“looking back at my freshman year of college” post, so I figured I’d compensate with advice for incoming freshman at rutgers, and college in general.
- First and foremost, be ready to work
I was one of those kids who got great grades in high school with minimal effort, and I came into college thinking I’d breeze through this as well. The slap in the face I received next fixed that mindset very quickly. You’re going to have large amounts of work due every week on different days and some on the same day for different classes. Make sure you you choose classes that interest you, and for the ones that don’t make a friend in the class and work together. No matter how smart you are, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you genuinely try to do the work, it’ll reflect in your grades.
- Relationships are different
You’re going to meet so many people at college. For Rutgers kids, we have (last time I checked) upwards of 50,000 students at RU. I believe 30,000 of them live on/at/around campus. Due to the nature of living with certain people, and seeing others often, relationships are going to form and progress much more quickly than usual. This is both amazing and awful at the same time. Applied to dating, you can meet a girl (or guy) and after a week or 2 end up caring for them more than you intended. Ask any of my friends, I am repeat offender of this. I don’t caution against it, just be aware of what you’re getting into. As per friendships, I consider my roommate for this coming year one of my closest friends. The sheer amount of time we spent together (lived in the same dorm, partied together, ate together, hung out, worked out, played soccer, etc) we became great friends. So don’t be alarmed when you find yourself nearing the end of your first semester and feeling like somebody knows you as well as your friends from back home.
You’re going to find them at any university, if you’re a new scarlet knight, be prepared for annual trips to College Ave. Of course there’s the infamous ratios. For every one guy you’ll need x amount of girls to gain entry to a frat party. House parties normally request 5s. With that being said, the ease at which alcohol flows at rutgers makes it incredibly tempting/easy to get wasted weekend (which are thursday-saturday). I will never tell someone to not party. I will say make sure you’ve taken care of any homework, paper, or project due the next day or in the next two days (or atleast make progress on it), if not you’ll find yourself scrambling at the last minute to get it done and might loose points on your grade. Also, know your limit. Within the first 2 weeks at rutgers, you’ll have a good idea of what your tolerance is. Keep that in mind if you decide to pregame, and when you end up at your selected party. Nobody wants you to be that sloppy person throwing up on the buses, or belligerent to the point you need two friends keeping you from collapsing where you stand. Fair warning to Rutgers students, if you get caught drunk by RUPD or you get drunk enough that you end up at the hospital you will be put on probation and if you’re caught drinking during that time you can be kicked off campus.
- Hooking up at parties
it’s fun. It happens all the time. You reserve the right to say yes or no, don’t be afraid to say no. Also, look out for your friends. If they’re more drunk than normal, and are with some shady looking person, step in. Ladies, if there’s a guy who won’t leave you alone at a party, tell the brothers of the fraternity you’re at and they’ll make him leave, or if you’re out with a guy friend, give him a heads up and let him handle it.
- Embrace your independence
If you’re dorming, there are so many opportunities open to you. You’re away from home and can chase whatever interests you. Play in an intramural league (excuse me as I shameless plug RU Recreation. Amazing intramural leagues, especially soccer), look into Greek life, join a club, raise money for charity, join a choir, dance team, audition for a show. There are plenty of thinks to do at college, and if you don’t find something you like, start your own club.
- For Rutgers kids, the dining halls
Livi has the quality food. Neilson has the most diversity as well as good quality. Busch is okay, and quite frankly College Ave (Brower) is great for only take out and cereal. Freshmen are required to have a minimum of 210 meal swipes for their first year. Much more than you’re going to need. Dining halls typically close around 9:30 pm and take-out is open till mid night. I don’t eat much, but I like hoarding food from the dining hall and putting it in my fridge for later consumption. I recommend investing in tupperware.
- Oh yea, Roommates
They’ll either be your best friend, or you’ll hate them. Sometimes there will be a middle ground where you’re on ok terms with them, that you can tolerate living with them. If you have any issues, don’t hesitate to confide in your RA, they can normally help. Also set ground rules. This includes having “guests” over, having actual friends visit, sharing of food/alcohol, keeping the room clean, noise levels and so on. If you find yourself unable to stand your roommate, you can always request a room swap.
- Another Rutgers specific topic: the buses
The buses are much like your roommate. Either you’ll hate them, or learn to love them. They are occasionally reliable and if you don’t time it right, frequently screw you over. Always allocate enough time to get to the bus, it’s route, and then walking from the stop you want to your class. That way if something goes wrong, you won’t be royally fucked if the bus is late or if it breaks down. Also, learn the weekend bus schedule quickly, it will be invaluable knowledge to possess. Also try to figure out the general amount of time it takes to get from your dorm to the closest bus stop (or from a building to a bus stop) that way if nextbus says the bus will be there in 5 minutes you won’t have to sprint to catch it. With that being said, often times nextbus will say the bus will be at your stop in 10 minutes, this sometimes means it will be there in 2 minutes. Or if it says it will be there in 2 minutes, it might actually be 8 minutes. Don’t ask me why. Plan accordingly.
- Another relationship tip
Don’t let a relationship dominate your college life. You’re in college, the beginning of adult freedom. If you find someone worth caring for, by all means be with them. But also don’t rush into things. Common sense, that many people (including myself) forget.
I hope I’ve helped any new froshes with their concerns. Remember, enjoy college.