20 Tips Every Stony Brook Freshman Should Know

The day has arrived — you’re finally a Seawolf! But before you head off to begin your first semester of General Chemistry I, calculus, and, of course, your freshman seminar class, don’t forget to take these tips every Stony Brook freshman should know with you!

1. Don’t feel confined to only picking a STEM major.

Stony Brook is a research university with a large focus on STEM programs; however, I’m a journalism major and I’m doing just fine. Some people are afraid to venture beyond math and science for their own reasons, but don’t shut yourself out from the opportunities that non-STEM programs can give you. Pro tip: departments such as the Journalism and English Department tend to be way smaller, and most of the class sizes are actually NOT 300 student lecture halls!

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

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2. Amass as much free stuff as you can.

Our university is huge, so there are often many small-scale events for students, like the health and wellness fair, for example. There will always be free stuff at these events. Take the free stuff. You never know when you might need a pair of sunglasses, or an ID card holder; you can never have too many red t-shirts that say, “what’s A Seawolf?”

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

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3. Remember your NetID.

It’s literally the key to almost all of your campus accounts – like your university email – and it helps you register for fitness classes. Also remember your login information for SOLAR; that’s how you register for classes and pay fees (including tuition)!

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

4. Don’t smoke in the bathrooms at 2 a.m.!

Look, no one is judging you in any way shape or form, but smoking in the residence hall bathrooms WILL cause the fire alarm to go off, and your entire building WILL be pissed at you for hauling them out of bed at such godforsaken hours. Plus, the University Police absolutely will find out it was you.

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

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5. If you don’t live on Roth quad, in Lauterbur, or Yang Hall, bring a fan.

At the very start of the semester it’s unbelievably hot, and except for the aforementioned living arrangements, the rooms have no air conditioning.

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

6. Unless you live on Roth quad, it’s a long walk to class.

And it feels even longer when you’re running late! Plan ahead in the morning so that you leave your room with adequate time to walk to class.

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

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7. Go to Hall Council every week.

If you want to get to know the people in your building, the easiest way to do so is by attending Hall Council. Hall Council is also great for free food, free games, and free updates on the most vital aspects of campus news.

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

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8. Know the Sinc Site hours like the back of your hand.

Sinc Sites are pretty much computer labs where we can print papers, do computer work, scan papers, and the like. There are many Sinc Sites throughout campus, so definitely know the locations and hours of at least five of them to make things easier for yourself.

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

9. Download “print from anywhere.”

It’s a huge time saver when you don’t have time to trek to the library to log into a computer to print something. But if you can’t get “print from anywhere,” the Virtual Sinc Site is just as golden!

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

10. Don’t bother the geese on campus.

Yes, there are many geese on campus — mostly on Roth quad near Roth Pond. Don’t try to feed them; don’t try to chase them. Hell, I’d walk the other way if a goose was standing in my path. They’re vicious creatures that have absolutely no chill; they can and will hurt you.

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

11. Frey Hall has some of the best lecture halls on campus.

Nice tables, nice desks, and holy mother of outlets! If you need some juice on your phone or laptop in between classes, you’re in luck if you have a lecture in Frey Hall. There are outlets under all the desks, and it’s just a really comfortable hall.

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

12. While we’re still talking about outlets, the Social and Behavioral Sciences building is the mother load of outlets.

The fifth and sixth floors are great places to sit down and work in between classes — especially if your laptop is running low on battery, or if you desperately need to charge your phone.

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

13. When you go to a Seawolves sports game, you need to sit in the Red Zone.

The Red Zone is where all the action takes place — good or bad. It’s the loudest and most engaged section of the audience. I personally think that it enhances the spectator experience, because at most games, the people in the Red Zone are the ones who are chanting and clapping the entire time.

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

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14. If you played an instrument in high school, don’t hesitate to sign up for the marching band.

The marching band is absolutely amazing! It’s full of talented musicians and it really enhances the mood of all the events. Plus, the band is very well respected on campus. During orientation, members come around to all the tables with clipboards to see if anyone is interested in joining. That was an opportunity I didn’t jump on, and I really wish I had!

See Also

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

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15. Download the SBU Transit app.

There are several buses running throughout campus that take you to different locations on campus. The app tells you how long you have to wait before a specific bus gets to your location. The schedules are accurate more often than not, and the buses are huge life savers on rainy days.

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

16. Invest in a good umbrella and rain shoes.

You don’t get rain in Long Island; you get torrential downpours. The high speed winds are no kinder. On rainy days our campus is literally an umbrella graveyard. Don’t think that you can just sprint through it to class, or that your hoodie will suffice.

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

17. Join at least one club your first year.

During the first semester, everyone wants to know as many people as they can, because it’s such a huge school (sometimes you’re lucky if you see the same person on campus twice in a blue moon)! Joining clubs is a fast and easy way to talk to people and make new friends; we have so many to choose from!

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

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18. Don’t treat your freshman seminar class like it’s a joke.

As a teaching assistant for one of the classes, I can honestly say that even though you feel awkward sitting in a chair being forced to talk to people (God forbid) a lot of lesson planning goes into those classes; and making sure that you all have everything you need to survive your freshman year is very hard work. So don’t laugh about HDV 101 or ITS 101 -which, by the way, you can fail!

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

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19. Be prepared to be challenged academically.

If you were a straight-A student in high school, you might find yourself struggling a little with a class or two. Yeah, you’re actually going to have to work for your degree, just like at any other institution!

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

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20. Don’t be alarmed if they still haven’t told you what a Seawolf is.

It’s probably the one question you’ll never get answered!

advice for every Stony Brook freshman

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Have any other tips every Stony Brook freshman should know? Comment below!

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