Hey new Ohio University freshmen! Let’s be real; we’ve all seen the ’10 things to NOT do as a freshman articles scattered throughout various pages of the Internet. However, they’re probably not tailored to you as an incoming OU student. As a freshman Bobcat here at OU, there are a lot of things I wish someone had told me from the beginning that would have made my first couple of months **prepare for a cliché** that much better. Below is a list I have compiled which, if you’re anything like me, will be at least relatively useful to you. So here’s the list of things I think they … someone … ANYONE should have told me at the beginning of my freshman year, but they didn’t.
1. Fold your toilet paper, don’t scrunch.
I’ll admit, it’s pretty gross to listen to someone tell you how to use toilet paper. Chances are you’ve never been plighted with the perpetual use of the one-ply sand paper they disguise as toilet paper in the dorm bathrooms. It’s pertinent you fold and don’t scrunch when you’re cleaning up your rump or you’ll end up with dry, itchy cheeks. No, your other cheeks.
1a. #2 when someone is in the shower.
The noise from the shower will help cover up any embarrassing noises, and the smell of soap will help mask any unpleasant smells. Another approach for masking any odors you may be producing is the courtesy flush, in which you flush immediately after you “do the deed”.
1b. Best bearings for bowel movements.
Whit’s, Jimmy John’s, the 3rd floor of the RTV building and Speedway all have single bathrooms. This makes your bathroom time a little more private, something difficult to come by when you’re living in a dorm. Alas, it is important to remember that ultimately, almost everyone poops. When nature calls, it’s OK to relieve yourself in public.
1c. Buy flushable baby wipes or 2-ply toilet paper.
Your tush will thank you.
2. Be aware of the fact that you’ll never get used to communal showers.
image courtesy of http://www.thecollegehelper.com
I’ll be honest with you, communal showers aren’t as bad as they sound, but they definitely aren’t anyone’s preferred facilitator of self-hygiene. You probably won’t fully get used to wearing shoes while you scrub and escape the impending scalding water when someone else flushes the toilet. You will get used to the fact that you’ll never get used to it, and that’s what’s mildly important here.
3. Get a pair of rain boots.
image courtesy of http://www.stylehive.com
It rains ALL THE TIME in Athens, and usually it only rains when the weather man says it’s supposed to be sunny. Class goes on, rain or shine, so protect your stylish socks and ticklish toes with a good pair of rain boots.
3a. Keep an umbrella in your backpack.
This goes along with No. 3, but like I said: it usually only rains when it’s not supposed to. Keeping an umbrella in your backpack will help ensure you’re never caught in an unpleasant situation with precipitation.
4. You can use FlexPoints at Café Bibliotech and Front Room.
Good news for the fresh batch of caffeine addicts brewing in Athens: you can use FlexPoints at the coffee places on campus!
5. Dress to the nines.
Generally speaking, dressing cute when you go out is a MUST. Just to be clear, this doesn’t mean you have to wear revealing clothes in order to go out and have a good time, but wearing a put-together outfit that flatters your body and doesn’t look like Sunday’s best will certainly help. The easiest way to get into bumpin’ bashes people you don’t know are throwing is to look cute. They’re more likely to let the girl in a stylish dress and snazzy shoes in than the girl wearing her grandmother’s moo-moo and a parka– just think of it like Princess Mia’s makeover.
5a. Invest in a small to mid-sized, chic cross-body bag that zips.
This will be ESSENTIAL for when you’re going out on the weekends. The OUPD and Athens PD will think it’s suspicious if you’re carrying a backpack or large tote bag at 1 a.m. on a Friday night. They will most likely stop you because they suspect you’re transporting alcohol. A modest cross-body that zips is perfect for going out because you’re unlikely to lose it—it can stay on your shoulder all night. Also, it’s small enough to not look suspicious and the zipper will ensure none of your important items such as keys, iPhones and wallets fall out when you’re booking it down Court Street to keep your “tipsy” BFF from running out in front of a car.
6. You don’t have to cross at the crosswalks.
image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com
Maybe the concept of cross walks was slightly foreign to me because I drove everywhere before moving to Athens, but I always thought crossing anywhere other than a crosswalk was considered jaywalking and would result in a ticket. Although in theory this is true, you’re living on a college campus. There are more pedestrians than cars. Plus, if there are no cars around, the crosswalk is relatively obsolete. But please, safety first; always look both ways before you cross the street (unless it’s Court Street).
