Mistakes not to make

Emily Schnipke, Editor-in-chief

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Going off to college can create the best, and or worst, times of your life. It’s filled with fun experiences, amazing people and, even better, lots of free food and t-shirts. There is so much excitement to be had, but it’s hard to tell what not to do and what you should do. Here’s a few tried-and-true tips from me, a senior who survived their freshman year with all limbs attached.

Living in the dorms is a college experience you shouldn’t miss out on. Some students live in Toledo and living on campus doesn’t make much financial sense for them. Being a commuter freshman year forces you to work much harder to become connected to the university. Living in the dorm gives you an automatic connection with your roommates — even if you don’t become the best of friends — and an appreciation for UToledo itself every time you set foot outside of your dorm. Students who try to use the loophole of living within the 25-mile radius to live in an apartment off-campus with their friends miss out on meeting new people just by living with them. It’s harder in President’s and the Ottawa, but go out and meet people in your dorm. The suite style of dorms is hard to have an open doorway of living, but it’s worth it to make more friends outside of your room. Go to those floor meetings and the events hosted by your RA. Make more friends.

Going out and having fun is an important facet of college life. But don’t forget as to why you are here. You’re here at college to go to school and learn. Also, you pay for each and every one of your classes. Don’t waste your time and money by not studying enough and not learning while you’re there. Remember earning a tough degree requires a lot of tough work. You can have a great time and get good grades, but don’t do things that you’ll regret. Go to class and learn something. Don’t get arrested, take drugs, or do anything that will interfere with your ability to succeed. You have the potential to do great things with your life. Don’t mess it up with something that made one night in college “awesome.”

This next tip seems trivial, but for many is pretty intimidating and can be the worst thing on the planet. Talk to the people you sit next to in class. Get their phone numbers. Add them as friends on Facebook. What?! You want many me to make friends?! Yes! When it becomes that time for an exam review or homework assignment you missed because you weren’t there, it makes a difference to have a friend in your class. They can fill you in and provide a much needed ally for group projects.

Don’t take that 8 am or even 9 am lecture. Nothing is worth trekking across campus in two feet of snow in the middle of December. The first time you fall down crossing the ice covered railroad tracks is just as bad as the fourth time. Also, if you shower in the morning, welcome to icicle hair.

One of the most common things I hear when people tell me about why they dropped out of UT or switched to another college is that they didn’t connect with Toledo. I can’t believe them. There is so much to do here. I would know; I’ve lived here for three years already. Toledo is more than the UT campus. As a freshman, make a friend who is a commuter or keeps their car near campus. On Fridays when most students don’t have class, don’t just go to the mall. Drive downtown. Visit the shops and pretentious coffee places. Go to a Mud Hens or Walleye game. Get pancakes from Uncle John’s Pancake House. Go for a bike ride in Wildwoods Metropark. If you don’t know what’s out there, it’ll make it harder to want to stay. I love Toledo, the Glass City. Be proud of where you go to school. By connecting with your city, you can find fun, happiness, and even a future place to live.

The best part about college is finding yourself. Take that class on social justice, photography, international business, or story writing just because you want to. Go to poetry night, frat parties, dance marathons, and that lame movie your RA is setting up for your dorm floor. It took me a little bit to find out who I wanted to be at college. I became more confident in my abilities and who I am as a person. I’m not the same Emily that entered college and that is the best part about college. Growing up is very important and you get that by falling down and picking yourself back up. Now is the time to decide what you like without the judgemental eyes of your parents and best friends from high school. Go join the science club even if you’re majoring in English. Who cares? No one, because everyone is finding him or herself, just like you.

No one will ever have the exact same college experience as you. Many of us go through similar situations, but only you can work your way through it. Going to college is a life-changing moment, but it is just that: a moment in your life. You can pick and choose what you do while you’re here, but you have to choose how this time defines you.

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Mistakes not to make