Four years ago, you adjusted to a new high school, and now it’s time to do the same with college. And yes, what you’ve been told before is true: college is not like high school! Before you get too caught up in worrying about lab and praying for those nice curves in chem, here are some no-fail ways to help you not be totally clueless about freshman year at Stony Brook.
1. Participate in your freshman seminar class.
Like, actually raise your hand to answer questions or ask questions, rather than just sitting there and not even trying to look like you give a darn. You may think that being forced to take a class that gets you acquainted with the university and informs you of important deadlines, policies, and resources is so stupid, but the more comfortable you make yourself in class, the better your experience will be. Your instructor and the TA(s) want to help you, so don’t overlook that.
2. Take a tour of the lecture halls during opening weekend.
After you’ve moved onto campus for your freshman year at Stony Brook, you have the opportunity to essentially find your classes before the first day, via a tour from the super friendly tour guides. You really don’t want to be that person who can’t find half their schedule during the first week because you decided you’d wing it. If you’re terrible at reading maps, you should definitely attend this tour.
3. Have at least two shirts that are the same as your UGC’s color.
If you’re in HDV for your freshman year at Stony Brook (like I was!) you’ll want to make sure you have some purple in your closet. And if you’re in SSO, you need some blue. All six UGC’s are super spirited and love putting on fun events. You do get a free t shirt the color of your UGC and with your UGC’s logo on it, but most people sleep in these shirts or use them for working out. There are lots of events throughout the year at which you’d want to show your UGC pride!
4. Scope out the dining halls to build a list of your campus favorites.
Explore options beyond West Side Dining. Use the Jasmine food court as your chance to get adventurous with Asian cuisines (if you’ve never really delved into them before). Try not to stick to just one dining location during your freshman year at Stony Brook, because you WILL get sick of it! Plus, there will be new dining options this fall, since we’ll all be introduced to the brand new East Side Dining Facility!
5. If you dorm, know the location and hours of operation of your Quad Office.
You never know when you’ll need to speak to someone in the quad office about an issue. This is where you go if your ID card isn’t letting you into your building (for some strange reason) or if you need information on certain housing processes, just to name a couple of situations. Every quad has one quad office in the basement of one of the residence halls, and there’s one main office on Mendelsohn Quad.
6. Don’t go home too often.
I understand missing home (and you will at times in your freshman year at Stony Brook) but you really miss out if you go home literally every single weekend (like I did). You miss out on whatever events and sports games are happening during the weekend – great opportunities for you to hang with and get to know the people you’ve met.
7. Visit the RA office regularly, just to talk to the RAs.
I’ve made some great RA friends this way. Plus, they will always be able to offer you advice on doing well in class, getting enough sleep, campus resources, and more, because they’ve been in your shoes; and one of their biggest responsibilities is to help make sure that you’re comfortable where you are. Even if you just head down to the office to talk about nothing in particular, they definitely remember you and appreciate it!
8. Get to know all the academic resources that are available if you need help in a class.
These classes are actually no joke! You might’ve been a straight A student in high school, but don’t be surprised if you falter a little your first semester; it happens! To make sure you don’t completely drown, know where you can find on-campus resources. We have multiple learning centers for many subjects, and specific class levels where TAs assist students with homework, studying for exams, and understanding the material in general. You can also sign up for regular tutoring, and of course your professor’s office hours are a great resource!
9. If you’re a commuter student, get in touch with the Commuter Student Association.
Forty six percent of students at Stony Brook are commuters, which is still a pretty big portion. Don’t feel like because you don’t dorm “like everyone else” there’s nothing here for you, and all you can do is go to class and go home. The CSA puts on great events for all students during the semester, and you’ll make lots of friends. Getting in touch with other people who brave the task of commuting daily just like you do can be an outlet for helpful tips and tricks for adjusting to the school.
10. Ride all the campus buses at least once.
We have the Outer Loop, Inner Loop, Hospital/Chapin Route, Express Route, Railroad Route, and Shopping Route (and a shuttle to the Hamptons). Go on a joy ride with some friends one day so you see exactly where each bus takes you. The Outer Loop takes you to pretty much every quad – and even through the West Apartments Complex – but that’s not exactly the case with the Inner Loop. You never know when the weather might be too crappy to walk, and when you need to get to the LIRR station in a hurry, this is really useful info!
11. Kick yourself out of your comfort zone.
This is one of the easiest ways to have no regrets during your freshman year at Stony Brook. You won’t collect freebies from tabling events if you’re too scared to go alone because your friends can’t make it. You won’t have the experience of becoming an e-board leader at Hall Council if you’re afraid of making a little speech in front of people.
12. Get the contact info. of all the cool, new people you meet.
This is a big university, and for the most part there are a lot of friendly people who want to get to know everyone. Your first month of school, you’ll probably meet and talk to almost 80 different people. There’s no guarantee that all those people will still be close with you after the first semester; but still get some type of contact info. from them, because everyone just wants to make friends and find their group on campus.
13. Get to know your roommate and/or suite mates.
Some people find lifelong friends in the people they live with. Getting to know them is also important because it can prevent future conflicts (and conflicts are the last thing a college student wants to deal with during their freshman year at Stony Brook). You must at least speak to your roommate, because you need to fill out a roommate contract where you basically “set the rules” of your room. So if you don’t like the window opened at night, or you can’t study with loud music on, this is the chance for you to speak up or forever hold your peace!
14. Decorate your dorm room.
Make your side of the room your own. Do something that’s representative of you, where you come from, or your personality. Hang up quotes that make you laugh or smile, or motivate you every morning. There are tons of cool ways you can decorate your space so that you actually feel like you’re coming home when the day is over. Think of it as practice for a future apartment.
15. Take a picture with Wolfie!
This is a highly coveted feat at Stony Brook. Wolfie is everyone’s beloved mascot, and there’s just something that seems so magical and victorious about getting to have a picture with the one and only.
16. And if anyone asks, you’re a Seawolf!
We have literally a million different call and response chants, and you don’t have to keep up with all of them; but if there’s one that you must know by heart it’s, “What’s a Seawolf? I’M A SEAWOLF!”
Know any other ways to adjust to freshman year at Stony Brook? Comment below!
Featured image source: pinterest.com
Jasmin is a junior Journalism and Digital Arts student at Stony Brook University. She is a lover of writing, reading, Zumba, animals, and winged eyeliner. Oh, and she may also have a slight obsession with to-do lists. She's also a lifestyle blogger and owner of the website Macarons & Mascara (www.macaronsandmascaraonline.com). You'll never fail to find her typing away on her computer, iced green tea latte in hand.