Freshman guidance: How to survive college



UK’s newest freshman class hit campus Friday.

The atmosphere was unmistakably that of move-in day. New roommates embraced jubilantly as their parents held back tears, R.A.s geared up for the new semester’s start and locals cringed in horror as every person on campus tried to drive down Rose Street at the same time.

If you’re new on campus, there’s a good chance you’re not entirely sure what to expect from college.  That’s fine, everyone is a little unsure at first.  As a post-baccalaureate student now in my sixth year on campus, (yes, Mom, I have a plan, I just don’t feel like discussing it right now,) I know freshmen when I see them.

The following list is a good starting point for building your new life at UK:

1. Wear a lanyard. Everywhere.

How will people know you’re in college if you don’t hang your student ID around your neck 24/7? Remember your first day of kindergarten when your mom wrote your name and bus number on a piece of paper and pinned it to your shirt?  Same concept here.

You will need your student ID for everything. You can’t get into the dorms without it, you can’t eat without it and you definitely can’t get into college parties without it. Never take it off. Sleep with it. Shower with it. If you see someone on campus without a lanyard, just laugh and say, “Townie!”

2. Complain about your classes.  A lot.

Let’s face it, your professors are mean. They assign papers, they give pop quizzes and their exams are way too hard. Some of them even take attendance! We’ve all been through this, but you just have to remember that professors are people, too. Cruel, sadistic people.

The best way to deal with a professor who steps out of line is to go to office hours and have a civil conversation with him. Just go in, sit down and explain the problems you have with his class. He will listen, nod occasionally and give you a paternalistic smile. He will then tell you to go see his teacher assistant because he “really doesn’t handle this kind of thing.”

Tracking down the T.A. will be a bit more of a challenge. T.A.s are really just overworked graduate students providing cut-rate labor to the university and have been known to go to great lengths to avoid undergraduates. You will want to approach the T.A.’s office stealthily after the scheduled office hours have ended. Make sure he doesn’t hear you coming. Be sure to watch out for booby traps. If you set one off, he will try and make a break for it, so have someone stationed by the elevators to head him off.  Once you catch him, he should be submissive, just make sure you don’t look him in the eye.

3. Never tip the delivery guy.

The next four years will probably be the poorest of your life. Why would you waste your already limited resources to give some random dude four bucks? You need that money for beer!

The first time you stiff your driver he will give you the same look your dad used to give you when you turned on “Saved by the Bell” during “The Kudlow Report.” After the second or third time, you will notice that the delivery time on your orders is taking much longer than usual. After the fifth or sixth time, your food will arrive suspiciously fast; your driver may even hang around in the dorm lobby to watch you take the first bite of your pizza, just to make sure it’s good. At this point, congratulations, you beat the pizza delivery system officially.

4. Try to sound really smart in your papers.

One of the biggest mistakes freshmen make when writing papers is writing what they actually think, or, God forbid, the way they talk. Get a dictionary, open it to a random page, find a big word and form a sentence around that word. In academia, you can’t say, “This book was soooo boring. It was seriously, like, the stupidest thing I have ever read in my life.” That’s, like, C-material in a freshmen level class.

You can, however, write, “The author’s penchant for mundanity has a soporific affect upon the reader. One can reasonably assume that the Pulitzer Board bestowed such an honor upon him for the sole purpose of appeasing him and dissuading any future submissions.” Did you catch the difference? Good.

Okay, that’s it. You’ll have to figure the rest out. Don’t worry, though, you’ll be fine. Worst case scenario: you actually follow the advice in this article and have to stay in six years in college.