Justin Guiffre: A letter from a freshman year survivor

Dear Justin 2007,

This is a letter from yourself one year in the future; a much older and more experienced Justin. It may have been only one year but believe me a lot more happens freshmen year than almost any other year of your life. In other words I know a lot more than you do, so listen up.

To get started, DO YOUR ROOMMATE AGREEMENT. Just doing this document will likely get you far more sleep (you will need it) and probably help you avoid some very awkward incidents. On that note, specify when “visitors” are allowed and establish some signal for when it is okay to come back to the room. And remember, that one roommate you just can’t agree with really isn’t such a bad guy; just try talking to him.

On that note, get as much sleep as possible. I know you could stay up and watch South Park for another hour or two, but in the end you will be far happier getting up for that 8 a.m. class if you hadn’t just gone to bed two hours ago. Oh, you were expecting it to be easy to get up for those classes? Think again.

You don’t know true pain until you have to get up that early in college multiple times a week. I know that you’re thinking that for most classes nobody is taking attendance, but that doesn’t mean anything. GW is the most expensive school in the country, meaning that by my offhand, vaguely accurate calculations every hour you go to class is roughly worth $311.11. Is that extra hour of sleep worth it? It may feel that way at times, but trust me you aren’t going to learn the entire Middle East’s international relations history on your own.

But enough about potentially naked roommates and skipping classes. I know what really interests you are the ladies. The math here is in your favor. According to the College Board, GW’s student body is 56% women – rounding out to about 1.2 girls per guy. Just keep things simple and don’t get in over your head.

For your social life as a whole, make sure to have fun but maybe lay off the weeknight parties. “Arabic Class Thursday Nights” are a great time but “Hung-Over 8:00 a.m. Microeconomics” is not. Enjoy yourself when you know you’ve truly earned it and make sure that there is recovery time for any possible sicknesses, self-inflicted or not.

While parties are a great way to meet people, dialing that cute girl from dean’s seminar during a party is not a good way to meet people. Keep it relaxed, overdoing it makes everything crash: grades, happiness and friendships.

The key to the first year of college is balance. Be nice to your roommates but be firm with them when necessary. Enjoy the weekends but only because you’ve been working hard during the week. Sleep when you really need it but know what you’re missing if you don’t make it to class. Girls are like anything else, just keep a good balance. Same goes for establishing equilibrium between parties and homework. The biggest theme is to balance fun with work. Both are invaluable to enjoying college.

Well that is my advice after experiencing the first year of college. Good luck surviving all of it, because there will always be the good and the bad. But if you do nothing else, please, please sign that roommate agreement.

Justin 2008

The writer, a sophomore majoring in political science is a Hatchet columnist.

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