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…and unfortunately, so has my blog. Because my topic was about “how to survive freshman year” I’m not going to continue writing over the summer or next year. I’ve learned a lot from creating a blog and it’s been a great experience, but I can’t continue this beat any longer.

Some of my favorite/most popular posts:

Almost every freshman I’ve talked to agrees that this year went by way too fast. The school year is coming to an end and summer is only days away for Rowan students. Over the past year, many students have taken different paths, joined sports, clubs or activities. At college, it’s up to each individual  what they choose to make of their university experience. I’ve interviewed five students who were all involved in different activities in order to gain different perspectives about the student body. Alliey Schillberg, Rebecca Crawford, Erika Hawxhurst, Alyssa DeNorscia and Danielle Klemt were happy to fill me in about how they spent their freshman year.

Alliey Schillberg is a freshman who stayed with her high school boyfriend throughout her first year of college. She was in a relationship during her senior year of high school, which lasted through the summer. Alliey and her boyfriend Max decided to make their relationship work throughout the year. Here’s what Alliey has to say about the ups and downs of having a boyfriend during her freshman year of college…

Rebecca Crawford is a freshman who decided to join the Peer Referral and Orientation Staff, otherwise known as the PROS. Rebecca told me she joined this club because she wanted to get more involved in Rowan’s clubs and student life, and said it was one of the best choices she’s made at Rowan.

Erika Hawxhurst decided to pledge for the sorority Sigma Sigma Sigma during spring semester. Erika told me that she joined because she wanted to get involved more on campus, and felt bored during her fall semester. She said since joining a sorority she’s been extremely busy and has made many new friendships.

Like many students, Alyssa DeNorscia applied to Rowan as “undeclared.” Several months into the school year, she decided that she wanted to be an Education Major. She found the declaration process, however, to be very confusing and eventually decided that she wanted to do Psychology instead. Here’s what she has to say about being “undeclared”…

Danielle Klemt is a member of Rowan University’s Women’s Softball Team. Danielle played softball throughout high school and wanted to be part of the team here at Rowan. She says softball has been a huge time commitment for her over the past two semesters, but is glad she got the experience of being on the team.

What I’ve learned from talking to Rowan students is that there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to spend your freshman year. Now that this year has come to an end, I can’t emphasize these words enough: college is what you make of it. It’s best to explore your own interests and join clubs, activities or sports that are right for you. It seems that the students who are the most involved on campus are the happiest, and it’s definitely a good idea to explore what Rowan has to offer.

Results from my poll revealed that you want to hear more about Rowan After Hours and other activities.

Basically, Rowan After Hours is located in the Student Center on Thursday-Saturday nights from 9pm-1am. It’s Rowan’s way of providing activities and events for students on the weekends. Depending on the weekend, they show movies, offer free food, provide a shuttle to Philly, and there’s always a game room. Attending these events is a good way to meet new people, have a good time and connect with those who share similar interests.

The Student University Programmers set up these and other events that are either free or inexpensive for students. If you click the link for the “Calendar of Events” on their website, you can see more of what they have to offer.

Here were some of the recent events provided by RAH and SUP:

Let me know…

…what you want to know! Because the semester is quickly coming to an end, I want to cover topics that incoming freshman are most curious about. Take a second to vote and I’ll do my best to write about your top picks!

Professors at Rowan

Since I just scheduled my courses for next semester, I can’t believe I forgot to mention (and emphasize!) such a critical part of the college experience. The professors!

When choosing my classes for this current semester, I selected the courses and times that I thought I’d enjoy the most.  What I didn’t realize, however, was that I should have put more time into making sure that I got the best professors.  When you pick a class that you want to take, it says which professor is assigned, and I STRONGLY recommend going to Rate My Professor before choosing the class.

