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Amanda Ikard / Gavel Media

New School, New Me: Making a Lasting First Impression

In the first few weeks of freshman year, it can feel like you are having the same conversation 100 times. What’s your name? Where are you from? Where are you living? What school are you in? While it can be tempting to go into your room, pull the covers over your head, and sleep through the small talk, it is important to put yourself out there and make good first impressions.

Some of the first people you will meet are your hallmates. Don’t be afraid to be an initiator and invite people you do not know that well to get a meal or explore Boston with you. Everyone will need friends at the beginning. Keeping your door open in the first few weeks can be a great way to meet new people on your hall and having snacks in plain sight is a great way to entice people in the door.  Once one or two people stop by to chat, others will feel free to join the conversation.

While it’s ideal to welcome people into your dorm room the first few weeks, these first few weekends are not the ideal times to throw a dorm rager. Typically the most people are written up at the very beginning of the year, and being the first one to get busted for a dorm room party is a sure-fire way to start off on the wrong foot with your Resident Assistant (RA) and Resident Director (RD).

While throwing a dorm party might not be the best idea (especially in the beginning), RAs are not a bunch of Percy Weasley Prefect-types who live to boss you around and get you in trouble. RAs are actually your main providers of free food and your first resource for making a smooth transition. They all go through training so they can help students deal with a variety of issues from roommate conflicts to depression.

“I decided to become an RA because I want to guide freshmen in their transition into college,” said Karina Ross, CSON ’18 and an RA in Fitzpatrick. “I want to let students know that college is a learning process and that one C and/or one documentation isn’t going to ruin their lives.”

Ross also said she hopes to get to know her residents at HOOTs (Hanging Out On Tuesdays) and programs, as well as in less formal situations. Take advantage of your halls HOOTs or HOWLs (Hanging Out Wednesday Late). These are biweekly programs, with free food, put on by your RA that involve activities from making decorations for your dorm room to movie nights to establishing hall rules. These events are a great way to get to know your RA, your hallmates, and save your all too-fleeting dining dollars.

You want to start off on the right foot in your living community, since you will be there all year, but this is not the only place you want to make a good first impression. It’s important to get off on the right foot in the classroom too.

It can be easy to go to class and not interact with anyone, especially if you’re sitting in a big lecture hall like Devlin 008. These big lecture classes, however, are often the ones in which you need to rely on your classmates the most. When it comes times for test day, you’ll want to have a group to study with, a few friends to share a study guide on Google Drive with, or someone you can get notes from for any classes you missed.

Getting to know classmates is key and so is getting to know professors and teaching assistants (TAs). They will be the ones grading you. Make a good impression by coming to class prepared and offering to answer questions. Being ready and involved is great way to get off on the right foot, but the best way to make a good first impression with teachers is to get to know them. Stop by office hours. Professors want to know you, and they will be impressed to see you taking the first step. Plus, as one of my professors once said, “It’s a lot easier to fail a name than a person you know.”