Attention: Class of 2013
Class of 2013, we know you're already reading this. You're excited, nervous, antsy, scared, and curious. You're freshmen. To help you navigate your first few weeks, here are a few pointers. It's long, but live with it. It's free advice. Get smart. Read the New York Times or some other reputable news source daily. Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, whatever... learn to be an informed human being. Professors will expect this from you, and general campus conversation will demand it. Bonus points for Real Clear Politics, which pulls the best editorial and opinion content (from both sides) daily. Or even better, start using Google Reader.
Big fish in a little sea. So you were a hotshot at your hometown high school. If you started a company, were student body president, or directed a Broadway play at the age of 6-- that is awesome and you clearly have your stuff together, but it can easily rub your new peers the wrong way. Be proud of your accomplishments, but leave them behind in Akron/Modesto/Westchester. We were all pretty impressive during high school, otherwise we wouldn't be at CMC. Use those experiences; don't talk about them. You'll be more productive and probably even have more friends.
Love your WOA trip. I met my best friend and she met her boyfriend on our trip to Yosemite. If you attend a WOA trip (some don't), this an automatic set of friends for you doing your first few weeks. You're not bound to this group of people (like Pomona students are to their Sponsor Groups), but it's a nice safety net. While you're hiking, canoeing, or playing beirut (with water, of course), just remember that first impressions make all the difference.
Free T-shirt Week. Otherwise known as Orientation Week and Dry Week. The aforementioned best friend and I made it our goal to collect as many free t-shirts as possible during this week. With all the budget cuts at CMC, the swag-factor may be slightly reduced at these events, but get ready to expand your t-shirt collection by at least 25 percent. To round out the week, there's 6:01-- the party to celebrate the precise end of Dry Week. It really is as glorious as everyone says it is.
Overachievers anonymous. There's a club fair in early September where all the clubs and organizations will try to convince you to join their cause. The greatest part is not how many clubs there are --but the opportunity for leadership positions. A sophomore can be the Editor-in-Chief of a publication. A freshman can be a delegate to a national environmental conference. Get involved and stay committed, your resume will thank you.
Chill out with the Target runs. You really don't need that much stuff at school. Every superstore -- and your mother -- will be trying to get you to buy dorm room stuff that you don't need. Think about it this way when you're standing in line with two shopping carts full of stuff: the hottest weeks of the year are during move-in and move-out. Do you really need that striped area rug that matches your bedspread?
What you guys should most look forward to is that you won't be treated like the scum-of-the-earth freshmen that you are. When I started at CMC, I was terrified to venture out to the Senior Apartments during my first week, but the upperclassmen were overwhelmingly friendly and welcoming. It is our duty to spread goodwill and pay it forward to you guys. Good luck!