Emily Lin is the Campus Representative for CampusRiot at Georgetown University, she’s currently a junior studying Comparative Literature, Linguistics and Chinese. Read more from Emily Lin here.
It used to be that once a person had graduated from high school they would typically go straight to working and being productive members of society. And then college became a thing. I had a teacher once tell me that going to college brought about a new stage of life called ‘youth’. What that means is that we’ve been granted a freebie excuse to act like really big children for four years while we ‘figure our lives out,’ learn life lessons and what not. Here are some of the survival tips I’ve learned in my two and a half years of youth.
This college thing is gonna be easy…
(Photo from modernsurvivalonline.com)
1. Student Discounts
I didn’t ever really occur to me (which means everyone else probably knew…) that I would ever not be a student until my sister became not-a-student and began paying more for goods and services in general. So don’t take your student status for granted! Flash that ID and get a free drink at Chipotle, half off Qdoba on Tuesdays, or go to the movies for cheaper on Thursdays!
2. Get away from the Hilltop
Everything is incredibly convenient here. Even if you needed something that was not on campus, chances are you could get it delivered to you without leaving campus (food, groceries, supplies etc.). This, however, creates what’s called the ‘Georgetown Bubble,’ and right now I’m telling you to break it. Leave! The University actually makes it fairly convenient to get away from it. With GUTS buses to places like Rosslyn and Dupont, and the DC Metro taking you wherever else, there’s really no excuse not to go out and explore DC. Plus, there’s nothing like being away from campus to make you love it all the more when you come back.
3. Get involved, but know your limits
SAC fair with all the club’s tables on display, makes everything seem interesting and fun. It’s great to meet new people, get involved and win free stuff, but do not over extend yourself. Trying to do everything under the sun will just tire and stress you out. Pick out clubs that you like and commit to just a few of them. That way it’ll be easier to manage your own school work, social life and general fun time.
4. Take a class for fun
So I know you want to get all your major requirements in, in addition to all the gen-eds, and you’re really not that interested in linguistics or sociology or history, but I’m telling you now: take it anyway. It’s learning for the sake of learning. It’ll remind you there’s more out there than just your field of study and that it’s not always about making the grade to fulfill requirements and get a job in the future.
5. Know where your money goes
Finances. Keep track of them. It’s no fun (speaking from experience) unknowingly spending lots at the beginning of the semester and then ending up completely broke when trying to buy dinner on your way home at the end of the semester.
6. Get to know your professors
They are awesome and amazing people, who for the most part are willing to chat with you. Plus if you’re thinking about grad school or applying for various scholarships, they can write you a good letter of recommendation.
7. Take care of yourself!
There’s nothing worse than being sick and still having to write a paper and go to class. No amount of extensions on assignments will make the sickness any better. If anything knowing you’ve got a crap ton of make-up work only makes you want to prolong the sickness. And then you’re just stuck between two things that suck. Don’t get sick, eat right and dress appropriately for the weather
8. Get creative at Leo’s
It can be dull and repetitive having only one dining hall and the desire to go out and eat will be strong sometimes. But if you’re already spending money on the meal plan and don’t want to spend more (see number 5!), think of Leo’s as a massive pantry, a collection of raw ingredients for you to work with. Who says you can’t take something from the carving station, some materials from the salad bar and throw them together for your own delicious wrap or sandwich?
If you’re living on campus, chances are you have a roommate. First rule of roommateship, you have to be a good one to have a good one. Talk to your roommate. Establish clear boundaries. Even if neither of you are ever in the room, or the two of you were randomly assigned, this is the person with whom you share a space. You don’t have to be best friends but it’s best to have a decent relationship with them.
10. The Bookstore is not your only option
Amazon! E-books! Check the class syllabus for when the book is needed too; you can avoid extra shipping costs if you know you won’t need it immediately. And best of all, the library! People often forget how many books our library holds. There’s always a chance that the book you need for class is just sitting in the library waiting for you to check it out, free of charge (so long as you don’t keep it too long).