-Black: If you think you’re gay, and you want to make sure, don’t try out a faux girlfriend who is friend of a close friend. It might seem like a good idea to not go to class for several weeks so you can make out with a cute boy who has that period off. Don’t skip class that much in a row. You’ll end up having to take the class your last semester and cry because the cute isn’t around or at least isn’t cute anymore. You’re better than Ramen noodles. It is worth investing time in finding the person who doesn’t flush on your dorm floor and publicly chastising him at a floor meeting. Do it sooner rather than later. Get the full meal plan. Don’t turn it into flex cash. You don’t have the ability to budget yet. That’s OK. Just keep the meal plan so you don’t starve. Don’t think you can NOT get the book that goes with your class. You do need it. And, if you don’t get it, no professor will ever help you during office hours when you struggle.


Eric Levenson: Don’t Facebook ‘friend’ everyone you meet that first week. Come two months into school you’ll have no idea who the hell is taking over your news feed. Do try to become friends with everyone you meet for the first week.

Alex Riccardi: Don’t be shy. Meet everyone you can because they could turn into your best friend. If you have big lecture classes don’t be afraid to sit in the front. Go to your school’s activities fair and get involved. Always keep Gatorade and Advil in your room for weekend hangovers. Go to class even if attendance isn’t mandatory. You should not drink alcohol out of: bathtubs, trash cans, buckets, plastic flamingos, a frat guy’s solo cup, or anything else that wasn’t sealed.

Chad Finn: Well, considering my prime graduation gift from high school was a word processor (look it up on your fancy iPads, kids), let’s just say my freshman year at Maine was a few sunrises ago. Hey, it has been awhile. The memories are hazy. But I know this to be true: give it all a genuine chance. Your seemingly weird new roommate, that class with the 14-page syllabus, that new city that may be far from home. Give it all a real chance before you decide something has to change. Everyone — everyone — is overwhelmed and lonely for a while. But if you do it right, you’ll be loving it within the semester, once you find those bearings and like-minded friends. Take it from someone who had 0.9375 GPA in his first semester (didn’t make the Dean’s List, FYI), went home every weekend … and ended up having five wonderful years. Yep — even stayed an extra year. You will find those friends.


Megan Turchi: Don’t just think “all orientation activities are lame’’ because your new roommate said they are lame. If you want to go to the acapella concert outside on the quad, go! If you want to go to the first chess club meeting, get on that! If you really want to do that orientation duck tour, get your fanny pack and do it! Don’t think things are lame, beginning of the school year events are a great way to make new friends and meet people outside of your classes and dorm room.

Josh Gee: If you’re going to college near where you grew up, don’t go home as an excuse to avoid making friends because it’s scary. Go home to do laundry. Wearing a tie is a high risk, high reward move. You’re probably not ready. Stealing food from the dining hall feels fun, but then you have a whole pie in your room and no idea what to do with it. There is no variety of Axe body spray that actually smells good. With great power comes great responsibility. Just because you can eat French fries with every meal doesn’t mean you should. For God’s sake, wash your sheets.

Angela Nelson: Call your parents. They’re worried about you. You will know from the first week if you and your roomie are suitable roommates. If you’re not, be prepared for a rough year or be ready to go to Housing and lobby for a new arrangement. Introduce yourself to and exchange numbers with as many people as possible – that first week can be lonely.

Roberto Scalese: You don’t need to bring everything. Whatever it is that’s got you buying an extra suitcase, leave it at home. The whole point of having parents is you can leave everything you don’t want to throw away at home.

Hannah Sparks: Don’t show up with all of your books on the first day of class. Especially not while wearing your orientation lanyard around your neck. You can keep your keys on the lanyard (it’s really quite handy), but please, hide it. Be wary of wearing your best shoes to a frat party. Play it safe until you’ve gauged the amount of beer and basement sludge your footwear will be submerged. (But do not, I repeat, do not, wear flip flops.) Hang out with people other than your floormates, especially if your floormates are jerks. On a similar note, try to avoid crushes/romantic entanglements/hook ups with your next-door neighbor. At least for the first week.

Adrienne Debigare: Go shot-for-shot of Crown Royal with someone well over 21. Drink a bottle of vodka with 2 friends in 15 minutes. Mix everclear into your jungle juice. [Editor’s Note: No, don’t.]

Emily Wright: Don’t spend money on going out to eat, because you can get good food on campus and then have money left for shopping. #foodaintimportant

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