1. The dorms you will be living in are not as nice as these ones.
Chances are, you’re going to be in Oakland Hall for your UMD orientation, which is one of the nicest dorms on campus. Check ahead on res life’s website to find where your actual dorm is going to be and prepare ahead of time. Some of the dorms aren’t air conditioned so bringing a fan; this will be a LIFESAVER!
2. The Diner food may have a large “variety” now, but give it a couple months.
Although the Diner tries to switch up options by having lobster nights and Halloween specials, most of the time you will have more or less the same menu to choose from. If you’re tired of getting the same old wraps, head to the salad bar and grab some veggies for stir fry. Don’t be afraid to spice things up! Take advantage of the spices and sauces that the Diner stocks near the salad bar to spruce up your meal.
3. You may or may not see the people you meet at orientation ever again.
That girl that ends up in your orientation group that you exchange phone numbers and emails with, may or may not be your best friend for the duration of your college escapades. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t see her as often as you would like. The first person you meet on campus will not always end up becoming your BFF. But don’t worry! There will be tons of chances for you to make friends along the way.
4. Those 8 a.m. classes are not attainable.
I don’t how we did it in high school, but it is agreed upon unanimously that college 8 a.m. classes are almost impossible to get up for! So when you register for classes, make sure that you give yourself some time to get ready and get across campus.
5. Chill out.
That being said, you will find yourself in sweatpants and a t-shirt more often than you would imagine. Everyone heads off to college with the cutest new wardrobe. You will be rocking these new threads for the first few weeks. However, once you hit your first all-nighter, you will opt for comfort over style!
6. The Bookstore’s textbooks are overpriced.
I can give you almost a 100% guarantee that any price you find elsewhere will be cheaper than the ones at the Bookstore. So open up your laptop because that’s where the best deals are. Save visits to the bookstore for school swag shopping! No one does school swag better.
7. You need to keep up with your classes.
You’re going to have a lot more freedom in all aspects of your life once you move to college, and its going to be extremely easy to hit the snooze button and sleep in for another “5 minutes.” Having class with 200 other students will make it appealing to skip a class or two, since nobody will notice. But going to class will help you in the long run! You are going over the material regularly, and if there are any important assignments coming up, you will know.
8. You will probably graduate with a different major.
Don’t be frustrated if your major doesn’t work out to be all that you thought it would be. Tons of students change their major in college. Let’s face it; if you don’t like what you’re doing right now, there’s a good chance that you won’t like it in a couple years.
9. You don’t have to finalize your major at orientation.
There are a couple of exceptions. Some programs require you to apply on time because there are a limited number of spots and they take the entire four years to complete. Other majors don’t require the whole eight semesters, so there’s a good chance that you can take a couple of classes in different disciplines to figure out what you really like before you commit. You can do this while taking electives so you are still getting credit.
10. You WILL end up sacrificing to Testudo.
You may or may not believe in our tradition of giving sacrifices to the Testudo statue outside of McKeldin in exchange for good grades, but after your first round of finals you’ll come around! When Terps sacrifice, we go big or go home. In the past, there have been lamp posts, couches, pool tables, and TVs found next to Testudo. So make sure that you offer something so Testudo can bless your GPA.
11. You won’t go to EVERY game.
The University of Maryland may be a BIG10 school, and our student section may be one of the best in the country, but don’t stress it if you can’t make it to every single one of them.
12. These four years will go by before you know it.
Everyone pretty much agrees that you end up in your senior year way too fast. College is one of the best four years of your life, and it goes by quickly. From the late night to early morning lounge study sessions in your dorms to the nights out partying, you’ll have tons of moments in college that you will treasure looking back. Make every moment count!
13. Grades matter.
You know the one person in high school that always brags about how they don’t care that they failed their final? You won’t find anyone like that in college, because everyone is here to do the best that they can do. People are paying thousands of dollars a year to go to school and get a diploma. There are parties going on nearly every night, so even if you miss out on one, its not a big deal. You don’t have to stay in and study every night, but just make sure your priorities are straight.
14. Go to office hours.
Office hours are great for going over material that you didn’t understand in class. They are also good for getting to know your professors. Professors will give you good class and career advice. For most students in the sciences, professors are also looking for research assistants to help out in their lab.
15. Learn how to do laundry.
Even if you live close to home, you will need to learn how to do your laundry. Also, don’t be the person that leaves your laundry in the machine after it’s done. People WILL take it out and put it on the floor. Nothing’s worse than having a pile of freshly washed clothes pick up everything that’s on the laundry room floor. Luckily, you can check on terpwash.umd.edu to know when your laundry’s done.
16. Bring shower shoes.
Communal showers are not the cleanest places, so you definitely want to have a pair of shower slippers. Accompany this with a shower caddy and toothbrush case, and you’re set. Also opt in for a bathrobe if you don’t feel comfortable taking the walk back to your room in your towel.
17. Pack for all types of weather.
You will face the four seasons every day when you’re on campus. Pack a light jacket for your morning classes, which you can easily stash in your backpack when the noon sun comes out. GET A PAIR OF RAIN BOOTS! You literally cannot navigate the school without a good pair of rain boots. Since the campus has a lot of hills, it also means that there will be a lot of low-lying lakes. When it rains, steer clear of the Mall and Hornbake Plaza.
18. Just pack good shoes in general.
Good shoes = happy feet. UMD is a HUGE campus. It’s going to take at least 15 to 20 minutes to get to each of your classes. You will be walking large distances and climbing multiple hills during the day, so be sure that you have comfortable footwear.
19. Take advantage of free food.
There are two types of people at the end of every semester: those who are making it rain in dining points, and those who are living off ramen. Don’t get me wrong, ramen is great if you need a quick meal; but you can avoid having to rely solely on microwave noodles if you keep track of your dining points. UMD has multiple dining plans depending on how much you like to visit the Diner, so you can choose the one that you think suits you best. You can also grab free meals at meetings offered by organizations, who will give you food just for showing up. You can also hit up the Maryland Co-Op in Stamp!
20. You will participate in more all-nighters than humanly possible.
Stay hydrated! Water is brain food and also helps reduce under-eye bags. Whenever the regular all-nighter rolls around, make sure you have plenty of snacks as well, and maybe a blanket. But don’t get too comfortable. Try not to do all-nighters before a test, because your brain won’t function properly and the silence during the exam will make you drowsy. And remember, nothing is more important than your health, regardless of what your transcript says.
Featured image source: consciousventurelab.com
Niharika Kalla is an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland. She wants to go into the medical field after graduation. During her free time she enjoys drawing and listening to music.