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Epilogues by Kelly: 5 Things No One Told You to Bring to College

by Kelly T on April 2, 2014

I remember the spring of my senior year in high school—I was anxiously waiting to graduate, counting down the days until I moved in to the dorms at CSU. I was even starting to think about what I was going to bring for my dorm room; as you probably know, I’m the “overpack-packer,” I always overestimate how much stuff I’ll need. I do not recommend that route. But hey, it isn’t always easy to change those habits!

 

What you need for school

Sure, you know the obvious things—sheets, pillows, toothbrush, laptop, etc. But there are a few things that no one tells you to bring to college, and they can be pretty important! So here you go:

5 things no one told you to bring to college

1. Rain coat or umbrella (or both): Okay, so it doesn’t rain much in Colorado. But there are usually 2-3 days each year that feature a miserable, cold, day-long rain. And because CSU is such a big, spread-out campus, you’re going to have to walk through the rain multiple times to get between your classes. Unless you want to be completely drenched and freezing all day, you’re going to want something to keep some water off of you.

2. Hard drive: Yes, these are expensive. And of course nobody backs up their computer as often as they should! But in the event that you get a virus, or your computer crashes, or your screen just goes black one day and drags all of your precious school-work with it, you’re going to be so glad you have a back-up. I have a friend that nearly lost her thesis when her computer decided to give up on life this year—luckily, she was able to recover her documents.

3. Nalgene water bottle: If you haven’t already, it’s time to ditch the plastic water bottles once and for all and make drinking water a little greener. Everyone at CSU carries Nalgene water bottles (seriously, I’m not even exaggerating. Every person you see has a Nalgene). They’re perfect for going to class, to the gym, or just hanging out in your room. Especially for you out-of-staters, it’s important to get enough water to compensate for the high altitude and dry climate!

4. Shower flip-flops: My roommate and I had a private bathroom our freshman year, but many dorms have community bathrooms or a shared bath for four people. Not to mention, if you shower at the rec center, it can be nice to have shower flip-flops to walk around the locker room.

5. Clorox disinfecting wipes: Whether you’re a germaphobe (like me!) or could care less about germs, it’s a good idea to have Clorox wipes handy. People get sick a lot in the dorms, and it can be nice to be able to wipe down countertops or other things that everyone touches (and your sick roommate just sneezed on). Plus, I think you just feel better when your room is clean. Maybe that’s just me (I accept that I’m a bit of a germaphobe, it’s just a part of who I am!). 

Now you know

These are just a few things that you might consider bringing to the dorms when you move in, in addition to all of your other stuff. Just remember: this isn’t just your room, it’s a shared room between you and another person. Be respectful, be kind, and make friends with your roommate. And enjoy the experience! Learning how to live in close proximity with another human being is an essential life-skill, and the best way to learn it is to live in the dorms.

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Epilogues by Kelly: Senior Advice to my Freshman Self

by Kelly T on March 26, 2014

With 8 weeks until graduation, the official countdown has really begun. The fact that my time at CSU is slowly winding down is really starting to sink in, and while I’m more than ready to begin a new chapter in my life, I’m experiencing some nostalgia. So today I thought it would be fun, as a graduating senior, to give my freshman self some advice about college, love, and life in general.

Senior Advice:

1. Don’t bring too much stuff to live in the dorms. You probably don’t need all 4 pairs of sweat pants—one pair would suffice! Minimize your “stuff” and moving out won’t be such a painful experience.

2. Do not wear running leggings to work. I don’t care if you just worked out. Take 5 minutes and change—even if it means you’re a couple of minutes late. Dress like you want people to treat you: well.

3. Don’t shoo your parents out the door so quickly. In the next four years, you will grow closer to them than you ever imagined possible. Plus, they might buy you dinner (which is a plus, because you’re going to get really tired of dorm food!).

4. The “freshman 15” is a real thing. You don’t think will happen to you, but it will. So watch out for the dorm food and lack of exercise—it’ll get you!

5. Don’t be afraid of being single for long periods of time. Be selfish, explore who you are, take the time to know and love and understand yourself for exactly who you are. Find happiness in having your own time, and don’t take it for granted. Being single during college will end up being the best decision you’ve made for yourself.

6. Don’t expect every person to like you. Not everyone will, and it’s okay. Be kind to everyone, and the people that you actually want in your life will follow suit.

7. Don’t break your back over people that aren’t kind or respectful of you. If someone makes you feel bad about yourself or about who you are, they aren’t worth fighting for. Be okay with cutting toxic people out of your life—you still have to be kind and friendly, but you certainly don’t have to let them be a part of your life. Cutting out toxic relationships will give you more energy to focus on the people that really do matter.

