Hello, Class of 2012!
I was thinking back on my freshman year and wondered about what I wish I had known upon coming into Oberlin. I asked a few of my friends and I came up with a list of important tips/advice that might help make your transition into Oberlin a bit easier.
1) Go to your professors' office hours: It is very easy to get to know your professors at a school like Oberlin. From my experience, they are truly invested in your success and want to help you in any way that they can. DO NOT be intimidated to talk to them, they have their doors and ears open during their office hours to listen. As well, if for some reason you cannot make it to their office hours, you can schedule an appointment that works for both of you.
2) Keep in touch with your friends and family back home: Although you have a new life at Oberlin it is important to remember your peeps from home. Talking to them can be difficult since everyone is busy, but try to carve out a few hours per week where you can call your family and friends to check up. It is a lot easier to keep a relationship healthy than trying to re-establish it after a lot of time has gone past.
3) Take personal time when you need it: Oberlin is not an easy college and the workload can become a bit overwhelming at times. With anywhere from 3-5 classes a semester, social life, and extracurricular activities, life might be hard to balance at times. It is key to take a little bit of time each day to clear your mind and relax. Don't burn yourself out! Counseling and peer mentoring is available through the school if you need it.
4) No "floor-cest": Random hook-ups with people who live on your floor are not the best thing to do. If it ends badly, seeing them every time you leave your room could potentially make everyone involved uncomfortable.
5) Be reasonable with partying: Leaving home and going to college probably provides most freshmen with a lot of freedom that they were not exposed to before, and it is really easy to go overboard. Have fun but be safe! As well, if one of your friends appears as if they had too much to drink, call Safety and Security because alcohol poisoning is very dangerous (no one, not even the person who is drunk, will get in trouble--they care more about our safety than disciplining people in that case).
6) Get to know your RA/faculty in residence: They can be your saviors in the dorm! From fixing a lightbulb to handling a life crisis, they will be there to get you through anything. Don't be afraid to put them to work, it's their job and they have no problem with helping you out.
7) Be open minded: Some people at Oberlin may appear to be a lot different than what you are used to, but we are all unique. Talk to your classmates and peers, you could become best friends with the person that you least expect. We don't bite!
8) Get involved with extracurricular activities: There are tons of different clubs and activities that you can attach yourself to! As well, if it does not exist CREATE it! Don't be a hobbit, get out there and do something that interests you. It's a great way to meet people and contribute to the campus.
9) School should be your FIRST priority: Getting a world-class education at one of the best liberal arts colleges in the county is what we are all here for. Although there is a lot of fun to be had on campus, be sure to devote the appropriate amount of time to your classes and homework.
10) Be fearless! Get out of your comfort zone and be yourself! Oberlin is the best place to do it.