officially declared my english major and creative writing minor today!
olivia’s room (take two)
so i don’t have a roommate year since i live in a single on the third floor of east hall. which means while i don’t have a roommate, i do have to walk up three flights of stairs to go to bed so…
door: i couldn’t find whiteboard cleaner, so i put up a sideways monet and a post-it with my name. also a beatles postcard and a picture of the ever-dreamy henry cavill
bed/desk: hung up christmas lights, curtains, made the bed, etc. there’s now an air conditioning unit blocking out all the natural light, and textbooks lining the windowsill.
wall deco: sticking to the 10% rule, I improvised from the collage last year, adding some new artsy prints, a valentine’s day card and decal from my dad, as well as some poetic quotes (oooh… artsy).
wardrobe: that’s what it’s called (i think???) anyway, i bought drawer inserts that fit better in the built in shelf, which, coupled with my under-the-bed boxes, means i have significantly more drawer space than i anticipated. it’s also a good place for my record player.
closet: preeetty self explanatory. i put my food box in there. whoop.
kitchen: i bought a microwave this year, and brought less mugs. and books. three flights of stairs is a real reality check.
so that’s my room! I’m hopefully getting a rug for all that open floor space, and maybe a floor lamp. we’ll see.
wow okay so i’ve been back for a week now, so i figured it was probably time for me to write a post.
i moved in early because i’m in the fall professor show Old Times, and rehearsals started before classes did. it was weird being on campus without a lot of people here yet, but gave me a bit of a different look at campus. i got my room all set up on the first day (pictures in the next post!) and had a chance to settle in before classes started. speaking of classes, I have now been to at least one of all my classes and this semester looks like it’s going to be fun and super difficult. exciting!
i feel a little tentative about talking about my classes since we haven’t had a chance to really settle into them? so i’ll post about that next week, but i’m really glad to be back and excited for another year at WAC!
oh my god olivia you’re going to d i e
fritz my darling do not worry. i think most of it is still packed from when i came home four months ago
keep an eye out on twitter, instagram, and here as i liveblog my descent into hell by starting my packing the day before i leave. you can follow all the action, elation, and procrastination with the tag: #oliviasmove2
if you’re anything like me you read a dozen college advice sites before starting school and they all said the same basic things: pick classes that suit your schedule, don’t party too hard, join clubs, budget your time, etc. and that’s all true. but what about the day to day stuff? granted this is all advice from a college freshman girl at a small school, but i feel like there’s some universal truths.
- don’t freak out about being late. okay don’t make a habit of it, but everyone’s been late at least once. showing up late with coffee is a little dubious, but i’d be a hypocrite if i said that wasn’t me a few too many days of french.
- check your college email every morning. here’s why: not only do you get a lot of emails pertaining to cool events on campus (that sometimes feature free food and better, free stuff) but professors usually email students the morning of if class is canceled. you don’t want to drag yourself out of bed and across campus at 8:00 in the morning only to find that it’s canceled. I have a lot of friends that don’t check their emails and subsequently miss events and free rita’s.
- actually use your meal plan. it may seem repetitive and the food may not be wonderful, but the dining hall can be very useful when it comes to basic snack foods like muffins, cookies and cereal. while it may not be the best and most exciting food, it’s “free.” meaning when you want something to eat late at night, you won’t have to spend money buying a bag of chips. that being said
- don’t be afraid to order out. sometimes another meal in the dining hall may feel like one too many. so order chinese, or pizza. even better, get a couple friends together and make a night of it, either studying or watching a movie.
- bring cleaning supplies. at the very least, bring paper towels and wipes. and a broom. because your room will get dirty and dusty, and you will get tired of wiping it off your feet.
- don’t buy the textbooks from the bookstore unless you have too. okay this is on like every list, but it’s important. university book stores charge a lot for textbooks and you can find them much cheaper on textbook sites or amazon.
- don’t walk home alone. particularly from parties. especially from parties. there have been a lot of nights i’ve been nervous about walking home at night by myself, and my campus is pretty safe. keep your best girl (or best guy) with you and lose the stress.
