The Hipster Freshman: A “How To” Guide on Being the Savviest New Kid Around

Being hipster is cool right now.  Don’t do what everyone else is doing.  Be one step ahead of the game.  Do something trendy before it becomes trendy.   And if you’re a true hipster, this applies to every area of your life.  It comes with ease.   But nothing tests the hipster soul more than that one sacred rite of passage.  College.

I’m not talking any kind of college experience.  I’m talking the freshman college experience.  You just graduated high school.  You were a senior.  The top dog.  You were the coolest of the cool.  You were aloof.  And now you’re off to embark on a new journey.  You’re going to do it right.  You’re striking off on your own without the parental units.  You’re establishing your identity.  Watch out life.  Here comes… you!

But how can you be “the new kid in town” without sticking out like a sore thumb?  How do you blend in?  How can you avoid being…. well… This guy.
Image

Being someone who has gone through the freshman orientation process twice (that’s what you get for transferring after your first semester), and has been an orientation leader every semester since, I think I can offer some solid advice to the (high school) Class of 2013 on how to be cool, how to smoothly glide into campus life, and how to blend in even as a freshman.  Because to be perfectly and brutally honest, you’re not as impressive as you were in high school anymore.  That doesn’t mean you aren’t special, or loved, or unique.  It just means all those “top dog” points you’ve been used to having… They’ve been wiped clean.

But before you read any of this… Remember, we were all freshman at some point.   The reason we can spot these things is because we all did them. Being a freshman isn’t a problem.  It’s nothing to be ashamed of.  Your campus is excited to have you.   So why would someone need a “how to guide” on how to not be an obvious freshman?  The things freshmen do that make them so obviously a freshman are things that clog up the system.   They slow down everyday life on campus.  They cause traffic to stop, lines to gather, and pedestrian collisions.  It’s not a problem to be a freshman, it’s just a good idea to try to slide into the campus life as quickly and smoothly as possible as to not inconvenience the people around you too much.  So consider this a guide to transitioning into the daily college flow.

With that being said, here is my best advice!

Your lanyard

Image

I get it.  It’s cool.  It’s convenient.  But don’t.   Don’t wear it with the lanyard hanging out of your pocket.  Don’t you dare wear it around your neck.  Or worse… wear it with around your neck with your keys and ID on it.  This is the #1 sure-fire way to spot a freshman.  This isn’t so much a functionality “flow of campus” kind of situation.  It just screams “FRESHMAN!” and if you’re trying to avoid that, stuff that lanyard in your pocket for no one to see.


Campus Maps

Image

Campus is new.  There are so many buildings.  But if you’re walking around with a map of campus?  You look like a tourist at disney land.   Do yourself a favor and snap a picture of the campus map on your smart phone.  No one questions someone looking at their phone.  And if you’re lost, don’t be ashamed to ask for help.

Groups

Image

Gee, I’d love to get to class faster, but this huge group of people is taking up the entire walkway.  I wonder if they’re freshmen?  Of course they are!  Freshmen tend to travel in packs.  It’s all those best friends they’ve made, ya know?  I like to call it a “flock of freshmen.”   If you make a lot of friends, that’s great.  As a senior, most of the people I’m friends with now were not the people I hung out with my freshmen year.  But that’s not to say that a social life is not vital to your college experience.  I’m glad you’re making friends, but please.  Do not walk in huge groups.  And if you do, walk on the grass.  Not on the road or the sidewalks.   My college has one main road that runs through campus and the shuttles from the apartment buildings drive on this road.  But for some reason the freshmen every year think that road is a giant side walk for them and their friends.   What’s worse is the freshmen who do not MOVE OFF THE ROAD when the shuttle comes.  Like seriously, don’t block traffic.  Ever.  Make friends.  Hang out in groups.  JUST DON’T BLOCK THE ROAD.

Talking About High School

Image

You may have been the only captain of the varsity basketball team in high school… but at this school, there are dozens of other students who were the captain of their varsity sports team as well.  You got into the same college as everyone around you, there’s no need to brag about your SAT or ACT score.  Please leave your Letterman jacket at home (I love mine too – the picture above is actually my Letterman jacket – but that phase of life is over).  Maybe tell those “funny high school memory” stories a couple times.  But if your RA knows the names of your 5 closest high school friends by the end of orientation, you need to shut up about high school.  It’s not to devalue your high school experience.  It’s not that it wasn’t important.  You just have to understand that your high school experience is not your college experience.  It isn’t the reality you’re living in any more.  And it’s not an experience that your peers share with you.  Reminiscing is great and don’t be afraid to talk about high school now and then, but people will get bogged down if that’s the only thing you want to talk about.

Trays

Image

Note: This may be something that is exclusive to my university.  Not every school goes by this standard.

