Georgie Gentile

Equinox Staff

Hello and welcome to the first printing of this advice column! My name is Georgie and I am a sophomore here at Keene State College. I am double majoring in Film Production and English writing, with a minor in German (Will I accomplish this? I have no idea, but for now I will overwhelm myself with classes until something happens.) I decided to create this column because I know I struggle to listen to advice I tell myself—I suspect this is an issue for many others as well, so I am going to try to answer questions for people, since I know I enjoy hearing advice from a variety of sources.

If you have a question you want answered, send it to ggentile@kscequinox.com.

Now that all this is settled, let’s get to the questions! This week’s questions will revolve around new students and how to survive your first semester here in Keene.

Q: How do I not fail a class?

A: One of the easiest ways to pass a class is to attend the class. That may sound obvious, but most classes have an attendance policy; if you miss a certain number of classes, it is seven overall or more than three in the first half, you will automatically fail the class. This can get tricky with certain professors, though; some have course-specific policies where you can fail if you do not attend even fewer classes.

If attendance is not your issue, don’t worry. Writing and sourcing troubles can be relieved at the Writing Center in the library. If math is a problem in your life, the Math Center holds weekly study sessions. If you want more personal help, the TRIO Center in Elliot can schedule you a tutor in any subject. It is easy to feel overwhelmed in a new class, but a quick way to help this is to talk to your professor. It may seem terrifying, but a quick talk or email can put the two of you on even ground and hopefully make the class less stressful for you.

Q: How do I make friends?

A: One word: socialize. That’s pretty easy to suggest to someone, but actually doing it? Nearly impossible. I get it—you don’t want to create an awkward situation or intrude on a conversation or force yourself into a friend group. But simple saying “hi” to whoever you sit next to in class can actually kickstart a relationship. Whoever you are sitting next to is probably just as nervous as you, so a quick acknowledgement can make a difference.

You can also attend a club that interests you; you’d be guaranteed to be in a room full of people who have at least one thing in common with you.

Q: Can I get food that is not from the Dining Commons?

A: Yep! Depending on your meal plan, you are given a certain amount of “Owl Cash” that can be used at Lloyd’s Marketplace and the Starbucks right next to it in the Student Center. There you can buy a variety of food and drinks, including Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, that is not served in the Dining Commons. The Cash resets every semester so try not to use it all up in a month.

For a quick snack, you can head over to the convenience store right across from One Butler Court or take a short walk to Cumberland Farms on Main Street.

For something a bit more special, there’s a few pizzerias in Keene that will deliver to your dorm building, notably Domino’s. There’s also a bunch of Chinese food restaurants that deliver, as well, including King’s Garden, Marco Polo, and China Wok.

Q: Is it normal to be freaking out?

A: A bit, yes. You’re in a new place with new people and suddenly you plan on doing all this for the next four years or so, so it’s reasonable to be nervous and stressed about your situation. However, if this continues for a while, you should try to talk to someone about how you are feeling. It doesn’t need to be anyone serious; a friend, roommate, or even a parent can be an easy way to calm your nerves and relax. If you feel you need to talk to someone with more experience, the Counseling Center in Elliot offers free counseling to students.

Q: What are some activities I can do during my free time?

A: There is a lot you can do. I suggest you complete your homework or studying during your free time, but I can’t guarantee you would have much fun. You can join a club that interests you that doesn’t conflict with any classes. For instance, the Film Society meets Tuesdays at 7 pm. I personally like to spend time crocheting (I have been working on dice bags lately), painting, collecting Pokémon cards, and napping. You can also rent a Green Bike from the library and ride on bike trails around Keene. A popular free time activity for many students is walking to Walmart and even trekking to a shopping plaza in Keene that contains an Ulta, Price Chopper, Target, Hannahford, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and GameStop.

I hope you enjoyed my advice. See you next week!

Georgie Gentile can be contacted ggentile@kscequinox.com