- boys suck. have a movie night with your girls, eat pizza and ice cream, and move on.
- you can have fun, but don’t be loud. dorm rooms are small and close together. RAs have the right to tell you to quiet down and even write you up if you don’t. it is actually possible to have a bunch of people in one room without being loud…however, common rooms can be super fun too.
- everyone is as scared as you are. just go up to someone and say hi. the whole year, not just the first week. pretty much everyone is in the same situation as you, everyone is looking for friends. just go up to someone, ask where they’re from, their major, anything. it’s a lot easier to make friends in college than it was in high school.
- don’t worry about looking like a freshman. everyone was a freshman once. don’t be afraid to ask for directions and if possible, make friends with upperclassmen. my best friends were upperclassmen, and i’m better for it. on the other hand, don’t be that freshman that doesn’t go to class, gets blackout drunk every night, and gets kicked out before the year is up. which goes with…
- take care of yourself. I know it may be easy to go to bed at 3 in the morning every night and live on coffee and Red Bull throughout the week, but don’t do it. a handful of times during the semester is perfectly normal, but don’t make it a habit. eat as well as you can, keep your mental health a high priority, and don’t be afraid to talk to a counselor if you start feeling overwhelmed. and nap. naps are amazing. trust me.
and as always, feel free to reach out and ask any questions you need.
it’s been a little over a week since arcadia finished, and since this was the same time last semester that we had auditions (literally the monday before finals week) I felt like this symmetry would be a great homage to the play itself, as well as my experience with it.
my journey with this production began with an audition I hadn’t originally planned on attending for a show I knew almost nothing about. callbacks were scheduled for the most stressful night of my semester and I felt, with some degree of certainty, that I would not get the part. so when I went to the callboard on the second floor of gibson, that rainy day in december, and found my name on the list, I nearly cried from shock and excitement.
over winter break, I read the play any number of times, tried to start understanding my part in the mammoth of a show, and fell in love with it. rehearsals started the second week of the semester, with a two week bootcamp including table work, accent coaching, a number of mini-lectures from experts in the fields of study the play concerned, and a lot of hard work. I lost touch with some of my friends from last semester during this time, missing the crucial reconnecting moments that can make or break friendships freshman year; however, I also started getting to know a new sort of family. our cast became quite close over the course of the show. andrea played my mother in the show, but also listened to me offstage as I exclaimed and complained about my boy problems. our director brendon, pushed us as students and as actors so that our characters and performances were the best they could be.
it was a lot of hard work, almost double the amount of time regularly spent on shows here at washington college. we had rehearsals for two and a half hours tuesday-friday and four hours on saturday or sunday. granted we weren’t always called every day, but we enveloped our self in the world of Arcadia.
this semester has been a lot of firsts. I was in my first production at wac, with my first lead role ever. I dated someone for the first time at school. I broke up with someone for the first time at school. I went to my first birthday ball and my first lacrosse game. I played sports for the first time on an intramural team. and now I’m nearly done with my first year of college.
I can’t believe it’s almost been a year.
- Go out, get drunk, hook up…but make sure that’s never the most interesting thing about you.
- Do not ever underestimate your talent. On two different occasions, I came out of two professors’ office hours crying because both of them couldn’t believe my GPA was as low as it was. One was an English professor and the other was a journalism professor, and I was doing really well in both their classes. I will never forget the look of wild confusion on each of their faces when I shared with them the one detail that could prevent me from studying abroad. Both professors praised my work so highly and told me I was capable of so much more than the grades I was receiving. I walked out crying because, for the first time in my life, I believed them.
- Remember that you’re not in high school anymore and that nobody cares what you were like in high school. It’s ok to take good memories from high school with you to college, but make sure not to get caught up in them. You’re going to want to make all new friends and have all new experiences in college and if you stay too attached to your high school experience, you won’t be open to everything that high school has to offer. Don’t focus on what made you, you in high school. Figure out what your mark in college is going to be—and figure out with whom you’re going to make it.
