Among the common college myths — you’ll gain 15 pounds; you’ll hate your roommates — are the little truths that apply to nearly everyone. Though conventional and seemingly effortless, these eight unsaid rules will help you survive college and enjoy it to its fullest:
Ask Before You Borrow
Whether your roommates’ shoes or your classmates’ notes, always ask before you borrow. And just asking doesn’t cut it — you have to receive an affirmative reply. (It’s astonishing how many people don’t get that.) Realize that though you may have grown up sharing with your friends and siblings, some people have never had someone want to use their stuff. Letting you borrow their belongings — large or small — is a tremendous deal to them. Respect their stance; it’s not up to you to teach them how to share.
Clean Up After Yourself
Don’t be that oblivious roommate who doesn’t realize it drives everyone else crazy that you leave your stuff everywhere or never make your bed. Also don’t assume if you make a mess someone will clean it up for you. If everyone does their part, there will be no drama or dirty dorm.
Put Away Valuables
Even if you trust your roommates, an iPad, $20 bill or gold ring left out can easily go missing. Friends, people across the hall and their friends are always popping in and out of room chats, especially if you leave the door open in order to be social (another unwritten rule). Sometimes it’s because they mistook something of yours for theirs; other times it’s because what you left out was too tempting to leave behind.
Live in the moment, yes, but also be aware of your future. Plan for next year. Look at your syllabus to see what’s due next month. Research jobs online. Talk to your guidance counselor about internships and double majors. College may seem like a bunch of easy-going people around your age, but in reality it’s full of go-getters. Join them or you’ll be left behind.
Think Before You Speak
People from all across the country — and in most cases the world — are gathered together in one place called college. The background and experiences of everyone will be different, which can lead to opposing opinions and unique thought processes. Try to be open minded before you make bold statements or accusations. It’s likely there’s someone in your classroom or activity group who sees things differently than you.
Take Care of Yourself
It’s OK to go to your parents for help, a professor for questions, a friend for advice. There are guidance counselors, mentors and all sorts of helpful resources available for you during college life. Use them. But, take care of you. Do what you know is right for you, whether it’s skipping out early on a party because you need your rest or saying no thanks to pizza every night. Create a healthy balance between your school, social, personal and family life.
Do Your Part
If you know you’re going to miss class, do your part to make up for it. Don’t just assume you can snatch the notes from a classmate or ask the professor “if you missed anything.” Of course you did, he or she just gave a two hour lecture. Around the house, in group projects and with your friends do your part. Pick up after yourself. Take your fair share and do it. Put in the effort needed and then a little more.
Be Mindful of Others
Your morning shower should be only be 20 minutes. Don’t complain about grades or money when someone close to you may be struggling with much worse. Even if your roommates want to go to bed at a ridiculous time, give him or her a break and honor the request. Be mindful of others; it’s a rule in college that will get you through the rest of your life.