Welcome back, Tigers! As summer winds down and classes begin to pick up steam, we find ourselves faced with many questions. Adapting to the dystopian-Clemson future (hopefully only a minor break in our regularly scheduled programming) may take a few deep breaths, but be encouraged that the world is in the same thoughtful position you are. Often, our questions find no answers (how long will COVID last, what does the social scene look like for students now, how do magnets work, etc.) but with hope, they will all be answered in time. Despite this, I’m here to settle some of your angst. My name is Davis White, and I’m a Junior double-major in English and Communication, making me beyond qualified to talk about anything. I hope to use my experience as a Clemson student, Resident Assistant and all of the time I’ve spent talking to my dog over the last several months to help you find answers to the questions I can. So, without further ado, welcome to my first week in “Tiger to Tiger."
Question #1: “Are the ‘rent used’ textbooks a good option from the bookstore?”
For fellow penny-pinchers like myself, the used textbooks from Clemson’s bookstore are an excellent choice. Depending on the class or book, you may be able to find cheaper options via websites like Amazon or Chegg, and even the intangible eBook can be worth it, but oftentimes you risk getting an older edition or a battle-worn copy that may send you —or your instructor— into a frenzy. Through the bookstore, it’s easy to select your texts online by course number and section, which can then be shipped to you relatively quickly. Many times, you’ll find other’s dog ears, ripped pages or the occasional cartoon genitalia, but occasionally you’ll strike gold and find other’s answers to questions forever etched into the pages. Plus, ordering through Clemson almost guarantees that the texts you purchase will mostly be unscarred.
There’s always a cheaper option if you’re willing to dig for it.
Question #2: “How should I get to know people and reach out as a freshman?”
An excellent question with almost infinite answers (less so after COVID-19). TigerProwl, Clemson’s conglomerate club and organization fair, is a great way to find your way into your niche. Clemson’s hundreds of clubs give students almost countless options to join a group that they find appealing, from wildlife to Greek Life. TigerQuest is another way to find all of these clubs and apply to join them online, since TigerProwl will be virtual this semester.
Also, with the coronavirus limiting everyone’s social circle at least somewhat, plan on getting to know your roommates pretty well. Food is often the fastest road to friendship, so plan to eat both out and in, have movie nights and (safe) outings that you and your hopefully friendly roommate can enjoy.
Question #3: “What would you do if your roommates wanted to have a party in the middle of a pandemic? I feel really uncomfortable about it, but I’m not sure how to say so.”
All jokes aside, there are lots of serious parts to this question.
Safety should be everyone’s first concern in returning to campus, and with this virus being both fairly new and fairly lethal, no one should consider themselves safe. Clemson has made their expectations clear for every student to assist in the collective effort to keep our operations on campus. With other universities being forced to revert to online learning, it’s obvious that Clemson made the right call in waiting for examples to base their returning plans on. That said, if you aren’t comfortable with your roommates throwing a party in your shared space, then they need to respect that. Throwing that party could very well be the reason that everyone has to go back home, or worse. Understanding who’s coming into your space and when is important to your safety and the safety of others.
It’s a different story in the case of your roommates going out to parties or kickbacks beyond your control.
We’ve all seen COVID-19 and understand it to some extent, but the seriousness of it in our own lives and its impact on others around us can be a factor that we neglect. There is no guarantee that you’re invincible because you’re in a low-risk category. It’s almost paradoxical; the individual makes a choice based on their assessment of consequences, but the greater whole may suffer due to that individual’s lack of consideration, understanding and responsibility that’s owed to those around them.
Now, philosophy aside, no one wants to crap on other people’s fun.
We’ve all been locked inside for ungodly amounts of time, and those of us who are extroverts can testify to the need to socialize. We all function differently, have different beliefs and take different risks. Ultimately, we’re all different people, and our values or desires can often trump the reality of the situations we find ourselves in.
So, biting the bullet and having the conversation in advance can be one of the only ways to come to an understanding. You may butt heads but encourage them to be considerate of your fears and expectations. If you’re living on campus, you can always take this conversation to your RA for a discussion on your roommate agreement, but you ultimately can’t stop your roommate from doing what they’re going to do, especially when living off-campus. They’re adults as well as you are, though demonstrating inconsiderate behavior to you and others may point to other labels.
The next best defense is to protect yourself. Stay sanitary and follow the guidelines that they’ve chosen to abandon. Encourage them to continue following those guidelines as much as you can, but if need be, distance yourself from them. They should understand that they chose to make a decision that wasn’t in accordance with your own, and that while you may even be the best of friends, you can’t risk your own safety. If that isn’t enough to make them reconsider, then that may need to be another conversation between the two of you.
To submit questions to our future advice columns, fill out the form at: tinyurl.com/Tig2Tig