A few years back, the student government at my school decided to take a green initiative at my school.  They encouraged everyone to stop using trays in the cafeteria so there would be less dishes to wash.   And it worked.  People stopped using trays.  But the trays are still there.  So every year, when the freshmen come to campus.  They see the trays at the front of the cafeteria and they grab one.  This clogs up the lines, slows down the process, and keeps everyone away from their food that much longer.  There are very few things as scary as hungry grumpy people.  Do yourself and the people around you a favor, and don’t get a tray.   If you don’t go to my school, your best bet is to watch the RA’s and see what they’re doing.  Simple as that.  Trays at my university are one of the fastest ways to spot a freshman.  The only other people who carry trays are visitors and that elderly professor who wears a bow tie every day. (He’s my favorite).

So there you have it.  Those are my 5 pieces of advice to avoid being an obvious freshman.   Remember, it’s not a problem to be a freshman.  It’s just important that you’re transitioning into the campus community quickly.  You want to fit in and be welcomed.  The best way to do that is to show the upperclassmen that you’re thinking about a little more than just yourself.  If you do the things I mentioned to avoid being an inconvenience, you’ll quickly gain respect from those people around you.  And don’t forget, this is exciting!  You’re going into college!  You’re starting your adult life.  Have fun with it!

It’s Just Been One of Those Days…

Let me note, that I have a powerpoint I need to make, a 30 page worksheet thing to finish, two papers to write, and worship team practice that all have to get done by tonight… These are not the things I SHOULD be getting done as well.  But I have to write.  I have to get this out.  It’s too much for a tweet or even one of my lengthy facebook statuses.  So alas, if you plan on reading this, you are planning on listening to me vent.

I have so much going on right now.  I can’t think straight.  I feel like I’m behind everywhere although I’m not.  These past couple of weeks have been really taxing.  And I’ve slipped into the classic Kelsey mode of “I can handle it.”  I can DO it with God’s help, but right now, I can’t “handle” it.

I lost my car this week to a lot of unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances.  That’s really tough.  I can’t get a second job off campus like I had wanted.  So now I have to get a job on campus.  I need a minimum of 20 hours a week to make my tuition payments and everywhere on campus pays minimum wage and has really crappy hours.  So, I’m stressing about that.  Plus, being out a car… it’s a huge difference.  I have to ask a friend for a ride if I want to go to target for prescriptions, razors, pantyhose… I can’t drive my friend to the hospital when they break their finger in the intramural football game… I can’t say to my friends “Hey, let’s go to applebees for half price apps tonight!”… I hate that.  I hate this.  I miss my car and to be honest I was really attached to it.  I had a lot of memories in that car.  It’s a serious blow.

The job I do have right now is great.  I love it.  I get to be apart of the major event planning on campus.  Wouldn’t trade it at all.  But it takes unforeseen time out of my schedule.  I’m used to working a for a few hours on two or three specific days of the week.  But with the nature of the events we’re working on right now, I’m finding myself handling work business outside of my work hours.  Welcome to the real world huh?  I just don’t have a lot of schedule consistency right now and I really am not a fan.  It will get better in a week or so.

My worship team is playing an all worship chapel on Friday.  So we have about 9 songs we’ve been preparing, but we’re not quite there yet.  And that’s stressing me out.

Sleep.  I’m not getting enough sleep and my sleep schedule is so whack.  Welcome to the life of a college kid.  I haven’t gone to bed before midnight in I don’t know how long… last night I finally got to sleep around 4am.  It’s like my first semester of college all over again.

Food.  My diet here is a joke.  I live off of starch and fat.   The fruit is always rotten.  The only vegetable that is consistently fresh and actually tasty is the spinach.  I honestly eat mostly rice and beans.   My friends notice it too and like to poke fun at how nasty it looks.  Plus I eat everything with gallons of hot sauce to either mask the weird flavor or make up for the flavor its lacking.  I really don’t know what else to eat.  My cafeteria is NOT vegetarian friendly.  They put meat in everything.  Burrito?  BEEF burrito.  Enchiladas?  CHICKEN enchiladas.  Grilled cheese?  Grilled HAM and cheese.  Pasta bake?  SAUSAGE pasta bake.  Every now and then they have a “vegetarian bar” that has limp celery, carrot sticks, sunflower seeds, beans, and hard boiled eggs that have turned green.   I’m sorry, what?  That’s what vegetarians eat for dinner?  I’ve been a vegetarian almost two years now and that’s not what I eat for a meal.  I don’t want to just fill up on french fries, mac n cheese, and cheese pizza… but sometimes when I’m tired of rice and beans, that’s all there is.  Cereal.  There’s lots of cereal.  But my body is so hungry.  It needs vitamins and minerals and protein.  GIVE ME PROTEIN!  The only protein sources I have here are eggs (when they have them), peanut butter, beans, and cheese.  And cheese does not count as protein.  Thank goodness I have quinoa and chobani in my apartment.

My schedule.  Agh.  Mondays and Tuesdays are horrors for me and Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays are spent catching up with what was put off because of the busy Mon/Tues.   I feel like I’m running like a chicken with its head cut off.

Church.  I miss being at Passion City Church.  I felt like my soul was REALLY fed there and I’m getting a little hungry.