Unless, of course, you want to have experiences like these…

  • This morning, my composition professor referred to herself as “Special Ed when it comes to time management,” and then proceeded to address my study group as, “the threesome.”  Oh.
  • A political science professor that I had last semester spent the entire three months talking about her opinion on New Jersey politics. That would have been fine if that’s what the course was about… but it was “American Government.” I wish someone had told me that I didn’t need to buy the book because I only opened it once or twice throughout the whole semester.
  • My economics professor makes learning Macro almost as hard as neuroscience, by speeding through chapters and becoming angered by students who want to ask questions.  I find myself afraid to participate because if I were to say the wrong thing I fear that he would snap.
  • Friends of mine are in a math class where their professor is an older man who clearly loves teaching his subject, but gives out 7-10 page hand-written packets each class.  They say that it is impossible to sit through two and a half hours of his scribbling on the board and weekly quizzes that are given out one minute before the class ends.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Despite some of these examples, Rowan has many excellent professors. You’d be missing out on the best possible college experience if you don’t take some of them. Something I didn’t realize before this semester was that your entire experience with a subject depends on how it’s taught, and who it’s taught by.  Choose wisely, if you can!

A few days after moving to Rowan’s campus, a couple of friends and I wanted to know what the surrounding area has to offer.  After some exploration, we found some cool places that are within walking distance of campus. None of us have cars, and we found that you don’t need one to find things to do off campus. Hopefully this saves some of you some wandering and trial/error!

1. SILENCE. Unless you live in a single, it is nearly impossible to focus and get things done with a roommate or friends in the room. If you’re one of those people, like me, who need some peace and quiet to work the Campbell Library is the place to go.

2.  Group study rooms! If you have a project to do, you can reserve a conference room. These are quiet areas where you can work with members in a group without distractions. All you need is a valid Student ID.

3. The workout from these stairs:

4. Printing! Most students have their own printers, but when you run out of paper, or the ink runs dry you can always go to the library. I was mad at first when I found out that we have to pay for printing… but you get a $15 credit, which goes a long way.

5. The Reference Desk. Once you reach the top of the stairs (shown above), you’ll find a reference desk with a huge sign above that says “ASK ME!” The employees have always been willing and helpful to assist me with anything I’ve asked, from borrowing headphones to where I can find the periodicals. You can also send them an e-mail if you need help with a research project or assignment.

Many girls who have been in a high school relationship break up when it’s time to go away to college. I can’t count the number of couples from my high school that split weeks into school. This is a scary thing for those who go away to school in a relationship, and really want to stay with their significant other. It can work though… if both partners are equally committed to each other. Maintaining a long distance relationship requires A LOT of effort, and can have its ups and downs.

To stay, or not to stay, in a high school relationship…

  • Is it worth it? You need to decide whether you can see yourself staying with your boyfriend throughout and after college. If you think so, it’s worth it to stay with this person. If you can’t imagine this, you may want to think about whether or not you want to try to make it work. If you’re going to remain exclusive, you need to commit one hundred percent. This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re going to be with someone, be with them and ONLY THEM.
  • How often could we see each other? If, for example, you’re going to school in New Jersey, and your boyfriend in Vermont, visiting can be very difficult. You could go months at a time without seeing each other, and this is very hard for many people. It would be more realistic to stay in a relationship where you could visit each other at least once a month, or every couple of weeks.
  • Would I be tempted to cheat? If you could see yourself wanting to be with other people, or being unfaithful you need to consider how important your current relationship is to you. Would it be worth it to slip up one night and ruin everything you have? Prioritize.
  • How often would we talk, and how? With cell phones, it’s easy to stay in touch as often as you’d like, and this helps couples feel “connected,” even when miles apart. OoVoo and Skype are also programs to download, because video chatting is more personal than a text or call. Open communication is a must. You need to be completely honest with your partner, and trust that they will do the same.

My boyfriend and I didn’t start dating until this past September, when I began school. We had been unofficial all summer, because neither of us knew how we would feel once I left for college. Once fall came around, however, we realized that we didn’t want to see other people and wanted to put the effort in to make it work. He’s an hour and a half away, which makes it hard, but we make it work. If anyone has any questions about maintaining a long distance relationship, I’ll be glad to answer your comments!

I asked sixty students from Rowan how often they go home, and the results confirmed what I already knew. Thirty two fell into the “I go home once or less per month” category, sixteen said they “go home every three weeks,” seven students go home “every other weekend” and only five out of sixty students said they “go home each weekend.” Overwhelmingly, students stay at Rowan for the weekends.

