Picture this: A month has flown by since you packed your family’s mini-van with your belongings and traveled to the insanely busy location of your specified IU dorm. Now, more than a month later, you’re adjusting to your new home, no longer needing google maps to get you from class to class, and starting to realize that Wells Library actually has great sushi.
There are numerous misconceptions about college life, and it’s difficult to navigate through countless of columns of advice and articles written specifically on how to survive the “best years of your life.” How do you know which aspects of college are true at IU, and which are simply myths? I’ve covered five myths based on my experiences (take or leave as little as you would like.)
Myth #1 – “It’s weird to eat meals by myself.”
FALSE. Call me a bona fide independent woman, but eating by yourself is quite common on college campuses. With a hectic schedule and between four or five classes a day, students rarely have time to meet up with new friends at a equally distant place from each other’s classes, find a place to sit down, and chat about unruly professors and share weekend party stories. Honestly, that’s what dorms are for.
Words of advice: Be confident to sit alone. Bring your laptop, headphones, and/or homework to your lunch spot and catch up on work. Or binge-watch Netflix. Or, if you’re an extroversion (props to you), strike up a conversation with others around you. Whatever you choose to do, realize that just because individuals may say it’s “weird,” doesn’t mean it is.
Myth #2 – “It’s not supposed to rain/turn cold/snow today. I won’t need a jacket.”
FALSE. You know how when you were younger, your mom would tell you to put on a jacket before you went outside? Coincidentally, you now hear your mother’s jacket-telling voice in your nightmares. Your mother was right. Carry this piece of advice into college. Indiana weather is about as predictable as what Donald Trump will tweet next, so take into consideration of the outside elements. Live by a weather app on your phone, whether (pun intended) that be the standard iPhone weather app, or my favorite, The Weather Channel. Treat it as your best friend.
Words of advice: Always, always be prepared. Pack a rain jacket in your backpack. I know the giant bubble umbrellas that are clear and have pineapples on the handle are super cute, but no one likes to carry it around just in case because “there’s a chance for rain.” Instead, buy a smaller umbrella that compacts into a sleeve you can slip into your backpack’s pockets.
Myth #3 – “Even though I’ve eaten off campus three times this week, it’s ok to go out again.”
FALSE. Readers may disagree with me regarding this subject, but you have a meal plan for a reason. You (or your parents) are paying for a pre-paid meal plan that works at most dining courts ON CAMPUS. I know you’re going to crave that Original Chicken Sandwich from Chick-Fil-A, but spending money on food that’s from restaurants outside of campus more than once a week is just impractical.
Words of advice: Going out every once in a while is o.k., but limit yourself and eat on campus. Make a game of looking for the best dining hall on campus and which has the best sandwiches, salads, or wraps!
Myth #4 – “I’ll just wait to do my laundry on Sunday.”
FALSE. If Sunday is the only day of the week where you are completely free of any responsibility, then I say do your laundry on Sundays. However, if you don’t have more than three hours to spare, I would avoid the laundry room at all costs on a Sunday. Almost everyone in a dorm will wait until the weekend to do their laundry, because they were busy the rest of the week. However, I promise that if you do your laundry earlier in the week, you will thank me later. Trying to do laundry on a Sunday is equivalent to trying to find a spot at an animal watering hole on a really hot summer afternoon in Africa. Most dryers and washers are full and you’ll have to be extremely patient for one to open.
Words of advice: Have a set day to do your laundry, but don’t make that day on a weekend. Tuesdays or Wednesdays are slower days in the laundry room you can take advantage of. On weekdays, you won’t spend more than two hours waiting for your laundry to be finished, and on Sundays, you are able to catch up on z’s and homework!
Myth #5 – “I’ll just do my homework at my dorm, in my room, on my comfy bed.”
FALSE. This is not beneficial, at least not for me. If you’re already at your dorm, especially if you’re laying down, the odds of falling asleep or wasting time on your phone are much higher than sitting in a sturdy wooden chair in the library at your own desk (no, don’t quote me on this. I didn’t do an actual scientific experiment to test this hypotheses.) To me, studying is more efficient when I’m in a place that requires me to leave and head home from. When I’m at the library, I know I have to leave in order to head back to my dorm, so I set a time to study and when the time is up, I’m able to leave. Set aside at least an hour to study everyday, preferably at the library, outside, or in a public place.
Words of advice: Studying is better if you go over your notes and do research in a place that is not yours, such as the library or another dorm’s student learning center (Teter has a REALLY nice Academic Student Center you should check out). Treat studying like a job, meaning you clock in at a certain time and you clock out at a certain time.