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Zara DeGroot is a lover of autumnal candles, expert in petting puppy ears, and winner of the 8th grade Most Improved at Math award. One time, someone mistook her for Rob Kardashian. She is a sophomore Journalism and Media Communications major and a Business minor at CSU. 

Clarissa Davies is a sophomore Journalism and Media Communications major at CSU. She is currently planning world domination while trying to pass this math class, and forever wishing she was buried in a pile of warm, freshly laundered towels. On a good day, she looks like Jared Leto. 

Welcome back for round two, folks. If you read our post last week, thanks! Did you forward it to your family members? Bank teller? Joe Biden? Cool. Again, we welcome you to Colorado State University! *gives you a friendly hug but steps on your toes*

Calling this post “survival” tips makes it sound like college is a dreadful experience that everyone has to go through in order to make it in the real world. Yes, perhaps part of that is true for you. Maybe this is all a huge game of Sims. But we like to think that if you’re here, we’re not crazy to assume you are willing to enjoy it. So think of this post as “how to make your time at Colorado State more relishable.” Now, strap in, keep your arms, legs, tails and claws by your side at all times because we are going to be covering the essentials to “surviving” CSU.


(and maybe Justin Timberlake’s frosted tips)

1) Have the drive to do well academically

This should be a given. Even if you go into college not knowing what you want to do with your life, in order to survive and enjoy the higher education experience, you need to find something that you enjoy doing academically. CSU offers many programs and has many resources to help you get inspired and determined to succeed here. After all, we think it’s the best place to do so. Unfortunately if you don’t find your area of study the slightest bit interesting, college will be a terrible time for you. And who wants to pay an arm and a soul for an unenjoyable four-year college education?


2) Get involved

This has been said time and time again. Find clubs that interest you and dive in head first. College truly offers a plethora of opportunity for you and you need to take advantage of it. CSU offers student government, writing for the newspaper, reading at a poetry slam, slamming at a poetry reading, or even joining an ultimate frisbee team. You will soon find more friends with the same interests, and a chance for you to manage your time effectively and be a much happier individual.


3) Eat gluten-free brownies

Last year in the dorm dining halls there were these small “special” fridges by the ketchup and mustard. In the special fridges held what sustained us for the year: gluten-free brownies. These gluten-free brownies may be crumbly and dry, but aren’t we all? In order to survive CSU/a meal in the dining halls at CSU, these delicacies are a must whether you are gluten-free or not. (One time we filled our sweater pockets with brownies and kept them in our room for hourly snacks.)


4) Take advantage of the resources here on campus

We have a spacious library, an extensive gym, a new student center, places where you can get tutored (for free!), and even a place that will review your papers before you submit them.


5) Appreciate the art of being alone

Although you’ll be around people and your friends daily, it is normal to feel alone sometimes. You are a capable individual and a budding adult. It’s OK to feel like a small fish in a big pond sometimes, and at the end of the day you should be completely comfortable with being by yourself nursing your bowl of microwaveable Pad Thai while watching the rain. There is an authentic beauty in that.


6) If you are a girl, or a boy who has mad greasy hair, get a bottle of dry shampoo and have it at the ready

During hectic weeks where you might have three+ exams/papers due, showering and self-maintenence shifts to the back burner. Sometimes it is fine to marinate in your own oils if it means you will get an A+ on an exam (although, this has never happened to Zara when she marinates in her own oils before exams).


7) People watch

This past time offers a bit of sanity and some time to rest and digest before heading to your next lecture. The best people watching spot is on the brick wall outside of Clark A between classes, especially around 2:45 P.M. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (we’re regulars). You’ll always see multiple people you know and you’ll be left questioning whether your networking skills are up to par. Plus, 98% of the time you’ll make soul quivering eye contact with the Liam Payne lookalike strutting by (there’s a Harry Styles lookalike too).

Quick peak at the Harry Styles lookalike who we see everywhere.

(Quick peak at the Harry Styles lookalike who we see everywhere.)

8) Bring your bike

You can walk easily around Fort Collins, but biking is more common. So if it doesn’t hurt your butt or any passersby, we would encourage it. Also, be kind to Mother Earth.


9) Support local businesses

Fort Collins is a hot spot for local businesses. All of the coffee shops and locally owned restaurants make you question why Starbucks and Qdoba are weekly stops (Chipotle is better anyway). THEY ARE GOVERNMENT POWERHOUSES DESIGNED TO AWAKEN THE AMERICAN CONSUMERIST IN ALL OF US. Go local.


10) Find your favorite coffee in the area

This goes along with #9. If you think you will make it through some weeks fully rested and looking pulled together, you are wrong. Some nights you will get a full eight hours. Other nights you’ll get four. This is part of the college experience and you will learn how to combat it. There are lots of great coffee spots on and off campus. Find your favorite place so you can fuel up on days when you need an extra boost.


11) Befriend authority figures

Including your RAs, your TAs, and your professors. These people truly care about your well-being and success and can impose some wisdom unto you as classes get harder, as well as lend the hand of friendship or add you on LinkedIn in later years.


12) Prepare for the elements

In the spring and late summer seasons, you may find yourself putting on a Northface or a wizarding robe for a chilly morning walk to class, but once you emerge you will be greeted by powerful rays that bring back sweat. Or sometimes you’ll forgo your fur coat in the morning and by noon it’ll be snowing. Just beware.

13) Don’t take yourself too seriously here

It is easy to do, but very unnecessary. Often times you will find that the people who are deemed “weird” have the most interesting things to say, so don’t brush them off. Be friends with these ones. There is every type of person at CSU, so branch out and meet somebody new every day or else you could miss out on being pals with the next Mario Lopez or Stephen Colbert.



As promised:

Justin Timberlake's frosted tips.

(Photo credit)

What are your tips for surviving Colorado State University?

feature photo credit: tylerkron via photopin cc