3/15/2014

Mattia Hall = Biggest Cock-Block

As a senior, I’ve learned a thing or two about Rutgers. And, I feel it is my duty to impart my collegiate wisdom with the folks who are younger than me. So, here’s the first of many tips I have for prospective Rutgers students, freshmen and transfers even. This tip is targeted mostly towards students who live in dorms on campus.

Let’s face it, most of us didn’t come to college to be alone and camp out in libraries for four years. We came to college to meet new people and have fun. Freshman year can be super exciting, but also daunting at the same time. Here are five reasons you should keep your dorm room door open while staying on campus, to help you have a smooth transition.

1. Break out of your Shell

You’re in college. It’s time to break out of your shell, plain and simple. Rutgers is a HUGE school and it’s time for you to face the world. You’re not in high school anymore, where you could be a big fish in a little pond. It’s the real world. Meet new people. Get used to being in situations where you don’t know anybody and nobody knows you. Introducing yourself and marketing yourself to the world is probably the most important skill to take away from college. As cliché as it may sound, you have the chance at a clean slate. You can be whoever you choose to be. Your reputation from high school doesn’t follow you. That is, unless you went to South or East Brunswick high school, because just about half of those kids end up at Rutgers. Be anything, just don’t be a shut in. When I was a freshman, there was a guy on my floor, let’s call him Joe (obviously not going to use real names). He was the most mysterious dude on our floor. He NEVER came out of his room, and I don’t think his roommate even got to know him. I don’t know what he was doing all day, but, I do know it was a waste of dorming on his part.

2. Posters

We didn’t buy Lil Wayne and Kim Kardashian posters for nobody to see them. When you have your door open, people who are walking by get to see them, and who knows? Maybe it can be an icebreaker. My roommate freshman year had a Pink Floyd poster and during move-in week, I kept the door open and another kid on the floor walked by. He pointed at the poster and said, “I have the same poster in my room!” A few beers and several jam sessions later, all three of us became close friends, all because my door was open and they shared the same poster. You buy posters for others to see them. Whether the posters are of athletes, singers, models or even cars, they are surprisingly, effective icebreakers.

3. People know who you are

One thing people don’t realize is, there is a small window of opportunity to make a circle of close friends in college. That window is a about three weeks. It ranges from move-in day, to when you actually have to start going to classes after syllabus week. It’s important to make yourself known in that time period. Get yourself out there. If you REALLY don’t like your floor, go to another floor. If you REALLY don’t like your building, go to another building. I remember I lived in Mattia on Busch Campus freshman year. For those who don’t know, Mattia is an all guys engineering dormitory, womp. I wasn’t even an engineer. Going into move-in week, I saw the engineering kids playing with blocks and computer games. They were already submersed in their coursework, and I remember how I thought this dorm building is the biggest cock-block* ever. I knew my friend lived in Allen Hall, which was the next building. So, I started hanging out with him and his floormates. We had a close group of about 10-12 people, and we were inseparable all year. The most important thing, is to put yourself out there. You don’t want to regret going through four years of college, and not have any memories of your crazy shenanigans from freshman year. *Mattia Hall, was actually super cool. I learned this after a month or two. I guess, I judged a book by its cover. I managed to get to know the people and my room across from me smoked me out. We played ping-pong and it was a lot more live than I thought it would be.

Friendships

This goes without saying. Make new friends. Its not a bad thing to stick with your friends from high school or even friends from high school that came to Rutgers with you, but make new friends. I can’t stress it enough. If you’re use to hanging out with only Asians or English majors, explore new territories. Don’t be shy and feel like you don’t belong. You learn a lot from diversity, and it’s something that you will have to face plenty of times in your life, whether it’s weddings, careers, moving to new towns or cities, etc. Make a diverse group of friends. You’ll learn to appreciate others and gain new perspectives.

5. Connections On a more serious note, you will never know who you might need in life. Maybe you need a tutor for Expos, or you need someone with a fake ID to buy you alcohol. The connections you make your freshman year and every year thereafter, are very crucial. Reasons may differ. I remember a friend I made freshman year who lived in my building, who ended up being a TA in a class I took senior year! This really helped, because he helped me out through the semester and made sure I understood things. Another example, is how my friend actually got an internship through a friend he made in his freshman year who lived on his floor. She was an intern at Verizon, and she ended up getting my friend a job just by putting in a good word. The point is, having connections will get you very far these days. The power of recommendation, is just as effective as good grades and a solid GPA.

Keep your door open whenever possible. You never know who you will meet and how he or she will play a role in your life. You could meet your potential sweetheart and/or best friend. Perhaps you may meet a person who can get you through a class, or help you out when you’re in a sticky situation. More importantly, you will grow and develop as a person and garner social skills that you will be using frequently in life. So, get out there and meet your floor mates. More tips for freshman to come.

--- Avery Phillips
Class of 2014

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