The Dos and Dont's of Freshman Year

BY: DANIELLE GERMAIN & JAHA KNIGHT

Freshman year is unlike any other. There are so many highs and lows, and the only thing you can really do is navigate your way through each obstacle you’re faced with head on. As sophomore year approaches, the two of us have become like sisters, as a result of the trials and tribulations we’ve experienced. We would like to take this time to just reflect on the crazy moments of our special first year, as well as give incoming freshmen all the tips they need to survive here at American University.

On Finding Love in a Hopeless Place (a.k.a. the dorms)

Jaha Knight (Freshman in School of Communication): I knew college was going to be rough when my mom c--kblocked me on the third day. I had just moved into my dorm when this fine man with a Morris Chestnut smile, and I do mean FINE, knocks on my door. It was the maintenance man y’all, but I could barely even get my words together. Nothing was even wrong in my room, but I quickly made up something which involved him having to come back. Before long, my lovely mother decided to show up with my grandmother to drop some things off that I left at home. So I’m making conversation with them when all of a sudden there’s a knock on my door. The maintenance man had returned. Even though  I was ready to shoot my shot, he looked up, saw my mom sitting at my desk with her arms crossed and he froze up! He started stuttering and was gone before I knew it. I have never been so hurt in my life. So word of advice if your parents are coming to visit — make sure they call in advance. Oh, and always try to shoot your shot the FIRST time.

On Being Bad and Broke

Danielle Germain (Freshman in School of Public Affairs and SOC): Sushi is one of my favorite foods, but you will never catch me eating it in Washington,D.C. ever again. I went to an all-you-can-eat sushi bar in Van Ness and it was literally the worst experience of my life. When you’re a broke college kid, you look for any excuse to eat either cheap or free food. Yet I still thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and try to eat as much sushi as I could fit in my body, which ended up being about $20. I was really trying to eat like royalty! When I went to bed that night I felt weird, but I just ignored the signs my body was trying to give me. Around six in the morning, I woke up out of my sleep and threw up everywhere. In fact, I spent the entire weekend non-stop vomiting. After barely surviving that weekend, I realized cheap food is NOT always better. Sometimes you have to spend a little extra, to you know, avoid dying. My advice? Budget for the big things, so you can eat good food and not be broke 100 percent of the time.

JK: DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT, spend all your Eagle Bucks/Dining Dollars within the first two weeks of the semester. You will find yourself so hurt mid-semester. I will never forget waiting in the line at Starbucks for a solid 15 minutes with my taste buds set on a caramel Frappuccino, just for homegirl to decline my card and tell me I had no Eagle Bucks. College is one giant test in managing your funds in order to sustain yourself during the next four years, so be sure to  learn how to budget your money. It is a long wait until the end of the semester, but if you have to spend it sans swipes, make sure your friends got you.

On Parties and C.P. (Cool People) Time

JK: One of my biggest mistakes that I didn’t really learn until second semester, was to stop being on time to parties. I remember during Welcome Week, walking into the University of District of Columbia white party, with my face beat to the Gods and outfit past fleek. I was so excited, it was my first QUE party and I just knew it was going to be lit. I walked into the party with my friends right at 10 p.m. feeling like Beyonce, only to find that the party was empty. Like, just us and the dj. We stood around for over two hours until it really got going. Social events rarely start on time, unless they are hosted by clubs on campus. Take that extra 30 minutes, or even an hour, to get your outfit just right and hang with your friends. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

My second biggest mistake when it came to parties, was going underdressed. This happened to me once at a Howard Party. In my defense, I was told the attire was laid-back, but little did I know, laid-back at Howard really meant pop-out. Even underdressed, your girl is the queen of finesse and snuck the squad in anyway. But word of advice, never show up in joggers and t-shirt. It’s always better to overdress than to underdress.      

On How 2Fix Can’t Fix the World’s Problems

DG: Anderson Hall is really trash. It’s not the people or the RAs — they are great — but rather the hall itself. I really thought that finding a used tampon in the shower was the worse thing that could happen.  Then I found a mouse in my room. I would’ve preferred to see the mouse scurry across the floor to announce its arrival, but instead it decided to sh-t all over my room and bed. I slept at my boyfriend’s house for the whole week, because I wasn’t stepping foot in my room until Nathan (yes, I named the mouse) was gone. When my roommate and I called 2FIX, we specifically asked them to leave more than one trap, just in case Nathan decided to bring some of his friends back. But of course when 2FIX came, they left us two traps. I know their resources might be limited, but come on.We didn’t end up catching the mouse either. Nathan is still in my room, and he likes to visit a couple friends on my floor as well. Despite the name, 2FIX doesn’t actually fix much. So my advice is to never leave food out everywhere, because the mice will come and 2FIX will not care.

On Making Your Way Downtown

JK: Always pay attention to which direction you are going on the metro. If you’re like me, you could have the intentions of going to Howard and instead end  up in Silver Spring. Also make sure to know what time it closes on weekend. I am still blown away at all the times I got all cute, got lost on the metro and had to pay a sickeningly expensive Uber just to get back.     

On Failing and Flying

DG: I'm going to tell you guys how I failed Macroeconomics. No one wants to fail a class, but you don’t learn until you get to college that the world doesn’t end if it happens.  Econ was just one of those subjects I could not grasp. I really tried everything: going to my professor’s office hours, TA reviews and study guides. I went to my professor's office hours about three weeks into the semester, only to hear her  tell me I was failing her class. Being as stubborn as I am, I just thought my professor was a horrible person. I decided to stick it out. When I failed the course, I couldn't really say I wasn't warned. Failing wasn't funny then, but now I look back on the experience and laugh. I guess that's one of the most important things I learned in my fall semester. You're not supposed to be perfect and nothing about freshman year is going to be like how it looks on TV. You're not going to be good at every single thing you do and that's okay. You're in school for a reason, to keep learning and growing. So just know that it'll all pay off in the end.