The first years: Lessons from a KSU pro

Jessica Lentine

I was always a smart kid.

Growing up, I was terrified to get in trouble. I was never grounded in all the years I lived at home, and my report cards always made my parents want to give me money.

So when it was time to move out on my own and start college, I wasn’t worried in the least.

Fifteen credit hours? No sweat. Making meals for myself? Piece of cake. Balance my own checkbook? I know how to add and subtract, sounds easy enough.

I thought I would party like I did in high school while still getting good grades and breeze right through these pesky four years.

I realized pretty quickly that there was a lot about college life that I couldn’t learn from the PASS program or from my dad’s random hints of back-in-the-day wisdom.

As I enter my senior year, I am ready to pass down a little of my own back-in-the-day wisdom. I have learned quite a few lessons that I wish someone would’ve told me before my freshman year.

• You can’t have it all.

There is a rare breed of students who can party Thursday night into the wee hours of the morning and still be at their 9:15 a.m. class on Friday morning, wide awake and ready to learn. You are probably not one of them. Save yourself the grief and choose one or the other.

• Dorm life doesn’t totally suck.

Living off campus is fun, but don’t rush it. Live in the dorms your first year. Yes they’re small and you have to wear shower shoes and eat dorm food, but you will be surrounded by people just like you who are looking for their niche. These are the people who are ready to establish their college friendships and most likely the people you will end up experiencing everything with for the next four years.

• The bank is against you.

Or at least that’s how it feels every time they smack a big fat overdraft fee on your already suffering account. Or when you check the balance of your FlashCard a month before the semester ends and you have already run out of money for food. So just do yourself a favor and keep track of your expenses. It will save you a huge headache and that dreadful call to your parents begging them for money because you’ve overdrafted your bank account — yet again.

• Give weekends in Kent a chance.

The people who go home every weekend to spend quality time with their boyfriend, girlfriend or best friend from home whom they can’t live without are the same people who end up transferring to their community college before sophomore year. You won’t have fun here unless you get out and meet people. Sometimes it’s okay to have a little too much to drink, share a drunken heart-to-heart with someone you just met and forget how to get back to your dorm. The academics may be what brought you to Kent State, but it’s the experiences, memories and friendships that will leave you with a reason to stick around.

Jessica Lentine is a senior information design major and features and entertainment editor of the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].