- Freshman year is a huge transition period, and I wish I had understood that and handled it with more grace. Feel your feelings and know that it will be easier one day, once you’ve found the right people.
- College is, for most of us, the first time we all truly venture out on our own and begin the work of deciding who we will become. It is a beautiful time of discovery and one that you wont get to repeat. So if I may, can I ask one thing of you? Your grades are important, and parties are fun, but make sure you take some time for yourself once in a while, away from it all. Even if it’s for 10 or 15 minutes, once a week, find a place where you can sit and be still, without a care or worry on your mind. For me, it has made all the difference.
Don’t feel like you need to be best friends with the people in your hall because of your proximity. Be selective about those who get to spend time with you.
For the love of God…FOR THE LOVE OF YOURSELF…don’t ever, ever let yourself become someone’s side bitch. You are main bitch material, dammit! It’s been three and a half years, and I am still grappling with that concept. Please, please know that you don’t deserve to be waiting around for his (or her) text messages, and you shouldn’t be watching him text his ex-girlfriend while both of you are on a date. When he asks, “where is your self-respect?” after waking up next to you and then hooking up with your good friend that night, make sure to first, punch him square in the face, and to second, get him the fuck out of your life. Stop waiting around for all those losers to see how fucking awesome you are, and make time for the ones that knew it the moment they met you.
Get out there, join a club, and join the community. I know alcohol and the bar scene is new and exciting, but be safe and try not to be too stupid. I made too many mistakes like that as an 18 year old. It’s not fun to be remembered as the girl who made out with 12 people in two hours.
Everyone is probably telling you right now that these will be the happiest four years of your life. What they probably aren’t telling you is that these will also be some of the worst years of your life. In college you will feel on top of the world and utterly defeated (sometimes in the same day). So just try to remember that you’re not doing anything wrong if you’re having a hard time. And before you jump to any conclusions about how much happier everyone else is, and how much more fun they’re having than you, go sit down and talk to a friend. You’d be surprised by how many people feel lost and directionless at least some point in their college careers.
Try to learn something new, whether it’s about yourself or what you’re studying. School is still so much fun, and it’s the last time you’re going to get the chance. Learn the things you can’t learn outside a classroom, though those things can often be more important.
Please please please don’t be afraid to befriend seniors. Some of my most meaningful relationships of my freshman year, if not my entire college experience, were the ones I had with seniors when I was a freshman. I want nothing more than to give that kind of meaning to someone new. I want you to do well, and I want to pass on a legacy at this school through people like you. Also, you guys are precious, and you have a ton of cafeteria swipes. Upperclassmen friends are not hard to make if endless fries and Lucky Charms are involved. One of my meaningful friends who was a senior when I was a freshman told me just a few weeks ago that my personality hasn’t changed, just that I’ve learned to navigate the world better. And that’s all you need to learn. Enjoy these next four years, ’cause they zoom away a hundred times faster than you think they will. Mine did, and I wish that I was paying more attention to them.
My advice for freshmen is to trust their gut in all decisions they make. Do whatever YOU feel most comfortable with regardless of what your friends may think. Be friends with everyone and don’t stand for “groups” “your crew” “your girls” because in most cases that’s just a euphemism for a clique.
Boys suck. Accept defeat and eat another donut.
I think one of my favorite quotes does a pretty good job at summarizing the advice I would give: “For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Going to the cafeteria alone is not weird; it means you’re okay with yourself.
I won’t lie to you: College is going to turn your world upside down in both the best and worst ways possible. You will lose yourself, and you will find yourself again. You will most likely change your major, and your roommates will probably become your best friends. Inevitably, you will see more of them than you ever thought you’d want to (literally – my roommates frequently parade around my apartment in just t-shirts and underwear). But, they are also the people who will come to know you better than you know yourself and some days you are really going to need that. Never let the fear of failure inhibit you from doing what you know you actually want to do. As cliché as this is about to sound, be sure to revel in every bit of these next four years because it will go faster than you could ever imagine.
Remember, everyone and I mean EVERYONE has a story so before judging or assuming try to just listen. I still catch myself everyday guilty of this, assuming someone is crabby for no reason or being rude just to be rude– you’ll be amazed at the stories you hear when you let someone talk for five minutes.
