You think that being a freshman would be easier the second time around. For once, you have a variety of things going for you: you are older and wiser, most likely having left the horrors of braces and acne behind for good. The people around you are there because they actually want to be (well, either that or Daddy forced them). “Yeah,” you tell yourself, “This definitely will not be as awkward and unforgiving as freshman year of high school.”
Open on day four, where I am sitting on the lawn next to the church studying under the rarely blue and sunny San Francisco skies. After a while I get up and start to wander over to the caf. About ten feet away from the fancy cobblestone, I hear a click and then – cue laughter from what felt like the entire campus – I receive my share of water from the sprinklers. Of course, I had to slip and fall so now I am thoroughly soaked and lacking dry clothes or a shred of dignity. Many awkward looks and an embarrassing elevator ride later, I was dry, late for class and fully equipped with my first college lesson: know your surroundings.
With one humiliation down, I figured the moment had come for more at the freshman ice cream social, where you make your own ice cream (did not happen) and socialize (even farther from happening) while watching Zombieland (the one piece of the plan that did occur). My roommate and I sit in an armchair, snacking up a storm, when all of a sudden someone walks up to us and starts talking. We sit stunned, while the relatively cute RA asks us about our lives. He asks for one of our oreos and leaves, promising we would talk later. “Talking later” turned out to be coming back to ask for more oreos. To this day, neither of us have talked to him since, even though we have both seen him multiple times. Lesson number two: beware of insincere moochers, especially the cute ones with glasses.
Copious amounts of smaller issues cluttered the rest of my first three weeks, so acting as a typical college student, I took to Facebook to vent my frustrations. One of my latest statuses read out: “Dear room across the hall, no matter how loud you blast Avril, she’s still going to sound like a dying squirrel. So why don’t you turn her down and put on someone who has even a little artistic talent.” In the publication of that relatively overbearing comment, I stumbled upon one of the most important and cliché lessons any college could teach me: never forget who your (Facebook) friends are.
In all seriousness, my main standby for these three weeks has been the people who keep checking in on me. In my not-so-vast experience as a college freshman, I have learned that the old ties keep you sane and grounded in a new world. I have also learned the value of hope and the dangerous wonder of freedom through experiences only a college student can have. So here’s to the new life: praying the shower drain next to you isn’t clogged up, hoping to God the café is open after the night class lets out late, looking like you have diagnosed issues on the Muni just to make sure you get off at the right stop and always looking for sprinkler heads like mines in a field.
Sarah Hulsman is a freshman Media Studies major
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