Dear SWUG,

What do you wish you knew as a first-year, that you know now?

Naive Nelly

Dear Naive Nelly,

When I look back on my naive, fat, freshman year self, I get nostalgic for the less cynical times. While I envy first year students because they have three more years at Tufts, I realize that I have no desire to return to my first-year self. As a SWUG, I am reminded daily that the best days of my life are almost over (can you taste the bitterness?), and that although I look like I am 18 years old, I am no longer 18 years old. If I could go back and yell at my freshman year self, this is what I would say:

You don’t have to go out four nights a week, every week. First year, I felt pressure to go out as much as possible, and to drink as much as possible. Newsflash, first-year me, you won’t be missing out if you stay in to do work or catch up on sleep. Some of the best nights are the nights I decided to stay in and just hang out in my dorm. The parties and the people will all be there the next night or the next weekend. If anything, you missed eating a 2,000 calorie calzone at 3 a.m. Does staying in mean staying skinny? LMK.

Speaking of gaining first-year weight… You WILL gain the freshman 15 (or 30) if you drink four nights a week, eat unlimited Dewick food, and order pizza when you go out. If you’re going to consistently poison your body at night, then you need to also consistently treat it right during the day. Eat well, go to the gym and actually work up a sweat when you workout. It’s easy to fall into a cycle of going out, laying around hungover and doing it all again the next day. Get up and at ’em! Your body will thank you, and it will save you an awkward conversation with your parents, where they tell you that you look “different.” (Thanks mom and dad for still loving me and feeding me, even though I looked like I ate another human being.)

People tend to treat each other horribly in the Tufts hookup culture. I may sound like a cynical SWUG, but expect the worst from people until they can prove themselves to be decent. There seems to be some sort of unspoken rule among college students that your actions have no consequences, especially when they are drunk actions. Well, this isn’t the case. Remember the golden rule: Treat people in a hookup the way you would like to be treated in a hookup. Always stay on your toes, and be prepared for relationships to change weekend by weekend. And be a kind and decent human being. PSA: Frat boys and athletes gossip, a lot. And so do girls (obvi).

Your GPA isn’t the be-all and end-all (unless you’re going into a field where it is…) Focus on learning, and exploring. Don’t stress about maintaining that 4.0. Take classes that interest you. Take risks. Get your first C. Switch your major. Go to office hours. Find your path. Wow, I sound like a motivational poster at the ARC.

Your first-year friends won’t always be your senior year friends. At 22, no one is the person that they were at 18 (unless you’re inept or a vampire). First year, friendships are forged out of convenience, location and a need for study guides. Just like hookups, friendships can change week by week, too. Be open to meeting new people, and definitely choose your friends based on if they have a car on campus.

Learn from my mistakes!