Congratulations! You’re coming to Bama! UA is an amazing school, and it gets even better when you come prepared. Here are 20 freshman tips every freshman must know at UA.
1. Talk to your roommate(s) before move-in
This point is on every college article, but I still know so many people who had never talked to their roommate(s) before they met them at move-in! At the very least, send an email and introduce yourself. It might also help to figure out who can bring what so you don’t end up with 3 vacuums and no paper towels.
2. Buy a printer
Buy a printer and split the cost with your roommate(s)! It’s a struggle to have to find someone who does or run to Gorgas Library to print something when you’re behind or just want to get it done before you go to sleep. Side note: unless you need something professionally printed, don’t use Crimson Copies because it’s more expensive and they do charge sales tax on anything you print.
3. Bring layers
The weather in Tuscaloosa can change in a matter of hours, so bring clothes for all types of weather. It could be 70 one day and 40 the next. Even when getting ready in the morning, consider throwing a jacket in your backpack just in case the wind picks up. Speaking of weather…
4. It rains. A lot.
Invest in a good pair of rain boots. They can be expensive, but stores like DSW carry them for a more reasonable price. Also buy an umbrella or rain jacket that can fit in your backpack just in case the sky opens up unexpectedly while you’re in class.
5. Greek Life
Want to join Greek life? Great! You don’t? That’s cool too! There are a ton of social organizations of every row you can think of (Old, New, Sorority), professional organizations that focus on a specific major or area of interest, and honor fraternities. If none of those appeal to you, literally no one will judge you. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for choosing to rush or not.
6. Walking is probably faster than taking the buses
Hear me out. Although Bama seems really big, sometime it’s faster to walk from Ridgecrest to Tutwiler than it is walking to Gorgas and waiting for the right bus. It’s also a great way to get some cardio in when it’s nice outside. Once you become more familiar with where buildings are on campus, it’ll be easier to get from place to place on foot. Speaking of transportation…
7. Park in your proper parking zone…
Or you WILL get a ticket! Campus police enforce zones Monday-Friday from 7am-6pm and they are very strict. Park your car in your proper zone and make sure your hangtag is up on your rearview mirror to avoid getting a ticket or citation. This is a crucial one of those freshman tips.
8. Reese Phifer is confusing
Reese Phifer is a building for the College of Communications and Information Sciences, but most students have at least one class in the building at some point. Since the building was constructed at different times, not everything connects clearly (you have to see it for yourself). If you have a class in there, scope it out beforehand and make sure you know the best path to get to your classroom.
9. The professors want you to succeed
If you’re registered with ODS, give them the paperwork! If you don’t understand something and can’t make it to office hours, email them! If they gave you the wrong assignment, tell them! The TAs and professors are very passionate about what they teach and they want you to feel the same way they do. Of course you’re going to find this on my freshman tips list contrary to what you believe.
10. Witt Student Activity Center opens at 7am on weekdays
The Rec Center is pretty far away from the dorms, so most freshmen go to Witt, which is the gym in Presidential Village. The best time of day to work out is before you go to class (trust me), so take advantage of those early hours to get fit before you go to class.
11. Stewart’s Corner exists
Stewart’s Corner is a hidden gem of on-campus dining. If you go into Lloyd Hall and take a left, you’ll find a mini Chick-fil-a, Fuel, Boar’s Head, and Pizza Hut. AND they take dining dollars! It does get busy around lunchtime and closes relatively early, but it’s a great place to eat when you just can’t take dining hall food again.
12. Bryant Dining is open for brunch
While Bryant Dining is usually only open to student athletes, they do offer brunch Monday-Friday from 8am-1pm. This is the BEST dining hall food on campus, so make a point to go!
13. There are some great places to study outdoors
The Quad, the Gorgas steps, the Ferg, Reese Phifer… the list goes on. Studying outside is a great way to get some work done and breathe some fresh air.
14. Join at least 2 organizations
Not all organizations are created equal in terms of time commitment, but I recommend joining at least 2; one that applies to your major/interests, and one that is a service organization. This gives you some places to develop your skills and give back to the community.
15. Avoid the library during Finals Week
Unless you absolutely have to check out a book or print a paper, avoid the libraries once they’re open for 24 hours. You won’t be able to find a quiet place (or any place really) to study, and that’ll stress you out more.
16. Be cautious when doing laundry on the weekends
Start your laundry before 10am if you don’t want to wait in line. Make sure you set a timer and get your clothes/sheets/towels/whatever out right when it goes off to avoid angry stares from the people who are waiting for an open washer. Long story short: really try to get at least some laundry done during the week to make life easier.
17. Learn the lyrics to the most important songs on campus
Learn the lyrics to Yea Alabama, Sweet Home Alabama, and Dixieland Delight. You’ll sing them at every football game and it’s a lot more fun when you know the words.
18. Game days will be PACKED
Bryant-Denny Stadium has 101,821 seats, and it’ll feel like that many people are on campus. Do NOT drive on game day, it’s too hard. Go tailgate on the Quad, and get to the stadium at least an hour before kickoff to get a prime seat.
19. Upper Bowl is a way of life
All freshman student ticket packages are in upper bowl. Even though it may not be as “fun” as Lower Bowl, you get an AMAZING view of the field and can usually sit far enough down you can still tell exactly what’s going on. And with a shaker and some crimson, how bad can game day really be?
20. Always say “Roll Tide”
Something good happen? Roll Tide. You pass a stranger on the way to class? Roll Tide. Just found a new friend? Roll Tide. Glad you decided to go to Bama? Roll Tide. I mean c’mon, this is obvious one of those freshman tips that’s a given.
Let us know what you think about these freshman tips in the comments below!
Featured Image Source: weheartit.com
Allison is a current freshman at the University of Alabama. She is a Theatre major with a double minor in Educational Studies and English.