On Thursday, I published 14 things every freshman should know.  I’ve decided to add #15.

+  Know who you are and what you stand for.  When you go to college, you will be thrown into a new setting with people from all walks of life.  If you aren’t confident in who you are, if you don’t have your values and beliefs firmly in place, if you aren’t certain of your standards, you may lose yourself to people who are, and make bad friendship decisions (or other bad decisions that are more difficult to reverse).

My sister went to a high school friend’s get-together last night.  Apparently, a mutual friend arrived — cigarillo in hand.  If you’re smoking for the sake of smoking, fine.  I don’t condone it, but I’m not about to start lecturing you on choices you make because you want to make them.  If you’re smoking because you think it makes you look cool … it doesn’t.  Unless you’re Lauren Bacall.  Which, you aren’t.


The same goes for Greek life.  First of all, let me say that I am an Independent (someone who has not pledged a sorority/fraternity) and my only personal experience with anything Greek is the English Honors Society (Sigma Tau Delta — also known as STD!).  At the college I attend, the majority of students have pledged one of the three fraternities or four sororities (that means seven Greek organizations for less than 2,500 students).  Some of my friends pledged because they were sincerely interested in the organizations, which is awesome.  But some of my friends pledged because they thought doing so would make them more popular, more attractive, more outgoing … whatever it was that they wanted and didn’t have.  But those letters you wear on your chest aren’t magical — they can’t give you whatever you want.  They can enhance who you are, but they can’t perform miracles.

There’s a saying that when people join Greek organizations, they pay to have friends and sleep around.  Granted, this is not true for all organizations or for all sisters/brothers (some of my closest friends are Greek and definitely do not pay their dues for those reasons).  But the point is: if you are new on campus and still trying to find your footing and discover who you are, be careful where you go and what you do in your journey for self-discovery.  Don’t do things because other people tell you that it’s cool or because you feel the need to make friends (real friends aren’t going to ask you to be something you want).  You’ve heard this all of your life, but remember that you’re now an adult and what you do stays on your record and can ruin your career before you even graduate.

Also, keep in mind that marijuana is illegal and public safety officers can smell it.