OPINION: First-year mistakes affect us all

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Taulbee Jackson is a first-year intended
communications majorfrom Cloverdale, Indiana. 
CHRISTA SCHROEDEL / THE DEPAUW

Starting things is usually pretty hard to do. More importantly, one of the hardest things to start is living on your own for the first time.

I’ve never had to worry about doing things like making my own meals because I had to (I forgot to eat until 9:17p.m. the other day). Nor have I had to do my own laundry (I just recently went from an XL to a Medium in an hour. I’m proud of me, too!). I recently saw a fellow first-year trip up the stairs on her way to the GCPA. That isn’t very pertinent, but it’s funny. 

Upon realizing I probably wasn’t the only one adjusting to changes throughout the week, I went on an expedition to see what other people were struggling with, and I was surprised by some of the answers I received. 

I expected a few of them: doing laundry, dealing with cooking, and remembering to be responsible for everything yourself. However, some answers really threw me for a loop. My resident assistant, junior Yazid Gray, talked to me about how the dangers of drugs and alcohol became very real when it began to affect his friends.

“It was always just one of those things you heard about, growing up,” he said. “But when it’s you in the waiting room with your best friend in the hospital, it becomes very real, very fast.”

 

One of the most common answers I hadn’t been expecting was “living with a complete stranger.”

First-year Alec da Silveira said, “I always have a joke ready when I don’t know what to say: ‘You know what I’m bad at? Conversation Topics!’ It breaks the ice and makes you seem more approachable because you’re taking a leap, and it’s like you’re inviting someone new to take that leap with you.”

Some people said they weren’t used to wearing shoes in the shower (can’t say I am either). Others said their biggest problem was getting ahold of their books on time. My next door neighbor, first-year Alaina Matthews, managed to mess up ordering her books on Amazon three different times due to the fact that she’s never ordered anything online on her own before. Somehow, she managed to improperly fill out the address line. Personally, I had problems with getting my textbooks because the book I need is out of stock, as well as out of print (sorry Professor Miles!).

“Dealing with the weather” was another unexpected answer. The first day we arrived on campus, it was raining sideways, and I had forgotten a raincoat at my house. However, one of my fellow classmates told me he didn’t even know what a raincoat looked like because he is from Arizona where raincoats are nonexistent.

Whether it be adjusting to a new city size, culture, cleaning, cooking, working printers, making your own decisions, watching what you eat or just being far away from home in general, college is a time for change. Everybody I talked to said they were glad they came to college, even if it is different. I, for one, am looking forward to the many new changes to come. 

Jackson is a first-year intended communications major from Cloverdale, Indiana.