Wherever you end up in life, there is one very important thing you always need to remember to do. When you arrive at a restaurant with the intent of dining out, always check to see if you should seat yourself or if you need to wait to be seated. If you are instructed to seat yourself, by all means, go ahead and seat yourself. If you are to wait to be seated, then wait to be seated. I cannot stress the importance of this concept enough. Don't seat yourself. Especially don't seat yourself at a table that still has dirty glasses on it from the people who were sitting there before you. If the restaurant is busy and you think you will get served more quickly if you seat yourself, you are very wrong. Chances are, since you are already seated when you were supposed to wait - especially if you are at a dirty table - no one is going to notice you need to be served. All the servers will think someone else is helping the table. If you choose to seat yourself and nobody helps you for several minutes, don't get snotty when someone finally realizes you are new and need to be served. Don't get snide or rude or angry with the staff for not being served right away. It's your own fault because you seated yourself when you were supposed to wait.
One of the most difficult things to learn in college is the art of procrastination. For those of you who do not work well under pressure and need to do things far in advance to make sure they are done well should never procrastinate. For those of you who do work well under pressure or for those of you who need pressure to be able to function in a productive manner really need to watch yourselves and make sure that even if you are procrastinating, you leave yourself enough down-to-the-wire time to get everything done.
I am one of those people who need to have 15 million things that need to be accomplished or I won't be productive at all. This usually works well for me and while I might get stressed out on occasion, I almost always succeed in getting everything finished on time. It is when I only have one or two things to do that I tend to procrastinate beyond realistic time constraints and freak out.
Case in point: Several days after July Fourth, I had a Young Enthusiasts meeting at the museum at which I was to propose an event. I had the entire week off from my internship except for this meeting ' which was on Thursday at 2:30PM - and only had to work at the restaurant two nights that week. With all this down time at my disposal, I decided to create the proposal on Thursday morning. That same morning I needed to attend a Food Handler's meeting to get my Food Handler's card, something everyone who works in a restaurant in Norfolk is required to have. The Food Handler's meeting was at 9:30AM and was supposed to last an hour, meaning I would get home before 11AM and could work on my proposal for three hours, a time constraint I deemed very doable since I had researched the topic the night before and simply had to type up the actual proposal using the information I already found.
After the Food Handler's meeting ' which was really weird and pretty darn disgusting ' I was busily working on my event proposal when my sister called me from work. There was an emergency. Our friend Fatt Matt (one of the skinniest guys I have ever known), who was in Michigan at the time, needed his birth certificate and passport in order to sign his marriage license the following morning. Someone needed to drive to his house, get these things, and mail them to him. There were several problems with this. Problem One: It was a Thursday morning, which meant everyone was at work and I was the only person who could possibly do this. Problem Two: Fatt Matt lives a half hour away from my house, it was already going on 12PM, and my proposal was only about half done. Nevertheless, I said that of course I would get his birth certificate and passport, that his marriage was more important to me than completing a proposal for my internship.
As I was waiting for Fatt Matt to call me and give me directions to his house, I very quickly tried to finish my proposal. When I left the house, I had all the information in bullet form and just needed to put it in coherent, well-written sentences. Since I am still not altogether familiar with Norfolk roads, I missed the entrance ramp for the road I needed and decided to go a different, much slower way, a fact I did not know at the time. After about 25 minutes of driving, when I should have been approaching Fatt's house, I was nowhere near where I needed to be. I got on the closest highway back to Norfolk, then took the road I was originally supposed to take and arrived at Fatt's house an hour after I had left mine. Fatt Matt told me that the birth certificate and passport were in one of two shoeboxes, either on the kitchen shelves or in a pile of junk in his dining room. Luckily, they were in the blue shoe box on the kitchen shelves, the place I looked first. I phoned Fatt Matt to tell him I had the necessary documents in hand and that I was driving back to my house because I needed to finish the proposal. It was up to him to find the nearest FedEx to my house so that I could mail him the items.
