College: where high school hierarchy comes to die

Spinnaker

After months or maybe even years of waning patience to let loose on your own, you are finally at UNF. Welcome.

Although it might be tempting to hole up in your room, poring over Facebook profiles of friends from home, don’t. It’s intimidating to suddenly find yourself landed at some looming institution stuffed full of strangers but remember this: everyone is in the same boat.

Despite their elaborate fronts, all the other incoming freshmen are just as wide-eyed and clueless.

Use this new set of scenery as an excuse to truly explore yourself. You’re suddenly liberated from the shame of that notorious pants-wetting mishap of fourth grade and people here don’t expect anything in particular from you. The social constraints of high school have officially been lifted and you are free to, well, be.

It may seem like some of the other kids have their stuff together, what with their slicked-on plastic smile and gregarious air, but everyone else feels like as lost as you do. Take up as many offers to hang out as possible. With the wide open field of fellow freshman (and who knows? Maybe some upperclassmen will take a shining to you), it’s impossible to decide if you have comrade compatibility with some other kid based off first glance.

Everyone has a story, a talent, some good ideas. You ought to hear people out and see what they bring to the table. It’s time to bid farewell to stereotypes you might have brewed up in the past. People are just that – people.

With maturity comes understanding that the high-school hierarchy is totally corrupt and pointless. In college, everyone has the potential for friendship.

This first week of living the UNF lifestyle is the time when people are going to be the friendliest, each individual blindly feeling out possible friendships, future hobbies and passions.

Also, part of growing up is trying new things. Don’t limit yourself to tried and true environments. You might have been a regular fixture at the pizza shop back home, but don’t let that stop you from finding a new central station at La Napolera down the street.

Test the waters at a nearby thrift store, attempt steering a go-cart at Adventure Landing. See if you can’t master the Soulja Boy (is that still popular?) at some bump’n’grind club. Put your oh-so-cool demeanor on pause and see if you don’t dig something you may have never considered before.

The point of college is to further educate yourself, sure. But that learning doesn’t have to end with parchment and pens, let yourself go and see what you find.