After months of college tours, information sessions, and pros and cons lists, each of us has to make a final decision by May 1st for where we want to spend our next four years (and thousands of dollars in tuition bills). After all that searching, at times it can feel like we simply pick one just to get it out of the way. Plus, after we pay our deposit, it can be months before we even step foot on campus again.
If you’re like me, at some point in those weeks away from campus you may start to second guess yourself and wonder, “Did I really make the right choice?” However, at PittStart, the University of Pittsburgh’s mandatory summer session for new students, these fears will quickly fade away. Here are 10 reasons why you’ll fall in love with all things Pitt at PittStart!
1. The Cathedral of Learning
The beloved Cathedral of Learning, also known as Cathy, is one of the most well-known landmarks of Pitt. The building, which opened in 1936, is viewable from practically any vantage point on campus. The Cathedral is a staple for Pitt students, and most can ramble off a number of fun facts about it at any given time, including the fact that it is 535 feet tall and has 2,529 windows. Cathy is more than just a tall building though, as it holds the meticulously decorated and accurate nationality rooms, depicting different countries throughout several eras in history, which students can even take classes in!
2. The Oakland Zoo
The school spirit at Pitt in general is through the roof, and you can’t walk more than 10 feet on campus without passing someone in a Pitt t-shirt. The Oakland Zoo is the perfect example of this, and seeing videos and hearing current members rave about Pitt’s infamous student section will get you excited to attend the games yourself! After spending just a short time on campus, you’ll find yourself chanting, “Let’s go Pitt!” along with your fellow panthers.
3. Pitt First Year Mentors
The First Year Mentors, as well as the Pitt Pathfinders, are really what keep PittStart together. The current students are open to answering any and all questions about college life, and specifically their life at Pitt! The FYM’s are welcoming to the incoming freshman, and it helps to show how different the college dynamic is from high school. These students genuinely want to help you adjust in any way that they can.
4. Dave & Andy’s Homemade Ice Cream
Dave & Andy’s is famous for its delicious homemade ice cream (and cones!), and it’s only a short walk from main campus. The cash only, mom and pop style parlor offers a wide variety of flavors, and may have you debating whether or not to spend your precious cash there instead of on this week’s laundry. Plain old soft serve will never taste the same again.
5. The First Floor of the Cathedral
The Cathedral of Learning, aka Cathy, aka Hogwarts, is no doubt one of the prettiest buildings you can find in Pennsylvania. If you haven’t lived under a rock for the last ten years, the resemblance to the famous witchcraft and wizardry school is undeniable. I can’t walk into the first floor without hearing Harry Potter music or picturing Daniel Radcliffe. Quidditch anyone?!
6. Mt. Washington Overlook
With city schools like Pitt, students get more than just a simple campus. Pittsburgh itself is also a part of your college experience! After a bus ride and a short trip up the mountain on the incline, the Mt. Washington Overlook is the best way to get a bird’s eye view of your new home. Just think of all the Instagram photo possibilities!
7. Primanti Bros.
The sandwich of all sandwiches, Primanti bros. is known for its high-stacked treats. Opened originally in Pittsburgh, each sandwich comes topped with fries, cole slaw, and tomato, and somehow manages to stay together between two slices of thick bread. With a location right on campus, Primanti Bros. will most likely become your annual cheat day (Bacon, cheese, and egg is my personal go-to!).
8. Your Potential Dorm Room
Staying overnight in the Litchfield Towers at PittStart is the first taste many get of dorm life. The Towers, cleverly named A, B, and C, are primarily freshman dorms, and are where many new students will live their first year. Even though it’s only for one night, it’s a chance to see how the dorm rooms are set up and to really begin planning for your big move. Get your Pinterest boards ready for DIY dorm designs and space-saver hacks!
9. The View from the 35th and 36th Floors
Although the Cathedral is 42 floors high, the 35th and 36th floors are the last ones open to students. These floors are “technically” reserved as an Honors college lounge, but most students will tell you it’s easy enough to get up there and see for yourself even if you’re not in Honors. As for reaching the very top of Cathy? I have heard tales from students who have made to the 42nd floor, but many will try and only a few will succeed.
10. Your Pitt Student ID
This may seem like the simplest thing, but it’s actually one of the most important. Your student ID is what officially identifies you as a panther, and what opens you up to all the perks that Pitt students receive. It is your free bus pass, and free admittance to various museums inside Pittsburgh, including The Warhol. Your Panther Card is not only your link to Pitt, but also your key to the city!
Each student has a moment when they realize which university is right for them. For me, it was standing alone atop the Cathedral in the Honors lounge when I thought to myself, “Yes, I can picture myself living here!” At PittStart, you might just have your moment with Pitt!