I arrived back home around 1:45PM, finished the proposal, emailed it to my boss, and drove immediately to the museum only to find out that my boss was still at lunch. Meanwhile, Fatt Matt had called me back and had given me directions to the nearest FedEx, which happened to be 20 minutes away from where I was. So I sat, adrenaline sky high, for half an hour while I waited for my boss to get back from lunch. As soon as she arrived, I rushed to her office and explained the situation to her, described the urgency of what I needed to do, and asked if we could please, please, PLEASE do my proposal first so that I could leave as soon as possible to go to the FedEx store. She told me that it was fine, I could leave, she didn't know if they would get to the proposal during the meeting anyway.
I was on the road once again, being an awfully aggressive driver, trying desperately to get to the FedEx store before 4:30PM, the closing time for shipments going out on a guaranteed next morning 8AM delivery. When I finally reached the store, I rushed inside and, having never shipped anything FedEx before, had the shipping guy fill out the paperwork for me. I let him know that I had to do everything in my power to make sure the documents were in Fatt Matt's hands by 8AM the next morning. I'm pretty sure everyone in the store thought I was crazy. I sent Fatt's stuff off and returned home, driving slightly less aggressively and stopping at Taco Bell on the way to get a very late, very large lunch ' it was about 3:30PM by this time and all I had had to eat that day was a small bowl of Honeycomb around 7:30AM. After four hours of straight adrenaline rush, I decided it was time for a nap.
Thankfully, everything worked out fine. Fatt Matt received the package on time to sign his marriage license. The Young Enthusiasts loved my proposal and decided to go ahead and plan the event. I took very long, very satisfying nap and did nothing on Friday until I had to work at the restaurant.
Two things can be learned from this story. The first is that the art of procrastination is very hard to master. I am certainly still working out the kinks my own system of procrastinating. Even if you do need pressure to work and you have budgeted enough time to get everything done, an unexpected situation may arise that completely erases your carefully constructed time budget and it may then be necessary to prioritize - another very difficult concept.
The other thing that can be learned is that I am a hero. I saved Fatt Matt's wedding!
After a fun weekend of a lake house cook-out, a Tides game with fireworks, and the parents being in town, my Fourth of July Tuesday was rather subdued. Some of my friends came over and we played 'Friends' Scene It and set off several rather dinky fireworks. The others drank a bottle of Greek wine my brother brought home from Greece. It was an uneventful evening, but nice nonetheless.
In other, more eventful news, the other roommate has officially moved out. This means it is time for me to switch from using the master bath in my sister's room to sharing one with my brother. The issue is not sharing a bathroom with a boy ' my brother's really not as dirty as one would think a male would be. The issue is that the bathroom we are using looks like it has never been cleaned in its existence. Left with no other option, I have decided to do a deep cleaning.
Cleaning skills are very useful for dorm life, so listen up. Cleaning is essential. Use hot water and elbow grease, getting on your knees for best results. You may think that the cleaning staff at college is there for the purpose of cleaning everything, but this is not the case. You may think that your roommate is cleaning and/or that 10 months is too short a time to clean a dorm room, but that type of thinking is also very, very wrong. You should at the very least vacuum a couple of times a year. 'I don't have a vacuum,' you say. Not a problem. The smart girl down the hall has one. I also just bought a new vacuum, you can borrow mine.
(On a side note, keep in mind that you get charged for any extra goodies the cleaning staff has to clean up on your hall.)
You should not think of your dorm room as just a dorm room, it should be home away from home. Take pride in your living space and spruce it up to suit your taste. Add a rug, some lamps, and a nice comforter. Often times,shopping for house wares can be fun and enjoyable. On Monday I went shopping for some house wares myself. Besides my new vacuum, I purchased a shower curtain and helped my sister decide on a new coffee maker. I am particularly excited about the shower curtain, which is white with black decals of travel destinations, such as Paris, Hollywood,and the Bahamas. All I need are some black bath mats to complete the look.
While I am on the subject of house wares/coffee makers, I should briefly mention that coffee is something very important in college, but I will save a blog entry on coffee for a later date.
Going to college can be a good excuse to go out and buy a mini-fridge, microwave, and computer, but make sure you use that excuse as much as possible: buy house wares.