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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
By Hannah Van Ryswyk
Dear Class of 2012:
I won’t lie to you and say that my first semester of college was the absolute time of my life. As the resident “shy kid” on the dorm block, I’m still easing into life at university, but I can’t say that the first few months at the University of South Florida went by completely without action and surprises … both good and bad.
Here are some key observations: Unless you are part of the disgustingly lucky 1 percent, your roommate will not be your best friend (spineless people, do some deep breathing exercises and be prepared to put your foot down as needed). Understand that Lysol wipes and a microwave will take you from coach to first class REAL quick. And for the love of God, if you want your professors to believe your IQ is above 55, learn how to properly and professionally write an email. “Thnx” and “o my b@d” draw the line between life and death, I guarantee you that.
On the positive spectrum, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly you get into the swing of things. Getting lost won’t be an issue if you take half an hour to locate all your classes the day before the semester begins, and if you treat your professors with respect, they’ll be happy to do the same for you. I’ve actually found that college professors are a whole heck of a lot easier to get along with, compared to agitated high school educators past the end of their rope. They understand scheduling conflicts and share your love for frumpy, casual clothing; they sometimes actually encourage you to swear, and if you don’t show up for a lecture or two, the world will most certainly not come to a horrific end. Also, the food in college is to the food in high school as wild-caught salmon is to frozen fish sticks … seriously.
Things I saw and heard about along the way: On-campus zombie wars, Jesus standing at the bus stop, an Australian auctioneer hell-bent on sending you on a mission trip to New Zealand, 10 free condoms a day and deep-fried candy bars at breakfast.
Prepare yourselves, it’s going to be an interesting ride.
Hannah Van Ryswyk, a freshman at the University of South Florida, graduated from Durant High in 2011.