This is a list of rules that I came to learn would have been helpful during my first year at WashU. I want you to succeed within your first year, and so I have supplied you with my veteran advice in the format of commandments. I hope that you are able to implement one or more of these commandments into your routine at WashU so as to make the transition from home to dorm and high school to college smoother.
- Read the course syllabus and assess whether or not you are comfortable with the work load described. (Pay close attention to the books listed, the amount of writing specified, and assignment due dates. You will encounter challenging courses anyway, but it never hurts to be aware of how many writing and reading intensives are in your schedule per semester. You do not want to harm yourself in any way trying to balance out a schedule that feels impossible)
- Use a digital or tangible calendar and carry it with you at all times. (Many events and people will come to you daily, and it is easy to be a “yes” human and agree to participate in each function. Do not do this to yourself. Check your calendar, which can be on your phone or in a planner. You do not look silly checking your schedule; you look organized and human because none of us have a mental computer system that will remember everything from due dates to actual friend lunch dates. Trust me, I’ve even forgotten about dinner plans with friends)
- Put in syllabus due dates and exam dates in a calendar or planner before October arrives. (When October arrives, you will be running full speed ahead and will not have time to look at what is due, but only have time to actually do these things. You do not want to be looking at the syllabus every weekend because you do not have knowledge of the next reading)
- Wash laundry bi-weekly and DO NOT wash laundry on Sunday. (Your mom, dad, or whomever has been washing your laundry for the past few years of your life will most likely tell you this. I am the reiteration of that advice. You do not want to lug a large bag of laundry into the laundry room that probably only has 50 washers for the 500+ residents in the building. Washing on a Sunday is laughable, considering that nearly everyone is trying to wash laundry that day. It is better to carry a small/medium size load to the laundry room every other week. This works for me because I have an enormous supply of clothing. Maybe washing weekly is manageable for you, so do what works best. But do not wash on Sunday. Friday night is ideal because a lot of residents will be hanging off campus)
- Take advantage of free food. (There will numerous free-food events within the beginning of the first semester, around winter finals, and at the end of the spring semester. These events will have posters posted in the DUC, BD, Olin, and—most vividly—your residential colleges! There is no excuse for you not to show up to a few free food events, as eating this way will save you meal points that you will need desperately at the end of either semester or could sell to other people for some pocket change. Bring friends—it will be more fun)
- Designate a “YOU” day or night. (A lot of first-years become social butterflies within the first few months, as you develop connections and build friendships. With that being said, you will try to hang with your new friends all the time and That’s OK. But it will serve you mentally and physically well to designate a “YOU” day or night. Spend some alone time with yourself. This can be watching Netflix in your dorm, napping, or reading a book in butterfly garden or Forrest park. I advise you not to go someplace where people will converse with you and do not plan to do homework during your “YOU” session. The point of this session is to be present in a stress-free, noise-free, reflective environment. Your friends will understand)
- Stock up on bathroom and shower essentials. (You may be particular about the toilet paper that you use. If so, please stock up before you hug your family bye on move-in day. The same goes for hand washing soap—something that will not be supplied in your shared bathroom spaces. Purchase disinfectant wipes, body wash, and other bath essentials in bulk. Whatever is not used within the year can be used the following year. Trust me, it is better to be safe than sorry)
- Do not eat a half & half more than once a week. (This commandment is strictly for anyone who likes having clear skin. It will be easy and tempting to purchase chicken tenders and fries, since it is always ready-to-go at the DUC or BD. But listen, 3 half & half orders a week does not agree with clear skin. Beware)
Until next time: Have a Beautiful Day!
*List is subject to additional commandments.