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Eight Tips for Incoming Freshmen from a Seasoned CU Vet

So, you’ve just started school at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Congrats! You’re in for the best four (or maybe more) years of your life, which you’re likely to have trouble remembering. Here are eight tips from a current CU senior to help you new Buffs out as you navigate CU:

1) Dealing with your Roommate:

Try not to worry too much about having a “bad roommate.” Statistically speaking, it’s very unlikely that they’ll be a psycho serial killer. Just be respectful to them and chances are they’ll return the favor. Don’t leave a mess in your room, and don’t blast your music all night long (especially if your music is dubstep). Chances are, your roommate will do some things that annoy you and vice versa. When I was a freshman, I had a roommate who snored and often made strange noises akin to a whining dog while he slept (the noises still haunt me to this day) but hey, I got over it. Sleeping with headphones on didn’t hurt either. Four years later, my freshman roommate and I are still close friends, which proves that if you can manage not to kill each other, being stuck with a roommate can lead to a long friendship.

2) Major Stress:

Most freshmen have no clue what their major will be when they first enter college and of those that have decided, many end up changing theirs after a semester or two. So if you switch from Advanced Astrophysics to Advanced Pottery, it’s no big deal as long as that’s what makes you happy. Once you get out of school, you’ll find that many employers don’t actually care all that much about what you majored in in college, so don’t feel like you’re completely determining your future career (or future unemployment) based on what major you choose.

3) Socializing (Outside of the Internet):

If you’re looking to make friends when you first move into your dorm, I highly suggest that you leave your door open, at least most of the time. People in your hall will walk by and assume that you’re open to talk. BOOM! Friends! Pretty much everyone is looking to meet new people in the beginning of college, so don’t be shy. Now is the time in your life to explore and try new things, so get out there. Join clubs, and if you want, join a frat or sorority. If you don’t feel like going Greek, don’t worry about not having a social life. I personally never joined one (boat shoes and pink polo shirts just aren’t my thing) and I had no trouble finding social activities to get into. People in general, especially at this age, are much friendlier than you might think.

4) Young Love:

College is the time to experiment and see what you want in a relationship. Should you date the stoner chick? The emo kid? Your TA? Your right hand? The choices are endless, and only by getting out there and trying new things (and people) will you find what you truly want in a partner (or partners). If you’re inspired by Daft Punk and do manage to “get lucky,” here’s some advice: please don’t put a hat or sock over your doorknob. Do you really want every single person in your hall to know exactly what you’re up to? If your roommate isn’t around, just send them a courtesy text and lock your door. If your roommate IS around, just tell them that you need some “alone time” and trust me, they’ll get right out of your hair. Unless, of course, they have a fetish for extremely awkward situations.

5) Have Some Class:

Education is the real reason you, or your parents, are paying so much for you to attend to the university, so why not receive some? The number one way to do poorly in your classes is by not attending them. Believe me, I know it’s tough to get out of bed and head to a lecture on sedimentary rocks at eight in the morning, especially with a hangover, but once you start missing class you can easily fall behind and catching up will be a major struggle. When you do go to class, make sure to take LOTS of notes. Getting a friend from class to give you their notes simply doesn’t work. The act of listening attentively and writing down what you hear is what really gets the information, and it’s going to be A LOT of information, to stick.

6) Professors Don’t Bite:

Get to know your professors! You might think that a professor will be annoyed if you ask lots of questions, email them frequently, and attend all of their walk-in hours, but that’s simply not the case. Unless they explicitly tell you, “You annoy me and I hate you,” chances are they don’t. Most of the professors at CU love what they do and want to see all of their students succeed. Plus, most of them are at the top of their respective fields and what person wouldn’t enjoy blathering on about something that they’re really, really good at? By seeing your professors often and outside of class they’ll be sure to remember you and will give you the help and guidance you need to succeed in their courses.

7) CU (Cannabis University):

Unless you’re from Mars, or maybe Utah, you know that Colorado recently passed amendment 64, officially legalizing marijuana. If Colorado is the Holy Land of smoking weed, than Boulder is Mecca. Smoking weed can be a great way to relax and relieve stress (and it also has the magical power of turning crappy movies into films of comedic genius) but just remember that it’s not for everyone. If you smoke, have some respect for those who don’t. And if you don’t smoke, then you’re probably wondering why jam bands are so popular. For those of you freshmen who DO smoke, here’s a tip that I learned the hard way: Don’t smoke in your dorm room! You’re not as sneaky as you think, and the weed in Boulder is just way too chronic to hide. Back when I was a freshman, we used to put a towel under the doorway, turn on a fan, open our window and blow the smoke out of it through a “spoof” before dousing the room with Febreze. We STILL managed to stink up the whole hall, and ended up getting written up multiple times by our RAs and receiving MIPS.

8) Where’s the Party at?

Not only does CU have top honors in engineering and molecular physics, it also has top honors in getting wasted. Even Playboy Magazine, one of the most highly esteemed periodicals in the world, ranked us as the number one party school in America only two short years ago. For most of you freshmen, this is your first time living on your own without the guidance (nagging) of your parents, so there’s going to be a lot of temptation to just party like it’s your job. Drinking and partying can be a lot of fun, but they’re best done in moderation. Just remember: If you can’t remember most of your freshman year, then you probably won’t make it to sophomore year.

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