8. Don’t be afraid to fail. Meet new people, try new things, explore the world! Don’t be afraid that that one person won’t like you, don’t be afraid to fail a test, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! It’s through our mistakes that we learn, and you need to make some mistakes, be rejected, take a fall once in a while. When you fall, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back out there. Never be afraid to take that leap.

That’s All, Folks

That’s some of the advice I would give my freshman self, as a graduating senior. It’s been a great four years of college, and now that I’m graduating in a few short weeks I feel really reflective. I’m enjoying looking back at all of the things I’ve done, friends that I’ve made, and experiences that I’ve had, while preparing myself to move forwards into a new chapter of my life. It’s refreshing and rewarding, looking how far you’ve come in a short four years!

RamTour: Vines on South Campus

Today on our RamTour video short, we’re visiting the south side of campus to check out some of the amazing vines that can be seen on several buildings. The building in this video is the Molecular and Radiological Biosciences building.

Vines on Molecular and Radiological Biosciences building.

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Haus of Hunter: My Freshman Year (Part II)

by Hunter on March 14, 2014

“Don’t judge anyone, but don’t trust everyone.” – Lady Gaga

The Grand Finale

If you need to refresh your memory of Part I in this two-part series, click here.

My First Year of College

I can understand why universities had dorms, say, in Medieval England, when one had to travel all the way to Oxford to get an educated – there were no highways back then, no airlines, no way of visiting home. When you went to school, you stayed there.

After the introduction of apartments in the 1800s, and McMansions in the 1950s, a student can rent a decent place near the campus of his or her choosing if it’s far enough away from home, right? Wrong. It’s the twenty-first century, and dorms are still a due for freshmen everywhere to pay. Even my friend, who goes to University of Denver all of fifteen minutes away from where we live, was forced to live on-campus her freshman year.

Dorm enthusiasts argue that the dorms are an invaluable life experience, but I counter that sharing a room – a room – with a stranger, a room that functions as a bedroom, a bathroom, an office, a kitchen, and a living room, all at once, is not something anyone can realistically expect from their future, certainly not someone with a Bachelor’s Degree. My roommate wasn’t a problem, but, if you live in such conditions with anyone, anyone, good or bad, for tenth months, you stop feeling like roommates and start feeling like cellmates.

I could’ve grinned and bore it, through sweating myself to sleep in the hotter months, through giving up TV because there was no space for one, through pretending to feel at home, through all of it, if it weren’t for our neighbors. Just because somebody is voting age, just because somebody is old enough to enlist in the military, just because somebody is a high school graduate in pursuit of a higher education, doesn’t mean they’re going to be mature.

Dorm drama was twofold for me, since I lived in a learning community. To begin with, college kids, whose parents can afford to pay the tuition, tend to come from sheltered backgrounds. Even worse are the ones who apply to live at a learning community because they’re more book smart than street smart and it sounds right for them. Combine these, and you get people who cry if they think you rolled your eyes at them, people who tell you to spend time with them instead of asking if you want to (and it’s always what they want to do), people who take you for granted and expect you to be okay with it whenever they do something horrible to you; they feel entitled to it.

This one girl left her phone in a study room to record me talking about her behind her back. Do you know what she caught me saying? Not a thing. When I asked this other girl to give me some personal space, she claimed that I befriended her because she had a car, and I allegedly used her for rides to Target. As much as I live for all things Target, I didn’t call off the friendship because I found someone better to chauffer me there, believe it or not.

Kristen Wiig's Target Lady, "Saturday Night Live"

I sat there and let my nose bleed during Les Miserables because it’s my best friend’s favorite movie and I didn’t want to miss any of it. I’m not one to do what my dorm neighbors accused me of doing.

Through it all, I became more assertive and confident, I became more self-aware of my negotiable and non-negotiable boundaries, and I learned not to let any of it upset the balance between my personal life and my scholastic life. If I had it in me to survive my freshman year with a decent enough GPA for me to graduate a year early, then it was silly of me to ever be nervous about college.

Thank you for reading. If I wasn’t able to write about it, I’d be dead inside (just kidding!… I think).

Paws up, and go Rams.

With the LSC under the knife, the Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation is fully operational, off-campus on College and Laurel, across the street from CSU!
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Epilogues by Kelly: Random Roommates

by Kelly T on March 12, 2014

I think that one of the scariest (but most exciting!) parts about preparing to go to college is the whole living-with-a-roommate situation. You’re moving out of your parents house (yay, independence!) and into a small room that you have to share with a roommate—someone that you most likely won’t know at all until you get to school in the fall. That can be really intimidating! At CSU, you pick your top dorm choices, and fill out a questionnaire to match you with a “compatible” roommate. Today, I’m going to dish the truth about random roommates, and freshman life in the dorms.