I am one of the students that go home once or less per month, and I do this because I don’t feel the need to be at home. When I take the hour and a half trip, however, I am reminded that my life at school is not my only life. I’ve realized that college students  live two very different lives. There are now two rooms, sets of friends, and lifestyles.

The first time I went home after moving in was October. I remember saying how “weird” it was to be back, and I kept thinking about how much everything has stayed exactly the same. I, however, was the thing that had changed. After getting over the inital shock of returning home, I found myself very bored. Many of my friends live at their colleges as well, and unless we plan weekends to see each other, it’s hard to find others to hang out with. My old bedroom is filled with pictures from high school, and things that I used to treasure. Looking around my room now,  a lot of the faces in the pictures have become strangers to me. Sometimes, I feel like a stranger in my own room. Almost as if I’ve outgrown it.

If any of my friends are home too, I’ll make it a priority to spend time with them. Otherwise, I spend a lot of time with my family and relax. Since my life at school does not include them, we catch up and talk about what’s new in all of our lives. It’s hard at first to balance this “double life” that comes along with living at school. I think it’s easiest to acknowledge and embrace these different parts of your life, and try to make the most out of each.

Emily Candio is a friend of mine who goes to University of North Carolina Wilmington. Several weeks into school she asked me the question, “Do you hang out with anyone who doesn’t drink at school?” After thinking for several moments, it crossed my mind that I don’t know or hang out with anyone who isn’t a social drinker. She told me that many of her friends don’t drink, and described her plan to take a “Month of Sobriety” to see what it was like. Little did she know… this experiment would change her life.

 

When exactly did you start drinking?

I had my first drink at thirteen, and binge drank regularly by the time I was a sophomore.  It was an integral part of my social life in high school, and I continued with this trend in my first few months of college.  

Why did you decide to stop drinking?

First off, I was injuring myself regularly. I was carted into my dorm in a wheelchair on the first day of college—my foot was broken in four places from the catastrophic mixture of hard liquor and bike riding. Days after I abandoned my limp, I again tempted my balance with 40 ounces of Miller Highlife and a skateboard, twisting my ankle and landing me back on wheels—and not the recreational kind. What really did it for me was the people I met in school, people who defied all norms by abstaining from college’s beverage of choice. I was intrigued by this lifestyle that was so foreign to me, and wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of living this way as well. Plus, I think I had forgotten my dignity and my flip flops at a few too many frat parties, and wasn’t sure how many free passes I had left to get them back.

What do you find most difficult about abstaining from alcohol while living at college?

Finding things to do. Although I enjoy a good kegger, the problem surfaces when everyone wants to stay until five in the morning, and I wasn’t planning on sleeping there—I didn’t even pack a toothbrush! And finding commonalities with people who no longer know their own names. Some nights I prefer to throw on my footie pajamas, act all indie and write poetry—and not many people jump on this bandwagon come Saturday night.

Are you ever pressured to drink?

Yes. A lot of my friends at school miss “Drunk Emily,” and beg for her to come out for just a night. It never really transcends harmless pleads; I think they just don’t understand my motivations. It never becomes an issue, because I am doing it only for myself.

Since you stopped drinking, has the nature of your relationships changed in any significant ways?

Definitely. I have more one-on-one interactions with people, because many nights consist of one other straggler and me. The relationships built with non-drinkers is much different from the ones I forged in high school, because many of them revolved around smashing our lives and scrambling to piece them back together. Also, I have lost friends. Drain the booze and some friendships were too shallow to remain afloat.  

What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow your path of sobriety?

Don’t! Just kidding. Get a hobby. I think that some people drink to justify that they are good, fun-loving folks. Perhaps they also cannot conceptualize a sufficiently eventful night without it (although I cannot conceive of something more wild than chocolate chip cookies and lights out by nine). But, if, for example, you get really involved in the music scene in town, and center your good time around shows and concerts, alcohol will take the highroad to this superior interest. If possible, it is also good to have an ally. Maybe not even the same person every night, but just another sober soul to level with is important in remaining comfortable.