Knock Loudly and Wait

By Emily Gold Boutilier / September / October 2003
June 22nd, 2007
Freshman year will never be painless, what with managing roommates, midterms, and dating. But it just became a little easier, thanks to Allison Lombardo ’05, primary author of Navigating Your Freshman Year, one in a series of softcover guidebooks by and for students.

In 143 pages Lombardo offers advice on everything from leaving home (be graceful with parental good-byes) to choosing courses (try for a mix of lectures and seminars) and avoiding weight gain (eat one healthy meal a day). For the most part, she focuses on the nonacademic, which she approaches from the perspective of a knowing veteran. For example, if campus police arrive at a keg party to check IDs, she writes, “try to get rid of your alcohol as quickly as you can without making a fuss.” Know, too, she continues, “that drinking can turn all shades of ugly.”

A political science concentrator from New Jersey, Lombardo started writing the book in February of her freshman year after responding to an ad seeking student authors. She finished the first draft by the end of the semester. “I thought it was a good way to chronicle what I was going through,” she says.

On the academic side, Navigating Your Freshman Year suggests that students ask professors about their areas of interest: “They LOVE to talk about themselves and their work.”

And for the not-yet-credit-savvy student, Lombardo gives the low-down on credit-card grace periods and annual percentage rates. One of her most sensible pieces of advice deals with “sexile”—when a roommate brings home an overnight guest. If you absolutely must get into your room, Lombardo writes, “knock loudly and wait. When you go in, grab only what you need and look down as you leave.”

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September / October 2003