Random roommate—a horror story?

No, most likely not. I mean, sure, I knew a lot of people that didn’t get along with their roommates. But I also lived on an all-girls hall, and I think that girls are very innately competitive and have a hard time getting along (so maybe the incidence of unhappy roommates was higher on my floor?). None of my high school friends were going to CSU, so I got a random roommate. And it was excellent! I had the best roommate. The kicker? We weren’t really that similar at all. My roommate was a night-owl that liked to sleep in, I was a morning person that went to bed early. She was really involved in a church group on campus, I had no religious views whatsoever. We both had completely separate groups of friends, and yet could hang out and have the best time together. How is this possible?

A simple answer

We made it work.

We were both easy-going, and light-hearted. Instead of finding ways to be annoyed with each other, we were tolerant and loving and kind. I was able to fall asleep with the lights on while she played guitar, and she stayed asleep when I got up early and got ready for the day. We were kind to each other. I think that everyone should have that mindset when living with someone else in a small dorm room. You have to live in close proximity with that person for at least 10 months. You can choose to let everything about them annoy you and be miserable for those 10 months, or you can choose to show kindness and just be happy. Because every roommate will have something annoying about them (even me—just ask my roommates!). The sooner you realize that, the easier it will be to have a happy and safe living environment. Just be tolerant, be kind, and everything will be okay.

There are some exceptions

I know it isn’t as easy as that. It’s a real challenge, learning how to live with other people and coexist peacefully! And I know it isn’t always possible to have a “good” relationship with your roommate. But if you are kind and tolerant, and show your roommate respect, it’s a great place to start.

Random selection

I would highly recommend getting a random roommate—if you pick someone that has all of the same interests as you, you won’t have the chance to be exposed to something different. Meeting new people is a great way to learn new things, embrace new ideas, and have new experiences. And that’s kind of what college is all about—adventuring, learning, and experimenting! Don’t be afraid of someone you don’t know: take a deep breath, and take the leap.

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Haus of Hunter: My Freshman Year (Part I)

by Hunter on March 12, 2014

“Well, my music was different in high school; I was singing about love—you know, things I don't care about anymore.” – Lady Gaga

It’s That Time Of Year Again…

…When decisions get made about college. (Is it that time of year? I don’t know. It’s been a while).

This post will be part of a two-part series detailing my first year at CSU. Let’s begin with…

…High School.

High school, Halloween, Michael Jackson"No regrets" tattoo

The application process wasn’t easy on me. I didn’t visit the schools I applied to (CU, UNC, and CSU), and I didn’t apply until past the deadlines. Plus, I did my applications wrong.

The reasons for this are many and painful. I was less preoccupied with life after graduation and more concerned about whether or not I got invited to any popular kids' parties. I somehow fooled myself into believing that junior and senior year were the best years of my life and the friends I made were the greatest I was ever going to have, and I was never going to see them again, so I didn’t like to think about college. Everyone I knew was applying for early acceptance into the Ivy League, so I didn’t like to talk about it, and, since I was raised by someone who hasn’t been a student for forty years, I didn’t know what I was doing. At eighteen, I had enough brain power to decide whether I was Team Edward or Team Jacob – not enough to take charge of my own future.

I applied to CU, my original top choice, for their film major, CSU because my cousin went here, and UNC as a safety school. I got into all three. I decided against the film major – I was still too traumatized from the film class I took in high school - and, after visiting my cousin on campus, CSU and journalism became right for me.

Summer Orientation

The two-day mandatory transition retreat over the summer turned my phobia of college into excitement – I was looking forward to my customizable course catalogue and getting involved with all of the things. However, the tour included a lot of walking, the weather was sinfully hot, they had us out until two in the morning the first day and up at six the next, they overloaded us with information, and I didn’t know anyone, nor did I get to know anyone. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by people who didn’t know where Englewood is. Little did I realize that they didn’t get to know me, either, so it was sufficiently awkward for all.

Friends of mine who went before I did promised that it would be the time of my life. I took away from it more exhaustion than anything.

Ram Welcome

During my time at orientation, I got recruited into Key Academic, and one of the perks of living in the Key Communities is a suite at Braiden Hall. It was much preferable to my borderline off-campus, ninth-floor Westfall dorm with a roommate whose Facebook statuses were angry and violent.

Key has its own orientation a day in advance of Ram Welcome, however, so move-in day for me was a day earlier than anybody else I knew. They kept us too busy, very comparable to orientation, for the shock of the first day of college to take me over.

Thank you for reading. Stay tuned for the grand finale!

Paws up, and go Rams.