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Well, for one thing, it's the coolest high school newspaper in all the land. Watch our video and find out more.
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.
*FRIENDLY ADVICE: With half a year under their belts, some experts offer some helpful insights into what to expect from college. Heed their wise words, college-bound, for they were in your shoes not so long ago. In addition to Kelly's letter below, make sure you read about experiences from USF to Missouri in Taylor's, Emmy's, Hannah's, and Rebecca's letters.
Dear Class of 2012:
A blank page of Microsoft Word is nagging at me as I try to enjoy the Tostitos Bowl on TV. The cursor, justified left, blinks in despair. What did I actually learn during my first semester of college? All I can conjure up are the feelings of insignificance — my four years of hard work in the projournalism realm fell to the bottom of my resume, and again I was a freshman, this time a blip on the radar among 50,000 students in a college town of faces I might never meet. So instead of poignant anecdotes about my college awakenings, I’ve decided to offer up some advice for those of you out there who have just received your first, second or 30th acceptance letter. I can’t guarantee it won’t include some cheesy counsel, but here goes. — Kelly Price
1. Do something.
The first semester of college is what you make of it. Join Greek life or the gourmet cooking club or the Quidditch team. Do something. Grades are important, but so are making friends and making memories. Most high schoolers are used to an active laundry list of extracurriculars — keep up that pace, or you’ll end up feeling very unfulfilled by the time street vendors put out their Christmas trees.
2. Have friends, will travel.
Get to know people from your hometown region. Create a Facebook group, add friends who are at the same college, and tell them to invite their friends, and their friends, and their friends. This works well for social purposes, of course, but also financially — the more people who want rides from the Girl From Tampa With a Car, the more gas money you can collect when you make trips home. If you’re without a car, it pays to have the Girl’s number.
3. Every day is the weekend.
When it’s 11 at night, you’re pounding out Calc homework, and some girls from your dorm floor bang down your door and beg you to go out with them — do it. Something I regret about my first semester was putting my academic success above my social life too many times, which, granted, in college is a trickier balance than in high school. Don’t misunderstand; I’m not encouraging reckless abandonment of education, but we all need breaks. It’s proven that nights out increase endorphins, a necessary part in the chemical equation for happiness. It just so happens it’s easy to do that when there are parties going on every night in your college town and classes don’t commence until noon for the luckiest. Just be smart about it.
4. Appreciate home as the months tick down.
When it’s just you, your Snuggie and your mascot-of-choice PillowPet in an unfamiliar new home, you can get kind of emotional. When I came home for Thanksgiving, I realized how much I really appreciated and missed the love and support and blah blah blah I had grown up with. Perspective is a funny thing, but in hindsight, I’d advise the Class of 2012 not to argue with your parents about stupid crap, maybe do some dishes every once in a while (without “I’ll ground you” prompts), or write nice notes for your parents before they go to work or something. Trust me — no matter how much you don’t get along now with your family, you’ll miss home once your permanent time there has expired.
5. RUN, don’t walk, from your comfort zone.
I enrolled at the University of Florida along with a friend from high school who became my roommate. Plus, my boyfriend goes here, too. While that has helped me through the transition, it gave me a comfort zone that’s easy to become entrenched in. If you’re heading to a school where many of your friends or acquaintances will attend, make sure to break away and make new connections (see above: “DO something”). It’s obvious, but vital to keeping your independence and identity, as well as keeping life fresh and interesting.
Kelly Price, a freshman at the University of Florida, graduated from Durant High in 2011 and is a former editor of tb-two*.