I’m the kind of person who usually veers away from advice. Be it as straightforward as bringing a coat because it’s cold/umbrella because it’s raining/[insert necessary object] because [insert natural disaster], as monumental as choosing a college, or as obvious as not taking and later eating an entire FFC to-go box full of cake, a decision only half-filled with regret, I typically ignore outside opinions and just go with the flow of my own ideas. Call it self-sufficiency or call it stubbornness, you can even “call it maybe” if that’s more your style, I figured that it would be hypocritical for me to write a blog of advice for the Class of 2016 without first mentioning my own disdain towards the simplest suggestion. I only say this because, despite whatever advice I can give you, I trust that you’re all capable of getting through the admittedly tough first few weeks of college. Part of college is making mistakes, maybe sometimes more than we’d like, but it’s inadvertently there. SO, all that being said, here’s some advice! Take it with a grain of salt or a lump of pepper (said no one, ever. Antonyms are hard.) but basically I invite you to read my tips for what’s to come while also reminding you that all will be fine!
- Pack lightly. I came to Baltimore with a total of 5 bags between myself and my parents. So imagine my surprise when, sans parents helping me to move out, I couldn’t fit everything I had brought and acquired at school into the 2 bags I could check at the airport! Clearly I’m not a math major. Long story short, think ahead! Everything you take to school will need to come back/be moved somewhere at the end of the year. If your parents will come and help you move out, go crazy! Bring a U-Haul truck! (Just kidding, my sister’s freshman roommate actually did this. It’s a little excessive if you ask me). Otherwise, do you really need that sweatshirt that you haven’t worn since middle school or that book that you don’t plan on opening? (Spoiler alert: no).
- Breathe. Your parents might be kind of sad about you leaving for college, so try to make some of your last moments under their wings as stress-free and relaxed as possible. Example: it made my mom much more at ease to buy me things like shampoo, food, and disinfectant Clorox things (I really don’t know…) in inordinate multiples. As a quasi-minimalist, this seemed rather unnecessary, especially at the time foreseeing the potential results to come from aforementioned rule #1. However, I let her continue, even if it meant biting my tongue, in order to make move-in easier on us all. You’ll be in a compact room with your family, your roommate, and your roommate’s family, attempting to move furniture, set up Wi-Fi, and put everything in its place. It will make it easier on all of you if you just remember to breathe and carry on. Make this time with your family as stress-free and enjoyable as possible because pretty soon, you’ll be own your own.
- Leave your room! So you’ve set up your dorm to perfection and your parents are gone; now what? Go somewhere else! Sure it’s nice to relax in your room after a day of Orientation events, but you’ll have plenty of leftover time, and it doesn’t hurt to hang out in your common room or knock on some doors and say hi. I remember reading JHU_Sydney’s tips before move-in and one in particular stuck with me: Skype is your friend (keep in touch with those from home) but also your enemy (don’t stay in your room all day and neglect the new friends to be made around you).
- #YOOO, also known as “you only Orientation once.” I really wish I had gone to more events, as there are a lot to choose from. There’s really no harm in at least checking out an event; if it’s boring, you can always leave, but who knows, you might also meet a best friend. Go out of your comfort zone and meet new people, the easiest way, of course, being to make the most out of Orientation.
- Find your classes…actually. I walked around campus with people from my floor a few days before classes started to find where certain buildings were, but didn’t take the time to figure how exactly to get to each building. Don’t be that kid who leaves Gilman looking for Olin Hall, a fairly simple endeavor, ends up at Bloomberg, and then finally finds Olin, walking into his Intro GECS class 10 minutes late. Was this me on my first day of classes, you may ask? I’ll let the emotional trauma that I feel while typing this answer that question for you. If you’re not directionally-challenged like myself, I envy you, but if the thought of a map gives you anxiety, there will be plenty of time to find your classes beforehand, so do so thoughtfully!
So where does this leave us? Hopefully less worried, but who knows, I may have just increased your stress tenfold. Basically I would say to make the most out of the experience, be smart, maybe even be reckless, but really just to take everything one step at a time. Before you know it, move-in and Orientation will all be things of the past, and Hopkins will be — you guessed it — home.
As for me, I’ll be winding down my summer as I prepare to head back to Hopkins in a few days, which basically just means spending time with family and 24/7 eating, often times concurrently. No complaints. In exciting news, this blog represents my last post on the shared Class of 2015 blog. But no need to fear! You can keep in touch with me and my fellow SAAB sophomores as we move on to our own blogs in anticipation of a whole new class of SAAB freshmen taking our place. Woot! To anyone who has read my blogs this year, I hope that they’ve provided you with some kind of insight, knowledge, solace, or maybe even a laugh here and there. I look forward to blogging next time from my very own blog, and as I cope with the disbelief that I’m no longer a freshman, I hope that you’ll continue to join me as I move on to three more great years at Hopkins. Until then, take care!