Carr: Seasoned Owl offers advice, wisdom to incoming freshmen

Advice columnist Cary Carr answers questions she should have asked when she was a freshman.

Cary CarrHello my little love-bugs. My name is Cary Carr, and from this point on I am going to be providing you with advice on an array of subjects. Now, before you blow me off as another smug upper classman who thinks they’re qualified to guide others just because they’re a step closer to graduation, let me tell you a little bit about myself.

I have been through a lot of drama since I became a proud Owl. I’ve struggled with body image woes, had my fair share of heartbreaks, done my fair share of heartbreaking, freaked about awkward roomie situations and even found myself crying in the corner of 1300 like a lost puppy (hey, we’ve all been there). And my major? Well, I only considered changing it about a dozen times.

I have made a lot of dumb mistakes and somehow managed to make it to my senior year in one piece, now with a steady relationship, a few internships stamped on my resume and a pretty solid living situation.

Still not convinced? Well, the most important thing you should know about me is that I’m honest. No, seriously, genuinely honest. If I think that skirt is ugly, I’m going to tell you it’s ugly. And if I think your girlfriend is being a jealous bi-atch, I’m going to suggest you dump her and move the hell on. Your best friend might tell you what you want to hear, but I’m going to tell you what you need to hear. And isn’t that what you came here for?

Now that you have a taste for what I’m all about — sort of bittersweet, eh? — I’ll give you some of my most fantastic what-I-wish-I-asked-as-a-freshman Q&As.

Question: If I end up meeting a guy and we might want some, um, alone time, how do I go about asking for some privacy without creeping my conservative roomie out?

Answer: Listen up – there is no easy solution for this. Unfortunately, as a freshman, you are doomed to share very close quarters with another person, and that person may not be as sexually liberated as you, or they may just not have any opportunities to get some loving of their own. Should you ask them to give you some one-on-one time? Hell to the no. That space is just as much theirs as it is yours, and by suggesting that you want them out of there just so you can have sex may end up making them feel uncomfortable, alienated or both. You’re going to have to smarten up and do what all freshmen must do – wait until yo u’re positive your roomie will be either out of town or out partying for the entire night and call-in for a quickie. Just be sure to have easy-to-pull-over outfits on-hand in case you suddenly see that doorknob turning. But don’t worry, by sophomore year, you’ll hopefully have your own room so you can do your own thing, no questions asked.

Q: I got straight A’s throughout high school, and I just got my first C, which I totally don’t think I deserve. What’s the deal?

A: Ah, high school. Class for eight hours a day, get home, eat dinner, possibly go to the gym or sport practice or whatever other extracurricular activity you occupy your time with. Do homework, go to sleep, wake up and repeat. Sound anything like your college experience? Nope. Do not beat yourself up about a less-than-perfect grade freshman year. Unless you’re one of those people who feels like their entire life is finished unless they have a 4.0 GPA (it’s so not), then having a couple of subpar grades is not the end of the world.

Your first year in college should be a learning experience on how to manage your time and how to balance partying, schoolwork, organizations, work, etc. You are going to stumble along the way, and that’s totally normal. It’s not easy transitioning from the comfort of home to this whole new world where there are random toga parties on a Wednesday night and a single homework assignment that somehow manages to take five hours. Give yourself a break. Soon enough, you’ll think college is a total breeze. Or you’ll just stop caring so much about grades and realize that in the end, it’s experience and passion that matter most.

Q: How do I tell my best friend that I want more time to do my own thing and meet new people without hurting his/her feelings?

A: It’s always tricky when you end up at the same school as your high school BFF. Of course, you don’t want to leave him or her in the dust, but you also need to find your independence, meet new friends and get that college experience. Feeling like they would rather sink into the comfort of your warm and cuddly friendship than step out into the new, scary world of a big campus? Instead of hurting their feelings by forwardly asking for some alone time, try to encourage them to take on their freshman year by storm like you want to. Know that they’re super into dance? Find out when the most rocking dance team’s auditions are. Maybe they are obsessed with working out? Let them know about that awesome group fitness class on Tuesday nights. Before you know it, you’ll both have new groups of friends and then you’ll be introducing one another and soon enough you’ll practically know everyone on campus. Well, probably not, but you get what I’m saying. Now go get your mingle on.

Cary Carr can be reached at Send questions to

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