Welcome, freshmen, to the beginning of the end. Or rather, the end of the beginning. College is upon you, and soon you will enter the adult world of responsibilities and 10-99 tax forms, but before that, you have four years to sate your intellectual curiosity at the fount of knowledge, experiment with bold new lifestyle choices, and sleep until 2 p.m. if you so choose. You may be feeling a little overwhelmed by all the commotion around you, as RAs and teacher’s assistants usher you to and fro, buses whisking you up and down campus, as you unpack your things in your dormitory, figure out your schedule and scope out all the cool kids gathered by that oddly dry fountain next to the library. Some disorientation is only normal during the start of the semester. But never fear! Your stalwart PantherDining team is here to make your transition to sort-of-adult-living as smooth as possible. What follows are six pieces of advice from PantherDining employees (including myself) to get you through this trying time.
6. Some Basics
My fellow staff assistant Jessica at Piedmont Central had a lot of great advice for incoming freshmen: “Ask questions; talk to your advisors. Register as early as you can. Rent your books instead of buying them.” Maybe her most colorful piece of advice, though, was to keep your nails short. Long nails make it harder to use the finger scans in the dining halls. Plus, they can make you a prime candidate for the frumious Bandersnatch. He sure loves snatching up them fingernails.
5. Beware the Jabberwock
This bit of advice comes from Lewis Carroll: Beware the Jabberwock, my son! / The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! / Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun / The frumious Bandersnatch!
Laugh if you want, but many an incoming freshman has run afoul of the frumious Bandersnatch that stalks Hurt Park. The Jabberwocks between Patton Hall and Student Center East are no laughing matter either.
4. Don’t Eat Too Much
From Jasmine, one of our cooks at Piedmont Central, this advice comes as a warning, lest you succumb to the dreaded “Freshmen Forty.” (Huh. It was only 15 when I was in college. Must be inflation.) She also advises that you keep yourself open to new experiences and new people, but don’t try to form big cliques. Try and stick to one friend, but don’t eat your friend. That is considered cannibalism and is frowned upon by most civilized cultures, not to mention it’s against university policy.
3. There Is No Pool on Top of Kell Hall
Regardless of what you may have read on this very blog, there is not, in fact, a pool on top of Kell Hall. Frankly, by the time you read this, there may not even be a Kell Hall. The ancient building is being torn down this summer to make way for luxury high-rise condominiums or something like that. We can only hope that the construction workers don’t drill too greedily or too deep. You know what they may find there in the dark places of the world. Shadow and flame.
On the upside, I hear there may in fact be a pool in the new student housing going up off Piedmont Avenue. So, you have that going for you, which is nice.
2. Do All the Things
Amanda, one of my esteemed coworkers, had this bit of advice: “Try to participate in as much as you can.” Georgia State has so much to offer. If you’re willing to try new things, you’ll discover brand new hobbies and interests you wouldn’t expect. You’ll meet all sorts of fascinating and tremendous people. It’s all part of the college experience. Get out there and claim your adventure.
1. You Don’t Have to Eat All the Cookies
We may have already covered this one, but it bears repetition. Incoming freshmen may be shocked at how much food is available in the dining halls — not just the variety but the sheer quantity of baked, fried, frozen, boiled, steamed, broiled and barbecued goodness. While I’m sure most of you will remember the advice of your parents and/or teachers regarding good eating habits, some of you will no doubt see the vast seas of food in front of you as a personal challenge.
Folks, the cookies will be there tomorrow. You don’t need to have eight on your plate at every meal.
Not that I’ve ever done that.
Any rumors that I started a campus-wide ice cream soda craze during summer programming at Duke University are likewise unfounded.
Now armed with this new and maybe somewhat confusing knowledge, you are properly equipped to handle all the triumphs and tribulations college orientation has to offer. Before we sign off, do any of our other loyal readers have advice for incoming freshmen? Feel free to leave some helpful suggestions in the comments, and, as always, thanks for reading.