With every new summer comes a new generation of college students: the freshmen. The bright-eyed and eager babies touring their new home for the first time have finally made their commitments and are settling down into what will be the strangest four years of their life. Freshman Orientation runs ramped in the summer like sweat stains, Twisted Tea and the smell of Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen. While Orientation is crucial to college and is the only place you'll hear lots of vital information, there are several lessons you'll never get from your guides or advisers.
1. The free planner they gave you will probably never be opened. Neither will the Lilly Pulitzer scheduler you bought at the bookstore. "Finally, I have a reason to be organized!" you think as you flip through the calendar pages that match your school's colors, but it will most likely never make it out of your dorm. You've really got to put the extra effort in to keep that thing alive.
2. Never buy books before syllabus week. Ever. Your Orientation either told you to wait until the first day or to get them before the bookstore rush so you're prepared for the first day, but don't do it. Wait until the week is over. Lots of books that are listed on the syllabus as *required* are generally just departmental requirements and your individual professor is obligated to tell you to buy it, but after the second or third day of classes you'll know whether or not you'll really need to spend $400 on a single book.
3. There is no such thing as time management. At Orientation, they'll emphasize how much you'll need matured time management skills, but that's also a joke. No matter how well you think you budget your time, it's not enough. Even if you keep a perfect schedule, there's a cloud of potential anxiety looming over every campus that will scare you into thinking you're forgetting something. Just relax and remember- everyone else is feeling as freaked out as you are.
4. There will be unprecedented amounts of bodily fluids. If you don't cry, vomit, bleed, or pee in obscure places, you're not doing college right. Even if it's not you, per se, it will be someone around you. Accept that we are all human. Master the puke and rally. Go join the guy crying in the library, it will be good for both of you.
5. Your pee will probably smell like coffee. Fear not, my Dunkin Donut, this is what your body does when you consume large amounts of it in short periods of time... which is what college is. At first, you might freak and think something's up with your kidneys or that you're too dependent on caffeine, the latter of which is probably true, but it's totally natural and happens to all of us.
6. You'll never spend more time sick and you'll never go through this much hand sanitizer at any other period in your life. Joining a community of 25-50,000 people your age is like entering a cesspool of germs. Everyone around you will be sick, and you'll fall victim to it too. This is also where you'll learn that not everyone washes their hands like they should (FSU Hand Foot and Mouth 2k16 represent!) Always, always wash your hands. Always carry hand sanitizer with you.
7. No one will hold your hand and walk you through everything. At Orientation, you'll make some friends and learn about resources like counseling, advising, and mentorship, but there's a lot of things that happen in your college years that you're going to have to deal with alone. And it's hard.
8. That new Student ID you just slid in front of your license in your wallet? Good luck hanging on to it. ID cards are wonderful things, but flimsy pieces of plastic can fall out of whatever your receptacle of choice is in a matter of seconds. Make a post on the Facebook groups, ask your friends, check every pocket you have, and go get yourself a new one. Or two. Or five. Also: Student ID's will not get you into bars. Trust me, I tried.
9. Campus food will never taste as good as it does at Orientation. The dining halls seem like magical havens of endless buffet bars mixed with harsh lighting and mild chatter, but don't be fooled. Your bowels will never forgive you if you actually eat at them as often as you think you will.
10. You can get away with a lot more than you think you will, but you really have to be careful. Orientation programs do their best to showcase the prestige of your institution, but that's because they're not supposed to tell you about the teachers who cancel every other class or the beauty of Red Bull binges in the library basement sandwiched between a Greek social and an exam. You'll find a way to be flexible and make the college experience work for you that's not printed in pamphlets. You'll never be this young again. Have fun with it, but keep in mind that your goal is to get your degree in your major, not shotgunning Natty Light.