The above is always one question that seems evasive. I swear finals just finished yesterday. Right? No? Okay, fine. I suppose that means it’s time for school to come about, friends to return to campus, and new faces to join us. I’m already on campus because I have a short internship in Roanoke, so I figured I would give you all a quick Roanoke update.
Lately it rains. A lot. I can count the days it hasn’t rained at least a little bit in the last two weeks on one hand. One. I like rain, but eventually rain is no longer cute, or romantic, or helping water things. Because too much rain is not a good thing. It’s done some serious damage to farming crops in this area of the South. I had a farmer tell me the other day “You think you’re going to starve when it’s dry, You do starve when it’s too wet.” It’s true for the pure fact that things drown. You can always add water (I use always lightly here, but in principle you can add water) while it is terribly difficult to remove water. Therefore plants drown. Therefore there are fewer crops. I think it’s fascinating, so I hope it didn’t bore you.
For all the new faces coming to campus I’ve thought about some thing to bring to uni and things to leave, and thoughts you should all consider:
The first three weeks are the easiest time to ask all the questions you think sound silly before people become incredulous that you failed to pay attention when everyone else asked. So ask now, or ask later. But if you ask now, then someone can ask you and you can look at them like they haven’t been paying attention.
This is, for me, the most important. If you ignore everything else and just read this bit, I’ll have accomplished my goal. Read the handbook. Please. Others might say they didn’t read the handbook. Some never will. I did, and I don’t regret it. I know important information or where to find answers to my questions. AND please read the website, especially the student life section and section for first years. They have a packing made easy section. The Student Life tab has answers to almost everything you need to know. If you can’t find it, use the search on the Hollins site. If you still can’t find it, then you can ask someone. Chances are they found the answer in the handbook or on the website anyway.
Also read your email. They don’t send out the newsletters and Fun at HU emails to fill up your inbox. It takes two minutes, and you might find out about an event, club, or announcement ahead of time instead of the day of.
If you don’t know how to do your laundry or make an egg, ask someone that does to show you how before you leave for school. You have to do your own laundry, and sometimes a midnight scramble sounds grand. Also, laundry is included in tuition, so no need to bring your quarter collection (YAY!).
Bring Your Stuffed Animal(s). I have 5 proudly displayed on my bed, oddly they are all ungulates, I love them very much and I’m not afraid to tell you I’ve slept with the same Reindeer since I was four. Since we can’t have pets to cuddle, might as well bring your animals.
Bring something to put on the wall. There is indeed the poster sale in the first month of school, but if you’re not a poster kind of person there is still a good chance that you will want to put something on the exceptionally white walls. As long as you can hang it up with a Command strip or the equivalent, I’m pretty sure you can put it up.
This is cheesy, but bring your sense of adventure. Even if you’re shy. Go to the random events even if no one wants to go with you, join the clubs you think are interesting, become involved. I’m not telling you that you have to run for Class President (go for it if you want!), but you’ll enjoy your semester if you know more people. And it sounds silly and motherly, but not all of your friends have to be in the same group. All of my friend are friends with each other, but not all of us hang out at once all the time. And that is perfect.
You might be an introvert, you might be an extrovert, or you might be a bit of both like me. Don’t forget to meet people. Don’t be afraid to hide out in your room once in a while to recharge. Have fun!
Make your room (or your half of the room) a home. My friends tell me they come to my to room because it feels like a real room, not a dorm room. I have actual curtains, framed photos and paintings, rugs, a colorful bedspread, etc. I’ve done my best to make my room somewhere I like to be instead of that place I have to sleep. Your dorm room is your home away from home, so it might as well feel like home. Our First Year room was our sanctuary and that is probably something you will be the most grateful for when you have loads of homework and just need to breathe.
I promise you, you will start packing at the end of the year and say “Where did all this stuff come from! I swear it all fit into these boxes.” Simple. Care packages, random things you gather, presents from friends, Target trips where you proceed to buy at least one thing you know you don’t need but buy it anyway (It’s Target. We all do it.), and textbooks (Not everyone sells them back, I don’t usually). So leave some trinkets and books at home.
Don’t forget to treat yourself. I easily fall into the habit of not treating myself with time off campus or going to fun places in Roanoke. You can find your places off campus too and it’s important to go there so that Roanoke starts to feel like somewhere you live, instead of a temporary home. Feeling like Roanoke is a second home helps especially if you start to feel a little homesick. Treat yourself to that meal off campus or a movie, and don’t forget to have fun!
If you’re an only child you’re going to have to learn to share, or negotiate, or at least politely define boundaries. This is where the roommate agreement comes in, but living with someone is a relationship that, like all others, requires communication. One of my best friends is my roommate, we’re like sisters. We learned to live with each other and learned to communicate. There will be disagreements, but they will be less minimal if you tell her at the start that you prefer not to share your hairbrush or eat your snacks instead of waiting until November and blowing up at her because she uses your brush all the time or always eats the snacks you buy.
Don’t forget a shower caddy and shower shoes. You can’t leave your things in the bathroom and you have to walk there, so you’ll need shoes and something to carry your shower items in.
Desk Lamp. The overhead lights in Tinker buzz (some people can’t hear it, I could) so both you and your roommate will appreciate being able to turn off the overhead and still work. Some people use their overhead fluorescent all the time, so it’s really a matter of preference, but a desk lamp is nice for late nights when your roomie is sleeping and you’re still knocking out calc problems.
Back up your laptop to an external hard-drive. A 1TB drive is super cheap now, around $100. It’s a small price to pay for a copy of your hard-drive. Back it up frequently and you might not lose a semester of lecture notes if your computer crashes.