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BRANDI JEWETT: Advice for freshmen: College is a clean slate

By now, most college freshmen have survived their first week of college. Some of you are already hitting the books while others are hitting the streets in search of people to meet and things to do. Some are homesick and some are drunk (literally ...

Brandi Jewett

By now, most college freshmen have survived their first week of college.

Some of you are already hitting the books while others are hitting the streets in search of people to meet and things to do. Some are homesick and some are drunk (literally or figuratively) on new freedoms.

Whatever you choose for your college priorities, I'm here to bestow a little advice on you.

The most important thing you need to know is this: College isn't high school.

As a freshman, you're coming into college with a clean slate. Your high school reputation as a geek, jock, drama geek, pretty girl or that guy who lost a bet and had to kiss a goat no longer matters.

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Believe me, I wish someone would have told me this.

I came to UND figuring everyone would know I was the quiet girl who would set off the nerd detectors as soon as I walked into a building.

Like any high school comedy movie will tell you, being the nerd isn't fun. I never got swirlies, wedgies or locked in a locker, but I did get sick of people telling to quit being a smarty-pants.

And to make matters worse, most of the people I went to high school with were the exact same people who had accompanied me through elementary.

And when people have been poking fun at you for the same stuff since kindergarten -- such as my love of dinosaurs -- it gets really old and you just assume everyone else will, too.

College was an unexpected breath of fresh air -- one I definitely squandered for the first few months.

The fact that no one knew me was terrifying, but looking back, this was a wonderful thing, and I wish I would have spent more time taking advantage of it.

Not in the sense that "No one knows me, I should walk around with underwear on my head," but more like "No one knows me, I should introduce myself to people."

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It took me a while, but eventually, I opened up and made friends based on my true self -- a ball of energy with an affinity for cursing, bad jokes and ice cream. I can tell you that girl looks and acts differently than the one I was in high school.

Because of this, the friends I made in college will be friends for life. They were there for the stress, the awesome parties, the hangovers, the attempts at study sessions and any awkward situation I always seemed to find myself stumbling into.

They also were the first people who thought my lifelong obsession with dinosaurs was cool, not weird.

Well, maybe just a little weird.

But coming out of my shell earlier in my time at college and making more friends or just meeting more people in general would have been a great experience. I talk to new people every day for my job, so it's a skill I could have been sharpening a lot earlier in life.

So you, the new freshman, learn from my meek ways and put yourself out there. You might still lose a bet and have to kiss a goat, but at least you'll have met people doing it.

Call Jewett at (701) 780-1108; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1108; or send email to bjewett@gfherald.com .

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