College: Tips, tricks and how to survive

Mikhail Chernyavsky

Go ahead and take a deep breath. Take it all in, and let me be the first to welcome you to college. You made it. Now what?

As an immigrant, I am the first one in my family to go to college. I didn’t have the luxury of having someone to give me tips about coming to Sacramento State, yet alone college. So, I’m going to give you some pointers about what you should be prepared to learn and what you should already know.

College = Change

You made it through high school. It was the best four years of your life, right? Wrong. You are in college now. If you think high school was the best years of your life, you can’t imagine what lies ahead.

High school is over. That part of your life, you should put behind you, and get ready for a new world – hopefully a new you, as well.

You have an amazing opportunity to change yourself. It doesn’t matter if others from high school are here too. In a school of nearly 30,000 students, you won’t have to see them if you don’t want to.

Dorm Students

If you are going to live in the dorms: Congratulations, you are out of the house. Now don’t be surprised to be freaking out. You thought the day would never come: Now you are going crazy inside because mommy and daddy aren’t around. Just know that they are only a phone call away. Don’t worry – it’s OK to cry! Feel free to lock yourself in your dorm, get in the fetal position and cry!

Better? Good. Now, here are two things you will need in the dorms:

1. A handball

It’s good to have something to throw around when you’re bored, but more importantly, it’s a great conversation starter. For example, “Hey did my ball roll into your room?” or “Sorry, I didn’t mean to peg you in the face.” Remember, it’s time for a new you, because no one knows you.

2. A laptop with wireless Internet access

This is very important, not only for school, but also because a handball just doesn’t have that technological kick that it used to. This comes in handy when you have nothing to do. You can surf the Web or just pop in a movie, like a stress-relieving comedy or porno.

Everyone Else

There are a lot of misconceptions about college – mostly created by college movies. Here are three things I’m going to clear up for you.

1. I’m going to get so much ass.

Ha, sorry. The na’veté is just adorable. Here is a big hint: Girls are not going to put out just because it’s college. Don’t worry if you don’t get some in the first semester or two. Your goal is to adjust to college. Not everyone has to have that one story about the time you met this girl at a party and took her back to her place, only to find out she was bisexual when she and her roommate started to make out and then the two tied you up and ? sorry for the tangent. Like I was saying, it’s OK if you don’t have a really amazing story like that to share.

2. It’s time to party like a rock star.

Wrong. There is a time for partying. It’s an essential part of the college experience. You can meet a lot of great people – refer to point one. However, don’t drink your college expenses away. Whether you are here on your own, or because your parents made you, the last thing you want to do is fail your first semester. Before you go crazy, get a feel for your classes. By all means, party. Just try and limit it to the weekends.

3. I don’t have to go to class.

True, most professors don’t care if you are there, but you should still go. Some professors offer extra credit points for showing up, and it is factored into your participation grade. Besides helping to pass your class, it’s a great place to meet people. You and everyone else in the class already have one thing in common – the class. You either hate it or love it. Plus, it’s really easy to turn to someone and say, “Can you help me with this problem?”

So, welcome to the next four to seven years of your life. The college experience is what you make it. Have fun with it, join a club (it’s free) or Greek life (if you have the extra money) and dress for whatever social group you want to be a part of. Remember, you are in a new world where no one knows you. It’s time to take control of who you want to be.

Mikhail Chernyavsky can be reached at [email protected].