Preparing to Move In

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Willburn

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Willburn

Preparing to move into the dorms is a tedious, yet necessary process, during which an incoming freshman needs to consider everything they’re going to need to live by themselves for the first time.

Figuring out all of the items that need to be purchased can be difficult, as students are preparing for conditions in which they have never lived, and a lot of the most crucial necessities go overlooked because most people have received significant support from their parents up to the point they are moving into the dorms.

Here are some of the most important dorm room necessities, as decided by Arizona State University students, alumni, and employees.

Disinfecting Wipes

Many students aren’t aware of just how little space they will be granted with upon moving into the dorms, and as a result, the amount of germs and illnesses they are thus exposed to.

“You’re living in really tight quarters,” said Lorenzo Zazueta, a former communications major at ASU.  “Clorox wipes are important if you want to keep from getting sick.”

Microwave

This is something you may have never considered purchasing, as you probably have used your parents for the past 18 years, and if you’re even luckier you’ve had home cooked meals on a daily basis.

In the dorms, however, you will not have access to a kitchen, nor is it a socially conscious idea to have your mother bring you food regularly.  To combat this issue, a microwave is vital.

“Lets say in the middle of the night you want something to eat, the cafeteria closes pretty early, so you really need something in case of an emergency,” said Gloria Valdez, a desk assistant at Taylor Place, the residential complex at the downtown campus.

Fridge

Along the same lines as the microwave, a fridge is important for the volatile eating schedule that is synonymous with the freshman lifestyle.

“You have to make sure you always have food,” said Safaria Abugour, a health sciences major at ASU.  “A fridge is really important.”

Many students aren’t aware of the reality of college eating until they are thrust into the lifestyle.  They also aren’t aware of the tight confinement they’ll be living in.  Incoming freshman are tempting to prioritize posters, televisions, and video game when preparing to move, yet based on these students testimonies, it is highly advised to think about health and eating first.

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Choosing Your Major, An Important Decision

One of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life is your choice in college major.

Many students underestimate the importance of this decision, and wind up with majors that do not generate the types of employment or salary they find satisfying.

There are varying opinions regarding how someone should go about picking their major.

Some students feel the best route is to jump around until you figure out what you like.

“If you jump around from major to major you actually get a more rounded education because you’re taking different classes and different subjects, and at the end of the day you end up taking more,” said Gabriel Aaronson, a 23-year-old alumnus of Arizona State University.

While it is true that taking a wide variety of classes can be beneficial, it is far less monetarily efficient and could result in wasted time.

“If you wait too long to pick your major, then you’re going to be here for too many semesters ” said John O’Neil, a 22-year-old secondary education major at ASU.

You definitely do not want to spend more money than you have to in college, and bouncing around majors could mean just that.  Also, if you find out that you’d like to attend law school, medical school, or some other form of post-graduate eduction, you may hav difficulty finding funds if you have dug yourself in too deep of a hole during your undergraduate education.

That’s not to say, however, that changing you major is awful.  If you find yourself in a major you cannot stand, and figure out something you’d rather do, it’s advisable to switch before it’s too late.

“It would be beneficial if you choose earlier, but if you need to change you shouldn’t just stick with what you have because that’s what you started with,” said 23-year-old Ian Tetzner, an ASU alumnus who majored in filmmaking.

The real key is making calculated decisions.  If you do not like your major, and end up having to switch, that’s fine.  However, if you fail to make decisions based on a specific plan, then you will find yourself “bouncing around” for too long.

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Should I Take Out Student Loans?

One of the toughest decisions college-bound individuals have to make is deciding if they are willing to take on the financial uncertainty of student loans.

For many, student loans are the quickest and most effective way to finance their education.  However, the decision to in-debt oneself can produce a significant amount of anxiety, and there are multiple perspectives as to whether or not it is responsible to rely on student loans.

Matt Ishikawa, a junior at Arizona State University, said that, although he took out student loans, he would not recommend other students to do so.

“It’s not free money, and you have to pay them back,” he said.

