Freshman year is hard and there is definitely a learning curve. With these 20 tips every Eckerd College freshman should know, I will try and help you!
1. There are barnacles at South Beach.
South Beach and the dock on south beach are great places to hang out, but a fun afternoon of swimming can quickly turn into a medical emergency if you forget about our spiky friends living on the seawall. Barnacles are everywhere and they will cut you if you trespass on their territory. Use the ladder or pay in blood. What do barnacles look like?
2. Take the swim test ASAP.
You need to take your swim test in order to swim at the Eckerd College pool and check out all the free stuff at the waterfront, so do it as soon as possible.
Fun Fact: It’s super easy. All you have to do is swim back and forth three times and not lose the paper the lifeguard signs assuring everyone that you can be trusted in the water.
3. You still need shoes sometimes…
Eckerd is known for its campus wide no shoe phenomenon and it’s perfectly acceptable to go barefoot except in places that serve food. You still need shoes for the CEC, Cafe, and Pub, so either carry some around with you or be prepared to starve.
4. You’ll never stop learning about the pub.
The pub and the many secret intricacies of the pub are never ending. It took me 4 months to find out I could have a fruit as a side with swipe meals and there is no official menu for breakfast. Stay strong and reward yourself with every new secret knowing that you’re becoming more and more a part of the Eckerd family.
5. Yellow Bikes are not reliable.
Do not ride a bike to class and expect it to be there when you get out. Do not ride a bike to the pub and expect it to be there when you get out. There are 300 bikes on a good day and 1,200 kids at this school, do the math.
6. Do NOT purchase a yellow bike.
Green, blue, red, white and brown are all acceptable bike colors. Just don’t get one in yellow. It might be mistaken for a yellow bike and thus be taken if it isn’t locked up. And even it it is, it will inevitably lead to a an incredibly disheartening moment for someone who, until they noticed the lock, thought it was a yellow bike.
7. Your food is not always safe.
If you leave your food sitting outside unattended, a squirrel, bird or raccoon may take this as a sign that you no longer want it. Ever the environmental caretakers, they will make sure your food does not go to waste and they will eat it themselves. Hey, there were just trying to help!
8. …But your stuff usually is.
Despite the video they show you about your stuff being stolen by a vaguely attractive thief named Jimmy, your stuff is usually safe around campus. People won’t take your bike unless it’s yellow and unlocked and by that point, it’s your own fault because you’ve been forewarned.
9. Keep it in a cup.
You know what it is. Just keep it in a cup and you’ll make it just fine.
10. You can always say no.
College is filled with alcohol and other things but you can always say no. People won’t pressure you to do things you’re not comfortable with and high school notions of peer pressure are gone or have at least changed quite a bit. Now, you’ll be pressured to do other things like wear harem pants and going vegan. Just kidding…mostly.
11. Don’t go to the pub at 1:00 pm.
1:00 pm is probably one of the worst times to go to the pub. Everyone has just got out of their 12:50 classes and they are hungry, just like you. Plan ahead and either go to another cafeteria (Main cafe or CEC) eat before your class, or head to the pub closer to 1:45. Trust me, the lines aren’t worth it.
12. Take advantage of the student discounts around campus.
Most stores in St. Pete will give Eckerd Students a discount so always tell them or at least slip it into polite conversation. 10% may not seem like a lot, but for a broke college student just trying to get by, it adds up.
13. Use the school Facebook pages.
There are many Eckerd College Facebook pages and they prove to be immensely useful. Join the one for your class so you can find out about certain events, opportunities, or get help with just about anything under the sun. Join the pages for clubs you’re in so you know when meetings are cancelled and join the Free and For Sale groups so as you collect pointless things over the next 4 years, you have someone to give it to.
14. The Human Experience class sucks.
Get over it now because the truth is Human Experience won’t likely be your favorite class. As a gen-ed requirement though, you will have to spend a year with it and that’s okay. In the 16 or so books you will read (in full or on sparknotes, I’ll try not to judge) and the lectures you’ll attend you will likely find some knowledge that serves you well.
15. BE YOURSELF.
Nothing is regarded worse at Eckerd College than someone who is perceived as fake. Don’t be fake because everyone will accept the actual you a lot more.
16. Florida weather is weird, always be prepared.
When packing for a Florida college, it will be necessary to prepare for anything. Bring a rain jacket, small hurricanes are bound to plague us. Bring a real jacket, winters are surprisingly cold and once your body gets used to Florida heat, 60 degrees has a whole new meaning. Bring summer clothes because it’s still very hot. Bring jackets and sweaters because the buildings are equivalent to an icy tundra.
17. Make friends with a senior.
This friend, in all their venerable wisdom will be useful for many things. They’ll make you look less lame by telling you even more things not to do, they are fun to wave to at parties and you look less lame, and they can help you find things you otherwise wouldn’t be able to find- like the tree of life in the Palm Hammocks.
18. Don’t forget to rub it in to your friends that you go to school on a beach…
The best part of attending a college on the beach is letting everyone who are not at a college on the beach to know what a terrible decision they made. Get an Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook if you don’t already have one so you can post pretty pictures of Florida sunsets, the Eckerd pool and palm trees. Sure all your friends will hate you, but they’re just jealous.
19. You should also rub in sunscreen.
Sunscreen is another thing to rub in if you’re prone to burning. This is Florida folks-and the sun does not play around.
20. The bugs are brutal.
Mosquitoes will soon become the least of your concerns because plenty of other bugs will become apparent. No-see-ems’ flock around the beach hunting for prey, gnats hover around ponds and sidewalks like curtains of pure annoyance. And oh yeah, we still have mosquitoes.