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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 JULIET PARAMOR, Tarpon Springs High
Getting prepared to head off to a college anywhere is overwhelming enough, with all the paperwork and lists and shopping, plus the sheer excitement that never seems to let you sleep a full night through.
If you’re heading particularly far away, say, to the opposite coast of the country, you can add the fear of leaving your friends and family, and the frank cluelessness about where you’re going.
I may not be a native Floridian, but I’ve lived here for the past five years. I’ve assimilated to the weather, environment, people and the lifestyle, even if I didn’t do it so willingly. So when I head off to the University of California, Santa Cruz, this summer, I know there will be adjustments to make. I’ll need some ripped calve muscles, a North Face jacket and I should probably work on converting to a vegan diet. Oh, and maybe stop brushing my hair.
As you get ready to move to a new city for college, here are some things you should do.
Check weather history of your destination
Whether you’re moving across the country or across the state, there’s likely to be a weather change from what you’re used to here in Tampa Bay. Going to Tallahassee? You’ll need some warm attire. Heading to a more northern state? East or West Coast? You’re going to be freezing at some point, so you should prepare for a chillier winter than what you’re used to. If you’re leaving the state of Florida, you’re going to be experiencing something called the “four seasons.’’ I know, I know, it sounds a little scary, but don’t worry, at least two of them can be warm, too! Take the time to do a little research for your destination.
Investigate nearby cafes and restaurants
Just like at home, you’ll want favorite places to hang out, eat and study with your friends. It is my pleasure to inform you that Starbucks and Panera are fairly well-placed throughout the nation, but you’ll have to scope out the one-of-a-kind cafes and family-owned restaurants wherever you’re headed. Before you leave, open up Google and toggle to your heart’s desire, and once you are in your new home, you’ll meet plenty of locals with recommendations. It’s also fun to go exploring on your own.
Find out what there is to do and how to get there
Despite the expected heavy load of schoolwork, you’re going to have some weekend time to fill and no restrictive parents to force you to finish your homework first. You’ll want to investigate what your college town has to offer. Colleges in or near big cities can have huge nightlife areas: clubs, stand-up, concert venues, etc. Other places might not be so booming, but will have special spots that make your college experience amazing. If you’re bringing a car to school, you’re set for road trips, but if you’re not, get to know the public transportation system. Or make friends with really nice people with cars.
Make connections with other incoming freshmen
It’s easier than ever to search your college’s name on Facebook or Tumblr and find plenty of people who are in the exact same position as you. If you don’t want to seem too creepy, join a group page on Facebook, such as “Washington University in St. Louis Class of 2016” to meet other freshmen.
If you’re more active in the Tumblr world, you know people are rather friendly and you can start up a conversation and get to know each other in a matter of a few “Asks.”