Freshman guide to navigating Lafayette, answers on roommates, studying, gym time, safety

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Here are some things you should keep in mind while being a first-year student at Lafayette. (Photo by Elle Cox ’21)

Mario Sanchez Castillo

Moving from home to a college campus can be the most exciting part of one’s life. It can also be challenging and frightening. The unpredictability of student life tends to create uncertainty and numerous looming questions: will I make any friends? Am I smart enough for this? What if I don’t like my roommate(s)? Am I going to get the “college experience” everyone seems to be talking about? 

Although this may not answer all of your questions, here’s a few Lafayette specific things that you should be aware of, or at least keep in mind. 

What happens if I don’t get along with my roommate(s)?

Some people hate confrontation, while others are self-proclaimed “confrontational people.” However, communication is of utmost importance when it comes to sharing a living space with a stranger, or even a friend. Although it is scary, you need to nicely communicate to your roommate(s) about your personal boundaries or expectations that you’d like to establish moving onward. 

If your roommate and you have a lot of miscommunication and just are not agreeing on anything, do not be afraid to bring your Resident Advisor (RA) into the situation. If it comes to a mutual agreement that it would be better for you and your roommate to part, you will most likely be moved to another room given another roommate. 

“The RA’s role in a roommate conflict is to facilitate communication between the room and the problems in question,” Ethan Semendinger ’21 said, who is currently an RA. “Don’t be afraid to speak up to your RA about the small issues. Resolving things like fixing nighttime hours with the lights on, even as small as it may be, allow for a more comfortable and productive living environment.”

If you feel uncomfortable or feel like you might be in danger when confronting your roommate, regardless whether your RA is present or not, you can reach out to the Office of Residence Life and speak honestly about the issues you’re having with your roommate. 

Where are good places to study? 

It might be an obvious choice to study and do homework at Skillman Library or even in our rooms and common rooms, but what if neither of those options provide a space for you to concentrate or make progress on your work? 

If you’re looking for a quieter place to study that isn’t your room or Skillman Library, you should head to the second of the Kirby Hall of Civil Rights. Here, you will find a beautiful library with a strictly kept “no noise” policy. It will help you get a sense of peace that you wouldn’t get otherwise. Although they close at 10 p.m., you can still make significant progress if you study early enough. Another less used option are the classrooms of Pardee Hall. These rooms are quiet and also can easily accommodate multiple people.

Additionally, in the second floor of Farinon College Center there are rooms and a computer lab with a printer that you could use. 

What are the best gym hours? 

If you’re trying to start exercising or continue your workout routine, but find that the gym is always packed, it might be due to the time of day.  The best hours to use the gym are before 3 p.m. and after 6 p.m. since students and faculty tend to want to workout after classes and before dinner time. 

Additionally, if you rather not use the gym for your exercise and would rather go for a nice run, you can head to the Karl Stirner Arts Trail, which you can access on Bushkill Drive, or run around campus. There is also a running club that meets from Monday to Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Farinon. 

What if I need to talk to someone? 

Being a college student is hard, and it can take a huge toll on your mental and physical health. Reaching out to friends and family is important. However, getting professional advise actually helps more than you might think. Bailey’s Health Center does not only help with physical health but your mental health as well. Within Bailey’s, there is the Counseling Center located on the second floor where you can schedule individual or group therapy sessions as needed. Opening up about your feelings can help you get through the day and even the rest of the semester.

How do I stay safe? 

Of course it is important to have fun while in college, but you always have to make sure you do so safely. If you’re going to participate in drinking and going out, make sure you have a friend so you could keep each other safe. It is also essential that if you are going to go out at night, you tell a friend.

If your friend or a stranger passes out because of alcohol intoxication, make sure you utilize the Good Samaritan policy by calling the emergency Public Safety number at (610) 330-4444.  And remember, friends shouldn’t leave other friends while under the influence.

Correction (09/01/2019): This article originally incorrectly stated that the running club meets at 4:00 p.m. The club meets at 4:30 p.m.