The key point in his argument is the term “free money.”  Students have a tendency to blindly take out loans without considering future consequences.  This is ill-advised because it is not uncommon for students to find themselves without the resources to pay back the loans post-graduation, as can be seen in a New York Federal Reserve report that showed out-standing student loan debt to be close to $1 trillion.

Ishikawa is not the only indebted student who feels this way.

Kaja Brown, and ASU alumnus who graduated in 2006, pointed out that he has only recently been able to begin paying back his loans.

“There’s not a guarantee that you’re going to have a job when you graduate that will produce enough income to pay off the loans, plus your living expenses,” he said.

Student loans do indeed provide opportunity where there may be none, however, they should certainly be taken out only as a part of a calculated plan.

Francisco Rivera, an ASU international relations alumnus, pointed out that student loans are worth it, “depending on what your plans are and what your major is.”

Incoming freshman should take a moment to decide what the role of college is in their future, and in doing so, can avoid taking on a risk that may prove not to be worth their while.

Suggested readings:

http://studentloanstories.wordpress.com/ 

http://aspanational.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/student-loans-the-business/

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Best Things About College: Football Games

Whether or not you’re a serious sports fan, it is absolutely certain that some of your fondest college memories will be of attending football games.

While Arizona State University doesn’t traditionally have terrific program, they are by no means a pushover, and boast one of the rowdiest student sections (a Bleacher Report article named it top-50 in the country).

Photo Courtesy of Jason Crews.

Photo Courtesy of Jason Crews.

Sun Devil Stadium is one of the largest college football stadiums in the country, with a capacity of 71,706, and it doesn’t struggle to sell out.

Also, even if ASU isn’t having a top-25 year, you will not struggle to catch great games.  Being in the Pac 12, ASU hosts Heinemann candidates and All-Americans every year, even if they are playing on other teams.  Also, there frequent mid-level position has resulted in them being a team known for pulling crazy upsets, and over the last four years, Sun Devil Stadium has seen some classics.

I would advise all incoming freshman to seriously consider buying season tickets, even to those who have never been able to sit through an entire football game in their life.  The experience of being in the student section, particularly at Sun Devil Stadium, will be something you will remember your entire life, and will ultimately cultivate the insane type of loyalty your parents hold for their alma mater.

It’s also particularly important for incoming freshman to pick up student section tickets because it may be the last time you have the free time necessary to participate extensively in the tradition.  As you get on with your college career, especially as you get into your junior and senior years, you’ll find that your priorities are abruptly restructures (internships, upper-division classes, etc.).

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What If I Don’t Like My College Roommate?

Congratulations, you’ve been accepted.  After 18 years of curfew and being grounded, you’re finally going to have the freedom you feel you’ve deserved since middle school.  However, this now means that you have to escape the luxury of home, and move into a cramped room with another person.

Arizona State University, Barrett Honors College Dorms (Photo by Jacob Green).

Arizona State University, Barrett Honors College Dorms (Photo by Jacob Green).

Many people fret over having to move in with someone new, and quite often the biggest fear for incoming freshmen is getting a roommate who does not conform to their ideals.

This concern is often a misguided one.  There are many characteristics of a bad roommate, but a lot of the time the real fear that freshmen have is the fear of living with someone who isn’t exactly like them.

High school seniors often dream that when they leave for college, they will be placed into a dorm with their future best friend, who will trump all former best friends, and will ultimately be the best man or first lady at their wedding.

While this does happen sometimes, it is certainly not always the case.  Even the students that take the special care to choose a roommate often find that they are incompatible.

This is not the end of the world, and it is not too difficult to live with someone whom you have little in common with.  The key is to be proactive to ensure that the year goes smoothly, and utilize whatever small things you have in common to your advantage.  

The fact is, while you may not become best friends with your roommate, you will still have that freedom you’ve so longed for, and more than likely will have plenty of friends in the same dorm hall as you.

The most important thing to pay attention to, in order to ensure that your freshman year is not a living hell, is not to resent your roommate just because you don’t have much in common with each other.

A lot of people spend their freshman year in a dorm with someone much different than they are, but the ones who have real problems are those that create an unnecessary rivalry.

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