Unofficial Orientation 2018: What I Wish I Knew

You’ve spent the last month with us reading about what to pack, what to think about when choosing classes, and of course, following the journey of the interesting ways Wesleyan operates. I remember when I was a pre-frosh, stalking every Wesleying article I could get my mouse on, and trying to piece together what my first semester would look like. I was right on a few things, but I was definitely unprepared with a few, err, a lot of this.

Sdz started a post last year called “Things I Wish I Knew as a First Year,” which was featured after Unofficial Orientation, and we’ve decided to fully integrate it into the series. We’ve been in your shoes, and want to help you by telling you our very, very wise wisdom that we can embark on you.

The advice in this column was anonymously sent into Wesleying’s TipBox by many wonderful members of Wesleyan’s community. Take a deep breath, get off of Instagram, and take a minute to read it.

Note: the ones in bold are new additions from this year. 

  1. “The extra money I can potentially make working extra hours each week is not worth the sacrifice, whether that be my studies, my social life, or even my health. An extra $300 seems like it matters now, but to risk ruining my GPA (and therefore career, in a sense) isn’t worth it.”
  2. You do NOT have to be best friends with your roommate – you just have to live together in a healthy way! If you’re not getting along and you have a bad roommate, GET OUT!! It’s worth the time and energy it takes to get somewhere happy and healthy. Also – don’t be afraid to push yourself to do new things. Talk to someone in line or join a club that you don’t know anyone in, try out things! It’s the perfect time to experiment and branch out. And finally, don’t be scared :) college is so wonderful and Wesleyan is a truly great place to be.
  3. “Walking into campus, I immediately felt the pressure to pick two sides: be completely political or not participate at all. It took me a while to grasp that politics at Wes is a spectrum–I could participate as much as I want, but I could also lay low at times where I’m not entirely comfortable with the political atmosphere.”
  4. “It’s totally okay to question everything–even questioning who you are. I thought that all of the questions of my identity weren’t, but accepting that conversations do exist about identity (for me, racial identity and how it plays with my ambiguity) really opened so many doors for me.”
  5. “Don’t be intimidated by the people who seem to know exactly what they want to or who talk a lot about their accomplishments already.”
  6. The star and crescent resturant gives free food (and amazing food at that) to the first three freshmen that show up to every meal WITH vegetarian options AND dessert
  7. I wish I knew that while the meal plan is insufficient with meal swipes and points for those who enjoy 3 solid meals a day and even 2 sometimes, it’s not worth it to starve yourself. Join clubs! Go to all those free dinner events! Stock up on snack food. Don’t go hungry because you’re afraid of running out.
  8. “Take your health seriously; if you don’t feel well you don’t have to go out even if you feel like you’ll miss out, there will be more nights to go out and you don’t want to make yourself sicker.”
  9. “Talk to older students about their experiences.”
  10. “Pay attention to school politics and don’t let them discourage you about what you can get out of going to wes but don’t be afraid to speak up about what upsets you about them.”
  11. “Students will take intro level courses even if they know half of the material already, don’t be discouraged by them either.”
  12. “Go to office hours and talk to your professors outside of class.”
  13. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
  14. “Get to know your RA to get on their good side.”
  15. “Enter PAC and exit Olin on cold days.”
  16. “Wake up for brunch.”
  17. “Time management is key. (Everyone says this and everyone is right).”
  18. “You don’t have to drink/smoke/do drugs to have a good time. There are plenty of substance-free people to hang out with on campus and they’re just as awesome. There are also people who do enjoy substances that are fun af and will make you feel included. If drinking/smoking is not how you roll, plssss don’t feel pressured to do so. You can still go to parties, stay in, go to UCAB, sleep, eat, chat, chill, do homework withouttttt all that stuff. As someone who is substance-free, it really sucked at first to be at campus on the weekend and I felt left-out a lot if everyone was drinking except for me. DON’T BE ME (at first) and do what makes you happy with people who make you happy!! HAVE FUNNN!!! :D.”
  19. “You might be alone in your room on a Friday night, but that’s ok. Being alone is ok. Sometimes you just need some time to yourself.”
  20. “Feeling lonely is normal. A lot more people are feeling like that than you think. It’s always ok to spend time alone, but don’t forget to push yourself to talk to others and get to know people.”
  21. “Join the frisbee team! Do ski week! Take an art class! Join a club that you thought you’d never be interested in. There’s so many things to do on campus, don’t let yourself fall into old habits. Meet new people.”
  22. “Whatever you think college is going to be, it’s not. At times it’s going to be much better, and at times a bit tougher. I wish I knew that it’s normal to have these ups-and-downs.”
  23. “Don’t go looking for your best friends for life, don’t go looking for your future partner. If you’re supposed to meet those people now, you will. It may take time, and it’s hard to be patient. But that’s the way things work around here, and the wait is worth it. Everything happens for a reason.”
  24. “Unlike in high school, you don’t need to have a ‘group’. Be confident in yourself as an individual. You’re a badass.”
  25. “Never ever drink on an empty stomach. Even if you think ‘eh it’ll totally be fine’.”
  26. “Don’t take the intellectual posturing and vanity on this campus too seriously as an underclassmen. You’ll realize that you don’t need to be intimidated by others and that you are actually formidable yourself..”
  27. “Getting involved in on-campus activities, whatever they may be, is the best deterrent of homesickness. Be fearless, and do that which is your passion, because you only have this life, and you’ll meet people whose priorities and behaviors do not line up with yours – surround yourself with positive, uplifting people. And it’s okay – no, it’s necessary – for you to go against the current of the crowd when finding yourself. In the eternal
  28. Drinking is way more fun before 3 pm.
  29. Drop the pretentions about the crowded house and sticky floor, let yourself have fun at parties!!!!!!
  30. Always be open to meeting new people. I came into sophomore year thinking that I had my “friend group”, but it had almost completely changed by the time December rolled around. I wish that I had spent more time making sure I was getting to know my other friends better instead of focusing all my energy onto the same 3 or 4 people. I’m glad that the following spring, I pushed myself to reconnect with people who I didn’t see as much that past fall.