Minnesota.  Gall I miss home.  So many sites my eyes wish to see.  So many places I want to be.  I want to go to Ritter Farm Park, and Indigo tea, and the Mall of America, and to the sculpture garden, and to the top of Buck Hill late at night, and to my back yard.   And the culture.  I miss Minnesota nice.

My friends.  I miss deep friendship.   I have a couple really close friends here, but I’m so busy!  I haven’t seen my best friend since June.  Heck, I haven’t seen most of my closest friends since my family moved from Minnesota.  That’s really taken a toll on me.  I miss feeling like someone was invested in me and I in them.

My family.  I miss my family.  I miss Zach’s sweet affection.  I miss being astounded by Philip’s brilliance.  I miss goofing around with Ruth and hearing her singing in her room.  I miss being a part of Joseph’s life.  I feel like he’s changing and learning so much and I’m not there for it.  I miss I miss having my mom as my friend.  Being the only ones we really knew in the state of Georgia really gave us time together and I miss that.  I miss my dad’s wisdom and peace.  He’s a place of stability for me and I’m really lacking that right now.  and heck, I miss my dog.  That old, fat, ugly thing.  I miss Lewis a lot.

EDIT:  I do not want to make it seem like I do not miss Haley, Cody, or Megan too.  I was listing off my family at home.  My sisters and brother in law are dear to me.  It just didn’t come naturally to list them when I was thinking about stuff I miss from home since they haven’t lived at home in many many years.

Today’s been rough for many reasons.  The lack of sleep certainly doesn’t help.  Oversleeping and missing chapel definitely didn’t help either.  My lunch of white rice, cheese pizza, and fruit loops DEFINITELY is not helping.   The overwhelming work load isn’t so great either, but what’s worse is that it feels really accomplishable, so I feel guilty for not being able to pound it out like I want to.  I also had time to be faced with the reality of one of my friends here leaving, and I don’t like it at all.  Don’t get me wrong  I really think they should go based on the circumstances.  But the selfish side of me doesn’t want to say goodbye.   BUT the big kicker of the day was class.

In one of my classes we’ve been asked to share our testimonies, our life stories, our spiritual journeys thus far.  I haven’t given my testimony in front of a group of more than 2 people in 3 years.  And even then, the big stuff of my testimony has happened in these past 3 years from the last time I shared it.  So, really.  I’ve never shared this part of my life with a large group of people.  God’s really been working on me to open up about my testimony, and I was all “yeah, cool God.  We’ll get to that.”  and God was like “Yes we will, we’ll get to that now.  Here’s your homework for this class!”  Holy buckets.   I am honestly so freaked about sharing my life story.  There’s parts of my story that I’ve only shared with a small handful of people.  There’s even parts that I haven’t talked with my siblings about.   Sharing this takes a huge leap of faith and a huge piece of vulnerability for me and I’m scared.  Every day we get to class and about 2 or 3 people share theirs per class at random.  I’m always freaking out about when it’s going to be my turn.  “Should I share today?”  “Should I go after he’s done?”

Today was awful.  I decided I needed to share mine today.  I was going to do it.  It was time.  I couldn’t keep going through class every MWF feeling so anxious.  I spent the entire class wringing my hands, shaking, breathing fast (which.. actually.. I always do anyways), and having to wipe my hands because my palms were so sweaty, just waiting for my chance to share.  My friend next to me was chuckling because of how nervous I was, and laughter helped… but I was still really anxious about my moment to share . Only guess what.  That moment never showed up.   So I headed back to my apartment frustrated with sweaty palms, a shaking body, a dizzy head, and a stomach ache like no other.  Anxiety blows.   It’s been over an hour since I got back from class and I’m still shaky and sweaty, despite the fact that I’ve just been sitting here doing nothing but drinking my tea.

I have a good life.  I have a good job, a good school, good friends, a good God.  Life is good and pleasant.  But I just feel like crying.  And I don’t mean like the sniffles and tearing up thing I’ve been doing while I’ve written this post.   I mean like a good, long, hard cry.  I feel like sobbing.  But I have no where to go.  Honestly, if I had my car.  I would grab some mascara and cover-up (for the aftermath), get in my car, drive to a park, and have at it.   But right now.  I’ve got no where.  There’s no place that I can go where there isn’t people around.  It’s tiresome keeping it together 24/7.  “But Kelsey, isn’t there someone you can go to?”  Yeah, there are lots of people I can go to, but I don’t want to.  I just want this emotional side of it all to be between me and God right now.  I hate showing emotions like this around people.   Ugh, I should probably be going back to Oasis (the counseling center here on campus).

I’ve spent an hour and a half writing this post that maybe 35 people will read according to my stats for most posts like this.   But whatever.  I needed to get all of this out.  I needed to vent.  And honestly, I do feel a little better now.   Moral of the story, life’s good but life sucks.  and it’s just one of those times when things are really stressful.  Really, I’ve never been so much at peace with where I am at with God, and I’ve never had as much self-esteem as I do now.  Two of the big things that usually eat at me couldn’t be better.  It’s just been a build up of unfortunate circumstances and I needed to get it out.