Take yourself out of your comfort zone. Make yourself deliberately uncomfortable. It is an unparalleled character-building exercise, and you might be able to discern the things you want out of life as well as the things you don’t as a result.
You should know that change is both necessary and inevitable, so try to embrace it as best as you can. Growth is a beautiful, incredibly bittersweet process and there is (I’ve learned) nothing to fear from it. At the end of the day, that’s what you’re here for: to learn, to blossom, and to flourish into whoever it is you decide you’re going to be. Part of that process though, is making mistakes; so be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, and then, keep going. The only thing you’ll regret over these next four years are the things you didn’t do, so make sure you do everything you can; go out on weeknights, dress up for themed parties, attend as many of your university’s sporting events as you can, and always call home at least once a week. Do things you never gave yourself the liberty to do in high school, study abroad, revel in your newfound independence in whatever way you see fit, spend at least one summer on campus, and, perhaps most importantly, when you do finally find your voice – don’t ever be afraid to use it.
Participate in EVERYTHING, even if its not your thing you’ll probably find that if you participate you always have fun. Do not be that kid who is “too cool for school” because you will miss out.
A candle loses no light when lighting others. Build others up whenever you can, support those close to you and help whoever you can – you never know when the tables will turn!
I’m not sure I can think of any better advice than that given by Anna Quindlen in one of her commencement speeches. As a freshman I rolled my eyes at these words, I thought good grades, hard work, and sleep deprivation were the answer. For any freshman who feels the same, I ask you to consider Quindlen’s advice…
“There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree; there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your minds, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul. People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is a cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you’ve gotten back the test results and they’re not so good. So here is what I wanted to tell you today:Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you’d care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast? Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water gap or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a cheerio with her thumb and first finger. Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Each time you look at your diploma, remember that you are still a student, still learning how to best treasure your connection to others. Pick up the phone. Send an e-mail. Write a letter. Kiss your Mom. Hug your Dad. Get a life in which you are generous. Look around at the azaleas in the suburban neighborhood where you grew up; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black, black sky on a cold night. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Once in a while take money you would have spent on beers and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.”
you will spend as much of your free time sleeping as possible
it’s weird to think that i’m already three-quarters of the way done with my freshman year of college. with spring break next week, I’ve taken to reflecting and organizing my thoughts about going to school here.
my first semester was one of sky-high ups and lows as far down as they come. I struggled with social anxiety and feelings of depression, but at the same time, I experienced moments of elation that surpassed all those before them. I felt anger and disdain towards people in a capacity that i never had before, and an overwhelming sense of appreciation for the people around me. I learned a lot about myself and who I wanted (and didn’t want) to be.
and this semester has turned everything in on its head. i felt incredibly lost at the beginning, and more tired than I have been since junior year of high school. there were a lot of friends I lost, but even more that I gained. this semester I found a community of friends, and discovered a sense of belonging, something I’ve been searching for years to find.
but washington college isn’t heaven. it’s not the fields of elysium or a castle on the clouds. it’s not magic, it’s a school. and it’s what you make of it. I’m lucky I guess, that I found a school that feels like home. to be honest, there are a number of people who don’t feel the same way I do. and I want to be candid:
this blog is biased.
and it’s not because I get paid for it (i do) but because it’s hard not to write about the things that make you happy. it’s hard not to gush about a school that made you feel better about education than 7 years of public schooling. because as much as this blog is to share my school, it’s also to share my life. when i look back, years from now, i’d rather remember the good and not the bad. i’d prefer to look fondly on the nights spent stargazing or how amazing my experience at birthday ball was, rather than a bad night of drinking or fighting with my friends about trivial matters.
washington college isn’t for everyone. it was perfect for me in ways that might drive a different student up the wall. wac is a small school, it’s intimate, a little laid-back at times, a little rowdy at others. maybe it’s because I’m still a bright-eyed freshman, but i like to think that over the next four years washington college is a place where i can continue to feel like I can be myself.