So you made it through your first day of school in a new state, away from your family and probably most of your high school friends. On a day as beautiful as yesterday in Boulder, it can seem like the next four years will be perfect, no matter how far away you are from home. Some questionable decision-making is inevitable, so check out these tips to start your college experience as wisely as possible.
In case you weren’t aware, Boulder is more than 5000 feet above sea level. If you’re from almost anywhere else in the United States, being a mile above your normal elevation can be tough to get used to. It’s easier to get a sunburn and it can also mean altitude sickness, which occurs because there’s less oxygen–you’ll want to avoid the headaches, nausea, fatigue and dizziness that go along with that.
Add those symptoms in with a few drinks, and those few drinks can start to feel like a lot more. A common myth on campus is that the altitude makes you get drunk more quickly, but studies have shown altitude doesn’t have a direct effect on your blood alcohol content. The reason you’re suddenly tipsy off of one beer is the combination of alcohol and altitude sickness.
To prevent altitude sickness, stay hydrated, eat more carbs, take it (relatively) easy on the alcohol and exercise your first few days in Boulder. The altitude can also cause dehydration – one of the main causes of hangovers – so grab a Nalgene on one of your Target runs and start drinking water constantly.
Winter is the furthest thing from everyone’s mind with this week’s 90 degree days and random rain, but don’t let the thunderstorms trick you into thinking your rain boots will get you through the snow and ice. It might seem like a great idea to save money on snow boots by wearing your Hunter rain boots all winter, but they aren’t going to cut it in December.Your feet may stay dry, but they will be cold, no matter how many layers of socks you manage to stuff into your boots. Plus, rain boots don’t have the traction you need to not fall on your face while navigating ice patches on campus. Suck it up and buy some real snow boots.
On a side note, unless you’ve waterproofed those UGGs, prepare for wet, soggy and smelly shoes when you wear them in the snow for the first time.
This might seem silly now, but something else to keep in mind: the mountains are west. Because you can almost always see the mountains in Boulder, knowing what direction the Flatirons are can save you from getting lost on campus trying to meet up with a friend at the “east side of Norlin” or on the Hill.
Being an out-of-state freshman (or transfer student) can be rough at times, especially if your in-state friends go back on the weekends to home-cooked meals while you eat at the C4C, but following these tips will help you settle in and make your first year in Boulder a little bit easier.
Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Ainslee Mac Naughton at Ainslee.firstname.lastname@example.org.