My freshman survival guide

by Samantha Hirsch

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When you think of San Diego State, what is the first thing that pops into your head? The athletics? The Greek life? The overpriced market food? For me, it’s “Star Wars.” Why, you ask? SDSU and the epic saga have a lot more in common than you think.

One obvious similarity is the temperature. Tatooine, a fictional planet in the Star Wars universe and SDSU’s campus are unbearably hot. So much so, that hallucinating from heat stroke and befriending a couple of peculiar robots actually seems pretty plausible. Have you seen the influx of robot wannabes, walking around campus covered head-to-toe in tacky, gold jewelry? C-3PO? More like C-3P, hell no. And the ultimate parallel? The first three movies (years) are amazing, but if you have to endure another three, you will most likely weep uncontrollably.

So, it’s only fitting that I began my experience at SDSU a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Even though it was actually just four short years ago that I moved into the Cuicicalli suites, it truly does feel like a lifetime. As I began my ninth and final semester, I can’t help but look back on my time and realize not only how much I have grown, but how much I still have to grow. Because of this, I want to pass on the knowledge and wisdom that I have gained throughout my years at this university. And by “knowledge” and “wisdom,” I don’t mean the difficult things you learn in a classroom, such as the square root of pi, or who fought in the Spanish-American War. I’m talking about the things you learn outside of the classroom: The things you experience, the individuals you encounter and the trials and tribulations along the way. Here are a few hints, tips and tricks in my unofficially, official freshman survival guide.

Join something, anything, and get involved. It may sound cliche but joining a club or organization is a fantastic way to meet people.  During my freshman year I made the mistake of getting into a relationship way too fast. We were hot, heavy and couldn’t get enough of each other. Before class, after class and everywhere in between, we were all over each other, like a student to a home-cooked meal.

Yes, this relationship was between my bed and me, and it turned sour fast.  Your residence hall room should be compared to a good burger or some casual sex: You’re just in and out.  The less time you spend in your room, the more time you’ll have to join something that you are passionate about.

Does helping the less fortunate interest you? Join Greek life. Played sports in high school? Continue playing on an intramural team. SDSU has a plethora of options for all kinds of people, including cultural, political and religion-based groups, so use your free time wisely and make your years here count, which brings me to my next point …

Don’t abuse your newly found freedom.  Just like Uncle Ben told Spider-Man, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”  You were accepted to SDSU because of your intelligence—use it. Don’t walk home alone at 3 a.m. and don’t blow off your studies.  Know your limits. Be that as it may …

Have fun and live it up. These are supposed to be the best four (or so) years of your life.  Stay up until sunrise. Go to that party on a Tuesday night, and step out of your comfort zone.

Lastly, make the library your friend. Whenever you go to the library, make sure you’re comfortable. Bring a pillow, a blanket and picture of a loved one, maybe even bring a nice cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir.  Initially, it may be a bit overwhelming, but just take baby steps.  Between Love Library and its Dome, there are plenty of seats to sit your lovely, Aztec Recreation Center-sculpted tush upon. Looking for something a little quieter? The fifth floor of Love Library is notoriously silent, so much so that you can almost hear the tears of overly stressed undergrads slowly hitting the cold, hard ground.

The library holds a vast array of novels, anthologies, storybooks, paperbacks, hardbacks and anything else your intellectual heart desires.  Take advantage of this opportunity and read as many books as you can now, because a full-time job is just four years away.  Remember any motivation that you think you may have had in college will somehow magically disappear as soon as you receive your diploma.

College is an amazing time for opportunity and growth. Boys leave as men and girls leave as women as parents leave with an empty wallet and a debt the size of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s egos put together. College is the place where you discover who you are and what you can become. Take time for yourself and be a little selfish, indulge, explore, discover and be challenged. Most importantly, do or do not, because there is no try.


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