Tips for Escaping the Black Hole

You may be wondering what inspired me to write about a black hole.  For those of you who don't know, a black hole is a mass in outer space that is so compact that nothing (not even light) can escape it.

Of course, I'm not writing about that kind of black hole.  I'm writing about the black hole that consumes students between the time they decide on a college and move-in day. Granted, most do make it out of this black hole, but sometimes it isn't easy.  These are all things that I wish someone would have told me (in no particular order).

1) If you're taking any AP classes, PLEASE take (and try hard on) the exams!!!  Trust me, when it comes time to register for spring classes, you'll want those credits.

2) Study up on your foreign language of choice, especially if it's been a year or two since you took the class.  I've discovered that some of the upper-level foreign language classes here are very interesting and the better your score on the placement exam, the less time you have to spend in the lower-level classes (which aren't always as much fun).

3) That being said, don't stress over the placement exams.  While you certainly want to test as well as you can, it would be equally bad (or possibly even worse) to be in a class that is far too difficult for you.

4) Don't stress too much over majors.  A lot of students change after arriving at college.  Do, however, do your research and try to have a general idea of the direction in which you want to head.  Your life will be much more enjoyable without this stress.

5) Look at student organizations.  Seriously, you need a hobby while you're in college.  I decided to join the marching band because I love music, but you should try to find something you really enjoy. If you really like Frisbee, join the Ultimate Frisbee club, or if you're a wizard at heart, join the Harry Potter Society.  It's all about finding your place.

6) For further enjoyment of college life, consider living in a Living-Learning Community, or LLC. Living in the Kelley Living-Learning Center was one of the best decisions I made when coming to IU.  What makes living in an LLC great?  LLCs are special because you get to live with people who have interests similar to your own.  Making friends is pretty easy in these places and you'll really enjoy being with people who think the same way you do.  My floor mates and I have some of the nerdiest and most unusual conversations, but it's totally normal here.  I love it!

7) The college admissions process isn't over yet.  Your college of choice can still rescind (take away) your offer of admission.  It wasn't a problem for me (I worked very hard my senior year of high school), but I've heard of it happening to other people.  Be sure to keep your grades up, and stay out of trouble for the next few months.

8) If there's a subject you really struggle with, consider taking a course over it at a community college over the summer.  That way, you'll be able to concentrate your efforts on that one subject rather than shoving it aside to work on something else.

9) Enjoy your last days of high school.  College is great, but there are some things that make high school really special.  For me, those things were taking classes with all the people I'd gone to school with since kindergarten, FFA, 4-H, academic team, track, and organizing and executing virtually every event that took place.  College is better, but be sure to thoroughly enjoy what time you have left in high school because it will be over before you even know it.

10) Enjoy your summer.  Don't let the upcoming change bother you.

11) If you're going to have a roommate, don't worry too much about what he/she will be like.  Most of the time, even if you're very different, you'll find a way to make it work.  Remember:  You don't have to be best friends; you just have to be able to coexist.

12) If you're going to have a roommate, try talking to him/her before you move in.  Trust me, you don't need two mini fridges, microwaves, or TVs.

Well, that's about all I have to say.  Good luck to all of you, and get excited to experience the college culture!

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