Wear Sunscreen and Other Surprisingly Useful Bits of Common Knowledge

Today was the beginning of Tuesday Magazine’s annual poster sale (go buy your posters in front of the science center all week, selection available at tuesdaymagazine.org [yes, that was a shameless self-plug]).

And I got ridiculously sunburned, which is stupid, because I’m a supposedly well-educated person who knows that sunscreen is worth its weight in preventative gold.

College gets the best of you sometimes, so here are a few common sense things you should keep in mind.

1) Wear sunscreen

If you’re roped into tabling or flyering, wear sunscreen. It’s easy to forget, but will make you much happier in the long run.

2) Drink water (yes, the tap is safe)

College is usually one’s first introduction to The Nalgene or its metallic equivalent of some sort. If you’re not drinking water between your maybe 2 or 3 meals, you’re doing your body no good.

Most of the freshmen dorms have water fountains, and even if you don’t, water from the sink is fine. Or if you’re pickier, water from the soda machines works just as well.

Although I’m surrounded by a scary amount of water bottles right now, it is because I have not washed out my Nalgene. So, let’s do our environment a favor and use water bottles non-ritually.

3) Sleep

Some people can thrive on 6 hours, others need more. College (for me) at least is great because I had never gotten that many hours of uninterrupted sleep before I got here.

It is possible to get your 8 healthy hours of sleep, do well in school, participate in activities and have friends. But you just need to make sleep a priority, and keep yourself on track with whatever you need to do.

Similarly, keep this in mind when you’re living with roommates. Respect their sleep time as reasonably possible. There’s a reason why the computer labs and Lamont are open 24 hours (ish).

4) Stress makes people grumpy

People will get stressed, especially around midterm/paper/final season. So give them their space. Be nice to them, and you’ll be given some berth when you’re facing 3 midterms in one week.

5) You don’t need to eat that chocolate-covered marshmallow dessert

Yes, having a beautiful yummy dessert all ready and plated for you is enticing. But there’s no need for you to eat one every day and gain that freshmen 15. (The chocolate truffle bars and piiie are to die for though.)

6) Nor do you have to eat an ENTIRE plate of popcorn chicken/hot wings.

Self-explanatory. I know when I was a freshmen, I would get ridiculously excited and just pile tons on my plate. And then feel guilty and tried to clean my plate.

As an upperclassman, I try to get my food one serving at a time. You can always go up for seconds. The food isn’t going to run out (I promise). And who knows, maybe you didn’t want that apple pie at the end once you’re finished with your entre.

While it’s really hard as a freshmen, try to NOT use a tray once you’re an upperclassman. One, it looks so much classier at the table. Two, portion control, less wasted food. Three, stack all your plates on one mutual tray at the end and help save water/energy/resources.

7) Take some time for yourself

Sometimes you just need to get away from people. Take yourself shopping, read a book, explore Boston by yourself.

If you’re not used to living with lots of people in close quarters, then you’re going to drive yourself crazy if you don’t have a few individual pursuits etc. of our own that don’t require you to work with people.

8) Don’t take yourself too seriously

Harvard student or not, you’re a college student too. So have some fun. Learn from your mistakes. Try to minimize stress.

9) Learn when you sound like an idiot

If people ask you what your concentration is and you reply, “Economics…but I don’t like it,” then you’re an idiot for staying with economics. You don’t get street cred for gritting your teeth through unbearable coursework.

Similarly, realize that constant complaining means that a change is in order. No one wants to live/be friends with someone who is ALWAYS complaining about everything, but not doing a lick to help himself.

No one is forcing you to be premed, comp The Crimson, eat granola and take 5 classes each semester. If you’re not happy because of your own doing, then you’re never going to be happy.

10) Be at peace with yourself

The point of this blog, ultimately, is to reach this point number 10. I’m still working on it.

Surviving Harvard is one thing, truly thriving in it is another. In order to thrive, you need to be okay with the decisions you’re making and where you stand in your classes.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of always rating yourself against others, but come on now, this is college, the one last stop before the Real World for many of us. And generally, once you get to that “Real World,” you may not get as much of a change to test the waters.

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