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Commentary: 10 things not to do as a college freshman

I can’t believe how much time has passed since I moved into my dorm freshman year. Arriving at Ohio State is a memory I’ll never forget, along with the limitless feeling of a fresh start in a new place. If you are about to start your journey at OSU, welcome to everything you ever thought it would be and more. I’ve made a list of all the mistakes I made, or witnessed being made by friends, during the first few weeks of my freshman year. Chances are that you will read through this list and do them all anyway, but you can’t say no one warned you.

If you aren’t a freshman, take a moment to laugh about all the dumb things you did your freshman year. All the mistakes you made, and all the things you would never take back. Take some time to remember who you were when you came to OSU, and how much you have changed since then, and pause for a moment to be jealous of everyone who gets the opportunity to start that journey now.

Because there really is nothing quite like being a college freshman.

1) Don’t be a brat – Moving in can be stressful, and it’s hard on everyone. Don’t be that kid that screams at your parents in front of your new dorm with all your new potential friends standing around and watching. You don’t want to start off on the wrong foot with anyone, so don’t give your new roomies the impression that you’re hard to get along with. Keeping your cool will save you from a negative first impression, and be nice to your parents — it’s not easy for them either.

2) Introduce yourself, but not to everyone – My freshman year, I remember walking around my whole floor with my roommates and we introduced ourselves to every single person we came across … all 50 of them. Don’t get me wrong, being friendly is never a bad thing, but there is no chance you’ll remember everyone’s name. You won’t remember half of them. Go around and meet the people who live in the few rooms around you. Those will likely be your closest friends on the floor, and the people you’ll see the most.

3) Don’t hook up right away – The worst thing you can do is hook up with the guy/girl across the hall during the first weekend. Not only do you have to see them every awkward day for the rest of the year, it also puts a damper on any friendship you could have had. If it ends badly, you don’t want to be seen as the kid who starts floor drama before it’s even midterm season. If it’s not someone across the hall, it’ll be someone you just so happen to have every class with. It’s a less than one in 50,000 chance, but the world has a way of doing that.

4) Avoid Floormances – Similar to No. 3, it’s crucial that you avoid the floormance. You don’t want to be dating or in a relationship with someone on your floor. You end up spending too much time together and not enough time making new friends. Floormances happen, and often, but please try to wait until second semester. Who wants to live next door to their ex-boyfriend anyway?

5) Don’t boast –There are always those freshmen who say they’ve been partying since middle school, have a ton of older friends and can drink anyone under the table. Don’t be that freshman. People might be slightly impressed for that first week, but trust me when I say it will fade.

6) Don’t leave before the sun does – You’ll learn this soon enough, but it might take a rough weekend or two. College parties do not start at 8 p.m., no one leaves their apartments until roughly midnight on the weekends, and neither should you. If you’re walking down High Street all dressed up at 8 or 9 p.m., you aren’t going to find anywhere to go.

7) They don’t call it a “plus 10” for a reason – Everyone will want to go out together their first weekend. You’ll want to go out and party with your roommates, your new friends across the hall, your friends a floor under and above you, and your friends’ friends. The idea of a ton of new friends might seem so reassuring after being thrown into a world where you might only know a few people, if anyone. Banding together seems like a good idea because no one is sure exactly what they’re doing, but you’ll find better luck in small groups. Walking into a party, if someone at the door asks how many people are with you, and you say 15, the odds are not in your favor. A smaller crowd will lead to more success and less stress. Let’s face it, keeping track of that many people sounds like more work than it’s worth anyway.

8) Don’t overdress – Dress for the occasion. It’s OK to want to look your best, but would you have worn a club dress to go casually hang out at someone’s house in high school? Probably not. Your friend’s apartment isn’t Charlie Bear, know when to just wear some cute jeans.

9) Beware of Instafriends – Making friends immediately at college is the best feeling in the world. If you’re anything like me, you hadn’t really had to make any new friends in years. When I got to college, I was seriously concerned I didn’t know how to make friends at all. That’s why when you make a friend immediately, you feel on top of the world. Be careful – just because you instantly click doesn’t mean you’ll be BFFs forever. Don’t let yourself get too attached to someone during Welcome Week, and then miss out on hanging out with different people. Don’t limit yourself.

10) Don’t be that roommate – Don’t be the person who talks about their roommates behind their backs, or to other people on the floor. It will get back to them. Have a problem with someone? Talk it out face-to-face. College is about growing up, so have a real conversation. Living with other people isn’t easy, but being passive aggressive isn’t going to fix that.

So that’s my advice. Take it or leave it, or disagree with it all together. Either way, welcome to OSU. You’re going to love it here.


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