The Top Three Experiences at the Starting Line of College


In the first weeks, college is an eon. But slowly, you begin to lose count of the days, and you find yourself alone at night thinking fall could not be closer around the corner. And you wonder, how long will this last? If you start off every day with the mentality that something good will come, it usually will. Wake up. Get dressed. Enjoy the sunlight.


1.  Knowing the faces, not the names.

At college, everyone is introducing themselves to everyone else. Hi, how are you, what part of NoVA are you from? My cousin goes there, oh, I love that song, too! The chatter will prattle on and on – and it’s a good thing! It’s definitely a good thing. We all want to make friends, and as quickly as possible. But the remaining problem is, what was their name again? You’ll see about a dozen people you know, maybe even greet them, but no one remembers anyone’s name.

There’s just too many of us. And the struggle is so real, face recognition becomes a blur in about the first six days.

But don’t worry! Smile, and be happy, because you’re at the friendliest school there is, and chances are, no one remembers your name either! So get friendly and don’t be afraid to ask that humiliating question, even if they bunk on your hall.

2.    Go to the Great Lawn in the middle of the night.

Each day of college feels like three in the “real world,” and sometimes, you need a break. If you find that adrenaline-pumped head reeling and the left leg shaking and the words jumbling — grab a friend, go to the Lawn. Nothing compares to the serenity of 2 a.m., and certainly no experience will, as you and your hall mate bond over ridiculous stunts you both pull. Twirl the worry of a four-page paper out of your eyes, and allow the stress of your mom’s daily calls to stream out of your consciousness through your fingertips. The cool night air knows what’s doing, and it will take care of you. Embrace it. Run toward it. Run past it. Run around the obsessively symmetrical grass and feel the exuberance the evening has to offer.

3.    The laundry struggle.

It’ll happen. Probably your first time, and most definitely not your last. Once you finally decipher the encrypted code of the impossible machinery, another problem will arise. Maybe it’s that you don’t have enough quarters, or figuring out Dining Dollars do not count towards laundry purposes, or maybe you realize – too late – that dad bought powder and it only accepts liquidized soap. The Machine Man will always get you down. And any time you think it’s over, another difficulty bubbles to the surface. And if you truly have the gift of misfortune, an estranged figure will come knocking on your door asking which resident didn’t take their laundry out and you realize you never set a timer. It’s now two hours past the washing cycle. The walk of laundry-room-shame is not pretty, my friends, and there’s really nothing that can be done to change this. But if you endure, you are able to watch heartily from the sidelines, laughing, as the next wave of mishaps bestow upon themselves another victim.

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