Things I Wish I Knew Entering Stonehill College
Now that my first year experience is over and I am, technically a sophomore (have I mentioned that’s really strange?) and I’ve been reflecting a lot on the whirl-wind that was my freshman year.
Although a few short months ago Class of ’16 were first years, I have already heard several of them (and of course other classes) ready to groan about the incoming freshman, Class of 2017. I’m pretty sure I chuckled at the irony, but I get it.
Freshman. First years. Typically, people think of them as loud, crazy, fresh-out-of-high-school and a tad immature. And in many cases, they are! But if you think about it, that’s not really fair of other people. I’m ready to bet that 99% of each freshman class is just so nervous, and ready to find their niche in college that they feel like they have to be out there. They have to be loud because they want to be heard. They want to be crazy, because lets be serious, its COLLEGE, the thing they have been hearing about for the previous four years! As for the immature, well hey, we all develop at our own pace. To each their own!
While others might want to roll their eyes at the Class of 2017, I’m ready to help out, even if it’s only giving directions. I know what it’s like to get lost on the first, second and third day, and having to find my own way around campus without any help.
And let me tell you, that ain’t fun.
Ask for help you say? Well, as a freshman, approaching anyone is kind of intimidating. I just sort of glanced around for anyone who looked as completely lost as me, and hurried over to ask them if they knew where they were.
And that wasn’t nearly as intimidating as finding somewhere to sit at lunch! Yes, I had my roommates, made friends in orientation, and in the Intercultural Experience Program…and that was amazing. But a familiar face wasn’t always to be found when I went to the Commons, and it was sometimes lonely having lunch all by my lonesome.
I’m getting off topic.
Okay! Here are a couple things I wish I knew coming into Stonehill that would’ve made my first week/month a little easier! For anyone reading this that knows an incoming freshman, feel free to share this with them.
1) Don’t wear your lanyard around your neck. There is nothing wrong with being a freshman, but I have found that everyone always goes “Aww, look there’s a freshman!”, spotting them by the lanyard around their neck. I like lanyards when I need to remember my keys or my card when my hands are full. But usually it will get in your way, and its entirely unpractical wearing it like that the entire year.
2) “What’s the difference between getting food at the Commons, The Hill, vending machines and Dunkin Donuts?!” is what I wondered the entire first month on campus. Stonehill has three different funds: Your Fall/Spring Meal Plan, Hill dollars and Food Flex dollars.
- · The Commons, Aces Place and The Hill will take money from your Fall/Spring Meal plan.
- · Hill dollars you add yourself; you use Hill dollars to purchase things from the vending machines, or buy things at the info desk. I’m also pretty sure you can buy things at CVS or other surrounding businesses.
- · Each semester, $50 is automatically put on your Food Flex dollars when you purchase your regular meal plan. You can use Food Flex at surrounding restaurants, like the Dunkin Donuts on campus, or Bertucci’s (a student favorite) down the street.
3) Make sure you check the times that the Commons is open. My family sometimes has unusually late dinners, around 8 or 9 o’clock, so it was a strange jump to suddenly have to each on schedule. Of course, even if you miss the times of the Commons, you can eat and socialize at The Hill!
4) Keep your Hill card and your dorm key in the same place. I know a lot of girls who bought a Vera Bradley wristlet, to which you could attach your key. It saves time, and you don’t have to fish around in your back-pack/bag to take out one, then the other. It’s also small when you attend one of the mixers and you only need those two things for the night.
5) You don’t need to take out your card to open your dorm. I kept my wallet with my Hill card in the front most pocket of my back-pack, and all I had to do when I got to Villa Theresa was swing around and press the pocket against the detector thingy. The magnetic chip in the card could be read through my wallet and the back-pack, and I didn’t even need to un-zip any pockets. Small, but saves time, especially when it’s raining or freezing out!
6) Turtle cookies. BUY THEM. They are beyond delicious, and are AMAZING when heated up in the microwave.
7) Learn the names of the Sodexo workers, and be nice to them. They are very friendly, and extremely nice. Sonia makes amazing fried rice, Chris makes the best taco’s on Taco Tuesday, and Chelsea knows exactly what I order before I even open my mouth. They have to serve a couple thousand students, a bit of kindness every now and again is appreciated. Besides, you might get a side of free fries sometime!
8) Stonehill occasionally sells Ben & Jerry’s! Win? I think yes. When and how often I am never sure, I have only caught the elusive night twice in the entire year.
9) There are little beautiful hidden places all over campus. Take the time to really explore, you won’t regret it. Personally, I love the little tables by the pond outside of Health Services, the fountain and tables outside at the back of the Commons, and the chairs in Stanger near the vending machines. I’ve heard the room on the second floor of Martin is also pretty great. Anyways, find the nooks and crannies! They are great when you need to study in silence, or need a place to have discussions with friends.
10) SEM BRUNCH. This is like, Stonehill’s best kept secret. I heard about the delicious food, but it seemed WAY too early for me to want to get up on a weekend. Huge mistake! Sem brunch is a fantastic, amazing and beautiful thing. Not only is the food absolutely heavenly, it’s also cheap. Sure, the walk all the way past the Sports Complex is a bit far, but let me assure you it is worth it. My favorite thing is the chocolate chip pancakes, with their omelets coming in a close second.
Well…I suppose that is about it…
The only other little tip I would give is carry around that little map you’ll get at orientation. That and don’t be afraid to branch out and meet people! Sure it’s scary, but you’ll eventually find amazing friends and people you will know for the rest of your life. Take advantage of the fact that you are new; ask as many questions about Stonehill and others that you can. Dive in; join clubs you’re interested in! It will help lessen homesickness, and keep you from sitting around bored in your room. You will also meet some of the coolest people ever, people you can relate to and share your own experiences with.
Oh another tip, and extremely important one: you don’t have to be best friends with your roommate/s! Personally, I was lucky enough to room with three amazing ladies, that I had a great year with. But I think a mistake that many freshmen make, is enter college thinking they need to be best bud’s with their roommate.
You’re thrown together based on a dozen questions; most likely you’ll have more differences than similarities. You can be lucky enough to meet someone who you will be best friend with, and that’s awesome!
But just because you’re living with them doesn’t mean you have to do everything together. Yes it’s good to have someone to sit with in the Commons and walk with to class, but don’t limit yourself.
It should go without saying to respect each other’s space, and their possessions. You don’t have to be best friends, but you do have to live with each other. Just respect each other, and set down those ground rules first thing and you should be fine. Don’t be afraid to pull out that roommate contract if he/she is violating any of them. It might seem weird, but hey, it’s your room too right? If their stumbling in a two o’clock in the morning isn’t as funny during Month Three as it was during Month One, and is interrupting your lifestyle, let ‘em know!
Well, I think that is about it. Class of 2017, good luck and see you soon!
Questions? Comments? Just want to fangirl over Kpop with me? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me at @Hillfirstyear