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The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

College Etiquette: Moving In, Join… something, and other advice for the new year

Author: Leya Burns

Oh. Wow. It’s the beginning of the school year already? I demand a recount.

But while I’m waiting on those recount results, I guess I’m going to have to just act like it is, in fact, time to go back to classes. After all, I’m certain you all missed me terribly last semester (and if you didn’t, don’t tell me. Just let me have this one).

Uprooting your whole life, deciding how much of it you can throw away so you don’t have to pack it, and then shoving it all into boxes at the last possible second isn’t always easy or fun, and by “always” I mean “ever.” Moving is weird and no one likes it. I certainly wouldn’t trust someone who did. There are, however, ways to make it less weird and awful to assimilate into your new space.

I’ve moved in quite a bit over the last three years; I even did it in a completely new country and in a different language. Since this is my last year moving into Loyola (gulp), I thought what better time to share some of my hard-earned wisdom with all of you. You’re welcome.

Think of this article as part etiquette column, part advice to make sure your life doesn’t suck. Now all I need to do is learn to take my own advice …

Do you really need that?

Obviously this article is getting into your eager little hands after you’ve already moved in, but I hope that I can delay at least one unnecessary trip to Target on the Collegetown shuttle. Everyone wishes their dorm room looked like the cover of a Crate & Barrel catalog, or like Buffy and Willow’s dorm at UC Sunnydale. (I’ve been in classrooms smaller than that!) But, tragically, this is the real world, where most likely your room is not as big as your room at home. It might be weirdly shaped, and oh, hey, there’s another person living in there with you.

So as much as you might like having a cute little study nook with a folding chair and an end table and maybe eight more pillows—it’s not going to happen. The more stuff you have, the more you risk invading on your roommate’s space, and I really hope you don’t want to be that person. Your roommate definitely doesn’t want to be the person who tapes their room down the middle to divide the space. Learning to live with one another’s stuff is a whole lot easier when there’s less stuff to contend with. As a bonus, it makes moving out that much better—and trust me, as much as moving in totally bites, moving out is a whole lot worse.

C’mon, get yourself out there!

I didn’t join the poetry club until the second half of freshman year. I wrote my first article for The Greyhound in late April of that year, and didn’t write another until the fall. I didn’t get involved in theater until I was a sophomore.

For some upperclassmen, this might sound sadly familiar. It wasn’t even that I didn’t know I was interested in those activities—I did know, because I did those kind of things in high school. I just sort of didn’t do anything about it. Guess what? I do, in fact, regret getting started so late. That was a definite mistake on my part.

You’ve probably heard “Get involved! Get involved! GET INVOLVED!” about a million times by now, and I’m not going to say it again. (Although, technically, I just said it three times.) Instead, I’m going to give you the corollary to that piece of advice: you don’t have to keep doing it if you really don’t want to.

Did you hear me? You’re an adult now. If you don’t like something, you can stop doing it. Now, I’m not saying that you can just break your commitments whenever you want; you still have to see those things through, which is another part of being an adult. But if you go to a club meeting in the beginning of the semester and you decide that maybe you were wrong and you really don’t want to learn how to underwater basket weave, you can try something else. It’s allowed. Which is why it’s so much better to get involved in the beginning of the year—there’s fewer commitments, less stress and fewer deadlines, making it much less of a problem if you decide something isn’t for you. Backing out of something that you agreed to is kind of a jerk move. Not returning after one brief club meeting is not, so keep trying things until you find what fits.

Wow. I must be getting soft in my old age. I can’t even think of a way to be sassy about this.

You’re not just here for you

Maybe this is your dream school and you’re studying your dream major, and your room is just dreamy and everything about your life is just a dream. That’s fantastic. (Do you mind telling me how you do that?) But this isn’t the Your-Name-Here Variety Hour. There are literally thousands of other people around you, each living lives that are just as valuable as your perfect dream. The more time your spend thinking about the people’s lives around you, the better we’ll all be.

This isn’t just about getting involved with service, which you should still totally do. This is the little things—surprising your roommate with candy after a bad day, or offering to make a pillow fort and watch movies with your neighbor or even just learning to leave your new friends alone when they need it. You know the whole men and women for others thing? You can start that on the most basic level by just considering how you fit into the lives of the people around you.


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College Etiquette: Moving In, Join… something, and other advice for the new year