Everything you did not know, but should, about college

Carole Hodorowicz, Columnist

Finding out the best way to do your “first” anything is never an easy task.

So as I sat here, staring at the blinking cursor on my computer screen and listening to the dull hum of my laptop, I spent a lot of time deliberating what I should write for the first column of my last year at Eastern.

I considered wishing all the Panthers, both old and new, good luck on their school year, but that topic is too predictable and exhausted that I could not even allow myself to begin typing.

I thought about sharing my experience of walking around campus and hanging up fliers on move-in day while all of the fresh meat moved into their residence halls, but my experience was painfully dull—and sweaty.

And of course, I almost allowed myself to take a long trip down memory lane and share with you the butterflies that filled my stomach when I moved into Andrews Hall as a freshman all the way back in 2015.

However, my tale followed the same events that many of yours may have: an early wake-up call to pack the car, a line of hugs to get through for the friends and family I was leaving at home, a long car ride that reminded me of how flat and boring Illinois is, an exchange of passive aggressive comments with my parents as we struggled to rearrange the furniture in my dorm room, and of course, the tears that finally broke through my stubborn eyes once my parents left and I realized they would not be a hallway or a staircase away when I woke up the next morning.

Instead, I am going to tell you the things everyone forgets to tell you when you go to college.

1. Don’t be surprised if you come home and you’ve been demoted to the futon. It happened to me. And it can happen to you, too.

2. There is no such thing as budgeting your first semester. Instead, there are impromptu Walmart trips where you buy everything except what you actually needed. There are too many pizza places in this small town that you will order from. There are too many beers will you justify yourself for drinking after a long week—or a long day—of class.

3. Icebreakers will break you. Once you get into the depths of your major, you will notice a pattern: you have had class with the same 10 to 20 people every semester. But your professor doesn’t care. You will still have to tell everyone your name, your major, and what you did that summer—even though nobody cared to begin with the first time you told them.

4. The community bathrooms are worse than you have imagined. Your shower shoes will be your personal life preservers as you venture off into that unchartered territory of tiles and mildew.

5. You will not use at least 70 percent of the textbooks you are assigned. However, there is a silver lining to this one: textbooks are included in tuition.

6. Doing laundry will never become something you enjoy. I live off campus with a personal washing machine and dryer down the hall from my bedroom and I still have the same unenthusiastic attitude I had when I lived on campus with a community washing machine and dryer.

Let me know what is more monotonous and time consuming than the process of washing, drying, folding, and putting away your clothes when you know you are just going to have to do it all again in a week or so.

7. Drinking coffee loses its effect. As a senior, simply drinking a hot cup of joe in the morning does not do anything for me besides burn my taste buds. I need to be hooked up to a portable IV of coffee stat.

8. Bringing your laptop to class to “take notes” but actually online shop or go on social media is risky business. My cheeks still burn red every time I think back to freshman year when I got called out by one of my professors for creating a Pinterest board instead of paying attention to his lecture.

9. The chances people are actually listening to your presentation, speech or whatever big assignment you have been psyching yourself out about are slim. Most likely, your peers are on their phone, creating a Pinterest board of their own, or psyching their own selves out about presenting after you. Breathe, relax and just do your thing.

10. You will gain the freshman 15. And if you don’t, feel free to send your secrets to me via email at [email protected]

Carole Hodorowicz is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].