The dos and don’ts of freshman year

All right, freshmen. There may come a time when life at the College of William and Mary may seem like nothing out of the ordinary. You may one day find nothing strange about living in a time warp or frequenting delis instead of bars. But until that day comes, here’s a little list of insider tips you won’t find anyplace else.

Do take the time to explore Colonial Williamsburg and the rich history in the College’s backyard. Don’t become the kid whose idea of a wild time consists of posing inappropriately by the historical statues and buildings.

Do take the time to experience the glory of late-night Chanello’s with your hall mates. Don’t stand idle when the hall mooch comes around for that last slice of pepperoni.

Do look up your hall mates on Facebook. Go ahead and add them; write on their walls. Don’t freak out when your friend count hasn’t climbed past 100 in the first month. It is Facebook, after all.

Do explore the limited, though periodically lively, party scene. Don’t take that last precious solo cup out the door for the walk home. The cops won’t find you half as charming as your drinking buddies do.

Do explore the wide selection of extra-curricular activities offered by the student body. Don’t become the standard College student: An individual who far too often walks the line between panic and all-out breakdown trying to balance choir practice, the debate team and midterms, tutoring, international service trip meetings…

Do take advantage of fraternity rush. The drinks are free, and they welcome just about everyone with a smile and a handshake. Don’t wake up the next morning in a room full of empty cans and “Animal House” posters.

Do plan to spend quality time at your Orientation Aide’s mandatory playdates known as mixers. Don’t regale your newfound friends about the time you “totally skipped third-period Spanish this one time in high school.” This is college; time to kick it up a notch.

Do test your Resident Assistant’s knowledge of all things related to the College in order to learn more about life on campus. Don’t test your RA’s knowledge of whether or not you’re throwing a party in the next room. Keep the music somewhere between Coldplay and Fallout Boy.

Do try to put together a balanced course load that starts at a reasonable hour. Don’t jam all your classes into a single 12-hour day, featuring a 10-minute dinner break during the power walk from Morton to Wren. A six-day weekend may seem like a quaint idea, but it’s not.

Do head over to Swem if you’re looking for some quiet study time. Don’t expect to find that quiet study time anywhere on the first floor. Athletes and Swem socialites turn the place into their own personal clubhouse.

Do enjoy the wide variety of campus food offered by your meal plan. Don’t gamble on those more-than-questionable Sadler Center dishes. You’re better off eating Quizno’s than risking that mysterious-looking beef.

Do risk the late-night Wawa lines for endless munchie possibilities. Don’t sweat it when someone stumbles in front of you to order a sandwich. If it’s the right time of night, chances are neither of you will remember it in the morning.

Don’t stress over every little thing that goes wrong in the first few weeks — or even the first year. Do take the time to enjoy yourself, to meet people, and to fully experience some of the best years of your life. As the great Tom Petty said, “The work never ends, but college does.”


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