Robyn Tellefsen | January 23, 2013
You already know to buy extra-long sheets to fit those funky dorm beds and to bring flip-flops so you don’t contract a nasty fungus from the dorm showers, but – believe it or not – there are things no one tells you in the college brochures and websites. We’ll let you in on a few trade secrets so you’ll be truly prepared come college time.
How to drown out an annoying roommate who thinks she can sing.
You don’t want to make the next nine months unbearable by telling her to shut it, but you do want to make it to the end of the year without throttling her. How to manage? Two words: white noise. These little machines (like the ones you see outside a therapist’s office) are a godsend and can save your sanity and the roomie relationship. If she asks what the white noise is for, just tell her you’re easily distracted and your shrink recommended it.
How to get the best course schedule so you never get up before 10:00 a.m.
You may look like a slacker if you sleep in, but those in the know get the fact that it takes some serious planning to make sure you never have to suffer through an 8 a.m. class. The key to sleeping in without ditching class is to map out your college years ahead of time. Sit down with your adviser and make a list of all the courses you need in order to graduate. Once you know which courses you must fit into each semester, you can choose the sections that are offered later in the day – or put off certain courses until have you open slots available.
How to get your parents to quit calling you every day.
These are the people who have watched over you for the last 18 years, so chances are they want to hear from you when you’re away at college. Of course you’re busy, but blowing them off will only make matters worse. Plan a weekly phone date (it doesn’t have to be long) so they can hear your voice and rest assured that all is well. This way, you can keep the peace, avoid the frantic texts and phone calls, and keep your parents from siccing your roommates and your RA on you.
How to eat like a pig and not get fat.
Some colleges have incredible food, and you will be tempted to sample all of it. We say go for it – as long as you put some checks and balances in place. Thankfully, most colleges provide those counterbalancing influences for you. Use of the fitness center is typically included in tuition, so take advantage. And if you have to take some PE credits to complete your general education requirements, choose fun, fat-burning ones like jazz dance or tennis. You’ll be amazed at all the cool classes you can take that will help you stay in shape (all while enjoying the delicacies of the college dining hall).
How to keep your valuables safe.
Short answer: don’t bring any. If you must pack the good stuff, hide it among your mountain of dirty laundry. Trust us, no one will be sniffing around there. (Bonus tip: you can avoid frequent trips to the laundry room by purchasing a month’s worth of underwear. Your stinky clothes pile will be higher, but your time and energy saved will make it all worthwhile.)
How to make sure no one raids your food stash.
Everyone needs just-in-case provisions, but it can be highly disconcerting to discover that your sacred stash has been compromised by a roommate with the munchies. Solution: booby-trap it. Slip in some Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans (a la Harry Potter) in delicious flavors like earwax, soap, and vomit –or just something unexpectedly gross like fish balls – and thieves will think twice before tampering with the goods again.
How to spot the clingers and the crazies from a mile away.
College is a chance to make new friends, but if you make poor choices from the get-go, your new besties might be hard to shake and could make your transition to college life more challenging. Steer clear of people who come off super-intense and those who want to be BFFs right away. Those kinds of people tend to breed drama, which is probably not what you came to college to find. Take it slow, and let the dust settle before you start making matching friendship bracelets.