Thursday, January 1, 2015

Undergrad Advice

If I knew then what I knew now, I would tell the younger me a few things.

1.  It's okay to eat in the cafeteria alone.  While kids that age *might* be judging you for eating alone, not all will, and it might help you meet new people, especially if you can pretend it isn't bothering you to be all alone. :). 

2.  A few mason jars would be great for dorm room cooking.  They don't melt, can handle hot liquids, and can easily be used to store staples, even in a drawer.  

3. Don't buy that stupid cube refrigerator!  They're not space-effective.  Get the taller one that takes up the same floor space.  The cubes are a joke.  It only costs a few dollars more for the bigger one, and they actually have useful freezers. :D

4.  Go to the on-campus movie showings, especially the scary ones. It's more fun to watch certain groups of students absolutely freak out, than to watch the movies themselves.

5.  Get a microwave that will hold dishes taller than a coffee cup. :D.  You can use a microwave for more than just making coffee and hot chocolate.

6. Figure out a way to enjoy coffee.  Coffee can be a wonderful thing.  I just never realized until I was in my 30s and discovered flavored syrups and creamers.  Dry milk makes a great creamer too, and it's easier to keep on hand when you need milk than to drive to a store for it in liquid form.

7. If you want to take a class that isn't in your major, DO IT.  They may offer all those nighttime art classes NOW, but by the time you're out there working in the world, they'll only be offered during school days.  Not at night.  Not in the summer.  I lost out.  It's worth taking an overload if the class makes you happy and satisfies you in some way.  Plus -- new people will be there.

8.  Get a wash basin to keep all your cooking stuff in.  Then use it for washing dishes, because the bathroom sink in your suite will SUCK for washing dishes.  They're not big enough.  Use your dustpan to get water into the wash basin, a la Pinterest.

9.  Turn your crummy dorm bed into a loft / bunk bed.  Then you'll have a living space underneath it, or at least some good storage space.  Just lifting it up a few feet will make a major difference and give you some room to breathe.  

10.  Get a little hand broom and a dustpan, because something, sometime, is going to break. Hang it up out of the way where you can easily find it.  

11.  Dollar Tree is your new best friend. ;). That's where you'll find a wash basin and baskets to organize your stuff. (There was no Dollar Tree way back when in my area.)

12.  When you come up with a good recipe, write it down. Research on the Internet for more dorm cooking ideas.  Don't be that malnourished student living on a pack of ramen noodles per day.  

13.  I wouldn't have bought it myself as a kid, but as an adult, I'd send my kid off to school with a Pampered Chef micro cooker (the bigger one). You can brown meat in the microwave with it. :). It has  strainers in the lid and pouring spouts.  It's black, so it won't show discoloring.  And it's really lightweight.  When it's not being used, it can hold kitchen stuff. I hear that you can even pop popcorn in it.

14.  Get a big, sturdy "campus umbrella". One that will easily cover two people and NOT one of those flimsy, fold-up, too small for one person umbrellas that fits in your purse. Chances are you will have some long walks to class in serious downpours, and you need a REAL umbrella or you'll be wet, cold, and miserable.  You don't need to buy it from the campus bookstore. Wal-Mart sells them and you don't want yours to look like everyone else's anyway.  

15.  Get and learn to use a planner / agenda.  Coordinate it with your digital calendars. But remember - a paper planner won't leave you swinging in the wind if you drop it.  They don't break like mobile phones and tablets.  They don't get hacked.  

16.  Buy some cheap metal forks, spoons, and knives. Having your last throwaway utensil break is depressing.  

17.  Go off to college in the early fall, not winter.  There are no get-to-know-you activities in January. Nobody cares if you are new, lost, and don't know anybody in January. 

18.  If you're not feeling the love from your family, half-jokingly beg one of your friends' parents to adopt you when they come to visit their kid.  :)

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