7. Befriend your RA.
image courtesy of http://www.dormdelicious.com
Your RA is there to help you and be a resource for you, not to get you in trouble. Get to know them; they’re people, too! Also, they’re an upperclassman and can show you the ropes to help you get acclimated to life as a shiny, new Bobkitten.
8. Blend in with tour groups to get into the dining hall for free.
image courtesy of blog.mlive.com
You’re sitting outside of Shively torn because you don’t have any swipes left but are disgustingly hungry. Suddenly, you see a large group of high-schoolers and their moms walking toward you. THIS IS YOUR CHANCE. They always take the tour groups to Shively, show them the vegetarian bar and give them a cookie. If you blend in with them, you can get in for free and all your hunger woes are over!
8a. Bring take-out containers to the dining halls.
Hide some tupperware in your backpack and get a little extra food on your plate. That way you don’t waste leftovers and you do conserve swipes!
9. Call home often.
image courtesy of http://www.keepcalmandposters.com
It’s important to keep connected with people back home. As an added bonus, calling home often will also increase the likelihood of your parents giving you money when you’re a little short on cash. If you call frequently, they won’t be suspicious that you only talk to them when you need something.
10. Freshmen can bring their cars.
image courtesy of http://www.athensnews.com
You can bring your car and park it in a variety of lots located really close to campus. A list of them can be accessed here:
10a. Don’t tell anyone you brought your car.
I’m telling you, little is more annoying than people you barely know asking to borrow your car to visit their boyfriend or constantly having to take folks on Walmart runs. Keep your transportation a close-guarded secret; once it gets out, it’s difficult to dodge being viewed as a free taxi/rental car service.
11. Don’t throw food trash away in your room.
image courtesy of http://www.takepart.com
One of the best ways to make your room reek is having a half-eaten container of mac’n’cheese fermenting in your trash can. Although it is technically against university policy, take all of your food trash out with you and throw it away in one of the trash cans outside. It’ll save you some major Febreeze.
12. Don’t be afraid to break up with your high school sweetheart.
image courtesy of thesituationist.wordpress.com
This is a tough one. Long-distance relationships are incredibly difficult and definitely not for everyone. I can say from personal experience that although my now ex-boyfriend and I had trouble connecting when I moved here, I was terrified of ending the relationship. Let’s be honest; it’s hard to break up with someone you still like. I’m not saying it’s impossible to make it work; I know several couples who have made long-distance relationships work and are really happy. But, I can also say from experience that trying to scrape together a relationship that’s falling apart is a really good way to drain yourself your first semester here. College is a time to discover yourself and experience new things, and for some, the best way to do that is solo. For clarity’s sake, I’m NOT telling you to break up with your boyfriend, but I am telling you to not be afraid to just because part of your heart is still stuck in high school.
13. Bring jewelry spares for all of your piercings.
image courtesy of momosmoment.com
Don’t get me wrong, Decorative Injections is a nice place, but the last thing you want to do when your more … exotic piercing falls out unexpectedly is have it tapered because it started to close while you were shuffling around for a replacement—OUCH. Keep spare jewelry on hand to help keep it from closing when you realize your studs and barbells are no longer safely locked within your skin.
14. Bring too much underwear.
image courtesy of hairpin.com
What you think is too much underwear is probably not enough. If you want to avoid doing laundry at ALL COSTS (which I promise, you probably do), underwear is ostensibly the only article of clothing that is gross and unsanitary to re-wear. So bring too much. And then when you run out, beg your mom to mail you more because laundry sucks.
15. Your first couple days here have some SERIOUS POTENTIAL to suck.
image courtesy of adamlodolce.com
Or they could be great! Now, I know you’ve been looking forward to coming here for a really long time. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your first couple days here may not be the best. Be prepared to feel way too lonely, and even to doubt your decision to move to a foreign town where you don’t know anyone and practically everything about your life has changed overnight. I’m not trying to scare you. Just be prepared, and know that YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY ONE FEELING LIKE THIS. This is a new experience for everyone, and the best way to make new friends is to remember that. Keep your door open, meet the people on your floor, and don’t be discouraged if your first couple nights seem sort of destitute.
So there you have it, the 15 things I wish I knew before I came here. Again, this list is completely subjective; one of the furthest things from ‘official’ probably ever created, which is merely something I think you may find useful. So go forth with your new-found Bobcat knowledge and kick some Athens ass!