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Bring your walking shoes. Wearing three-inch heels on your first day may sound like a good idea. It may look like a good idea, too – until you realize that your psychology class is farther away from your dorm than expected. As for the campus shuttle you thought you could hop on, it only goes south and you’re headed north. A long and painful walk is your only option to reach class on time. Before you start college with swollen feet and maybe a twisted ankle, invest in cute flats for the classroom and save the heels for parties. Aldo and Steve Madden usually have a solid stock.

Search for a good hairdresser – now. It’s Friday, your last class has let out and you’re amped to go to the first party of the year. You have a 20-minute hike to your dorm, and then an hour wait to use the communal shower. But heat has turned your straw set into a curly afro, and you need to find a hairdresser ASAP. You barely know your suitemate’s name, let alone how skilled she is with a curling iron. So who do you call? To avoid this scenario, begin the search for a new stylist before school starts. Finding a good hairdresser takes time — something you won’t have much of once classes begin. Use sites like yelp.com to get an idea of who’s doing hair near campus and in your price range. If there’s a class of 2015 Facebook group for your school, ask the group if anyone knows where to get a good roller set. If all else fails, once the semester starts, ask your classmate with a sharp do who’s hooking her up.

Invest in a purse that poses as a backpack, or vice versa. Everyone wants to look fly on campus, and the right bag elevates an outfit from acceptable to awesome. If it’s too cute and too small, it probably can’t hold the three-subject notebook you’ll need for classes. If it’s a big and bulky JanSport, it will overshadow your new boyfriend jeans. And if you get a text during Chemistry saying there’s a probate in 30 minutes, you won’t have time to drop off the ugly backpack and grab your latest two-handled steal from Zara. So on your back-to-school list, add “versatile purse.” H&M and Urban Outfitters always have possibilities.

Avoid the freshman 15, or better yet, the freshman 25. You might think you’ll get a good workout walking back and forth to class, up and down all those hills, but you may not. Between late night trips to the dining hall, and a new dependency on Ramen noodles, the calories add up, multiply and cling to your hips. African Americans are leading in obesity trends, with women tipping the scales more than men. Even if it’s not pointed out during orientation, find the campus gym. If you prefer to work out in a group, ask if the gym offers classes for students. Michelle Obama is asking children to get moving and eat better, but college kids could also learn from her advice.

Look twice at the nerdy guy with glasses. At 18, it might seem as though you’ll have plenty of time to meet Mr. Right and settle down. The male members of the campus chapter of NAACP are your homies, and you always said you could never date a friend. But after undergrad, the dating pool may turn shallow. Your job may only have a handful of black men for you to mingle with, and the search to find a like-minded partner becomes challenging. While going to college isn’t about finding a husband, it doesn’t hurt to keep your eyes open for a man who shares your values and treats you right.

 Clutchettes and Gents – what advice would you give freshman?

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  • RealityCheck

    “Look twice at the nerdy guy with glasses.” from my personal experience if you want a partner who’s on par with your credentials I’d definitely look more toward foreign men as opposed to American men. they also tend to have a far less screwed perception of what it means to be a man and how to treat women. I’ve noticed that most american nerds (esp. black male nerds) hold grudges about not being noticed in high school and have entitlement issues.

  • Bridget

    1)Learn some form of self-defense and don’t let your guard down b/c you are on campus;always be aware.. 2)If you are sexually active,practice safer sex. 3)Take advantage of every opportunity, e.g. volunteering,mentoring,tutoring,etc.

  • Bye Trini

    Someone should expand this article into a book….one for Black Girls and one for Black Guys

  • Grandma

    Hello Ladies

    My granddaughter is precious too me. I am seeking information like those I have just read. She is an only child in a diverse neighborhood. A tall beautiflul Black lady.

    Hopefully these kinds of information sites are on the web and I’ll be able to find those she needs to read, along with her finds. Comments help build selfesteem and allows the reader/student to find herself and not be lost in the internal questions.

    When I was young we had no place or person to get answers, our Personal Problems class of High School was it. It was by trial and error and giving too much at the wrong time to the person of Greek origin, cute and/or smooth. The pledge life for girls had really many drawbacks and all of they were not pretty or nice. Bottom line. Back in the day Mothers wanted their daughters to move on “Up” and that at times by any means necessary as we “girls” did not know how to play the game and get the answer without the damnation that is often in the social society. We often color smack our own, too.

    Too each of you: your studies are first, keeping your character and finding yourself is primary. Don’t forget chapel attendance will give you peace within. There is an answer for each problem. Sometimes you must be quite and just meditate……..be still. You will win those wars of society and life that are presented to you. Read, expand your quest. You will win. …………and too being a virgin is not a shame………..only you and your feelings will know when that is what YOU want to do. Promise!

    Thanks for the information and may each young woman out there be guided by one of you in the dorm, on the campus, or in the classroom. Why not reach out and touch a girl, conversation helps and don’t talk her business if she confides in you. It does not take 20 girls in a pack to find a true friend. Fear will be easily seen and ugly can follow you all of your life. Campus actions have legs like ants.

    Sincerely, GM.