By FAITH PONTI
Being a freshman is horrifying: your parents leave you to the sharks; you hear horror stories of actual Clearwater sharks; you’re expected to make friends instantly with the stranger you sat next to during your endless freshman orientation; your professors’ syllabi sound like death threats; your first 3 a.m. fire alarm sounds like rockets landing…the list is endless. I would not wish those disturbing first weeks of college upon my worst enemy (who I probably met during those weeks). College is scary, friends; there’s no denying it.
Even so, there is one aspect of starting your freshman year that should, in essence, not scare the living sh*t out of you. We’ve all heard about the freshman 15. We all know that broke college kids tend to live off of Domino’s Pizza (buy the ranch dip for 50 cents extra, for the love of god) and Krispy Kreme. We’ve all walked past the pool on a Saturday afternoon and have seen those tan Floridian gods and goddesses sunbathing, seemingly without a care in the world — or a wrinkle on their thighs. We’ve all experienced the beer-belly-hangovers, during which you feel like a goblin that has had one too many butterbeers. We all know the feeling. As a freshman, you’ve probably already experienced it in your short few weeks here.
So yeah, let’s face it: UT is full of hot people. I’m not sure which hot people factory dumped them all here, but they did, and we are forced to watch them at the beach or the bar existing in their flawless state…all while we wipe the gravy off of our t-shirts from the Caf’s breakfast biscuits. Yeah, that’s intimidating.
It intimidated the hell out of me, I won’t lie. Save once or twice, you wouldn’t find me close to the beach or pool my freshman year. I refused to wear tight-fitted clothes out to [insert lame 18+ club here] for fear of looking approximately four months pregnant. I never went to Krispy Kreme, not even once, and I spent countless hours on the elliptical trying to sweat away any extra carb I had consumed that day. In essence, I let fear run my freshman year, and I experienced nothing. I so valued being “hot” that I forgot to value the things that mattered — friendships, memories, experiences and DONUTS. I spent my days wishing I could be sexier — so much, in fact, that I forgot to have a life.
Please, dear freshman, do not forget to have a life. Please don’t skip out on your friend’s birthday party because you’re afraid to eat the cake. Please don’t refuse to go out because you don’t think girls will talk to you. Please don’t skip group beach day because you don’t think boys will like your butt. And please don’t exercise three times a day just to burn off the cookie you ate last weekend. Don’t get me wrong; you should definitely try to eat some vegetables and fruits every day, and you should stay relatively active (New gym! Bayshore! Swimming!), and you shouldn’t eat burritos for every meal. But, if a new friend asks you to eat a burrito with them so that you can get to know each other better, you should go. If your friends tell you that your bodycon dress looks great on you, you should believe them. And if you’re feeling like you need to get a little sun, you should wear your bathing suit to the pool and tan.
Don’t do what I did. Don’t waste this precious year of friendship and community. This fundamental year matters. But being hot? Not so much.
Faith Ponti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org