By Lauren Risinger
I’ve spent 3 ½ years here at WKU (whoo for dual credit classes in high school), so I’ve had my fair share of learning experiences. Here are a few of the good ones that I tell to every incoming freshman (or sophomore or junior- if you don’t know these by now you really need to) if I get the chance.
- Don’t underestimate Parking and Transportation… Those guys are hawks.
One time I parked on campus at one of the meters and when I was walking back to my car, I saw a parking official WAITING by my car chomping at the bits to stick a big fat ticket on my windshield. It had about 2 minutes left on it. I proudly opened my door and watched him stomp back to his little patrol Gator. Like really? Do you have a quota to meet or something? So- don’t park somewhere you’re not supposed to unless you’re ready to pay the fine! They can be pretty pricy (I’ve paid for two), so just obey the parking map and you’ll be golden.
- Have an open mind.
College is a culture shock. You’re going to be exposed to so many new things and new people that it will make you step back and see how big the world really is and how little you are in comparison. Stay true to your roots, but be adventurous! Explore and learn things that people back home may never get the chance to experience. Jump out on a limb! Not literally. But get out of your comfort zone. It will give you the chance to really develop who you are as an individual.
- Fresh is going to get old, trust me.
“NO! But their pizza is soooooo good!” I know… I thought the same thing. Then you move off campus, start making your own food, discover more *cough- BETTER* places to eat, and realize that the cafeteria isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Plus- $8 to get in without a meal plan? Heck to the no.
- Stop hitting snooze and go to class.
Oh, your college buddy told you that they don’t take attendance in college so you could skip whenever you wanted without the principal calling your parents like in high school? Well, they’re partially right. BUT- you’re paying to be here. You’re not paying over 8 grand a semester to catch Z’s, pal. I hate to break it to you, but you’re actually supposed to learn something in college in order to earn that piece of paper at graduation and make a living one day.
- Let your parents be parents.
Put yourself in their shoes: Your kid is moving to a new place on their own, is now responsible for how they spend their money, putting food in the tummies, and taking themselves places. They aren’t going to notify you or ask permission to leave their dorms to go somewhere. They don’t have you at their fingertips to protect them from life’s dangers. You have to trust them to make smart decisions.
Now with that said, I suggest you give your parents a big hug or a call if they aren’t on hand because if you don’t think they’re flipping out realizing all that, you’re totally wrong. So when they help you move in to your dorm or apartment, let them make awkward conversations with your roommate(s). Let them help decorate. Let them buy you dinner before they head back home with one less passenger. Never underestimate the value of a care package. Call them every once in a while to check in and tell them how classes are going or how your calves hurt so much from walking the Hill back and forth every day. This whole college things isn’t just new for you, it’s new for them too.
- Have fun.
You only get this experience for a few years. Cherish the friends you make, all the laughs, the spontaneous trips to Cookout, the homecoming football games, meeting new faces, the beautiful views from atop the Hill, student discounts, and the all-nighter study sessions (totally joking on that one). Enjoy it while you can, because senior year will be here before you know it.