Freshmen year of college is a year like no other. You will have the greatest times of your life so far, but you will no doubt also experience some of the worst. This list of 50 items is to hopefully help you not only survive, but thrive, through this transition into adulthood here at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Keep reading for the best tips for freshmen at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
1. Your U Card is your life.
You will see posts on your class’s FB page saying “Help guys, I lost my U Card. Please contact if you find it,” and you will pity these people. Don’t become those people. Your U Card grants you access to your hall, to your meals, to your Flex Dine, to your Gopher Gold… keep it safe.
2. Buy your own lanyard for your keys.
You will be provided a generic UMN lanyard during Welcome Week. If you don’t want to be a noticeable freshman, don’t use it.
3. Welcome Week is NOT mandatory.
A full week of activities starting at 8am is truly the worst part of the whole year. However, what they are not telling you is that it is not mandatory to go to these events. Pick and choose what will be important to you and sleep in when you want to.
4. Know at least two fun facts about yourself at all times.
Welcome Week might as well be named “Ice-Breaker Torture Week.” By the end of it, you will most likely still get lost on campus, but hey at least you can spew out your name, intended major, hometown and a fun fact about you in 15 seconds!
5. Don’t wear your “Class of ____” shirt around campus.
This shirt is made for two purposes: the picture taken during orientation and sleeping. If it is worn in any other occasion, you’re better off writing “freshmen” on your forehead in sharpie.
6. Hold off on buying t-shirts until after Welcome Week.
You will get at least 5 t-shirts during the first week. The more involved you are= more t-shirts. You will be wearing maroon and gold at least 5 out of the 7 days in a week. Wait until after you fill your drawer to decide if you really want that t-shirt from the bookstore.
7. Never buy anything full price at the bookstore.
Your email will be flooded with sales at the bookstore every other week. Buying something full price at the bookstore is worse than buying something full price at Kohls.
8. Look on Facebook to buy textbooks.
Check the FB page of the class prior to yours for used textbooks being sold. Students will usually sell them at reasonable prices because they want to get rid of them. The bookstore should be your last resort.
9. Actually do the readings for WRIT1301.
No one likes the kid who shows up to class with nothing to add to discussion. Professors don’t care if you did the work or not, but your table mates will despise you. You are not too cool for school, trust me.
10. Take CHEM1061 seriously, or take it at a different school.
Chemistry classes are no joke here. You will go into midterms feeling confident in your knowledge of the chapters and leave in tears feeling like your head just blew up. Don’t worry though, the end of the semester curve will save your life and GPA.
11. Use your textbooks.
It is not sufficient to look over your notes 20 minutes before your exams anymore. If you don’t understand what you learn in lecture, read your books. Before exams, do practice problems out of your textbooks.
12. Don’t wait until the night before to write your lab reports.
Lab reports will most likely be the most difficult things you will do all year. You will put hours of work into them and you will probably still fail the first draft, and possibly the second. You can still pass lab without passing a lab report, don’t worry.
13. Go to office hours.
Contrary to popular belief, professors aren’t scary and do enjoy talking to students. It is likely that if you don’t understand something in lecture, they can explain it better to you during their office hours. Professors like to see that their students are dedicated to their education.
14. Syllabus Week is a myth.
Whoever tells you that your first week of classes is chill and all you do is go over the syllabus was lying to you. You will get assignments and you will be expected to do them.
15. Take time to walk to each class the day before classes begin.
Use one of your Welcome Week days to map out your way to each of your classes. Campus is huge and it takes more time than you think to walk from hall to hall.
16. Check where classes are when scheduling.
When scheduling your classes make sure the halls are not too far from each other. You will not make it from Carlson to Nicholson in fifteen minutes; don’t think you can.
17. Learn the Gopher Tunnels.
Everyone knows that tour guides boast about the Gopher Tunnels during your first tour on campus. Yeah, they’re great but no one shows you how to use them. Spend a day finding your way through them or they’re practically useless to you on that -30° day.
18. What is The Mall?
If you did not pay attention on your campus tour, like me, you most likely don’t know what The Mall is. No, people are not referring to Mall of America, they are referring to the grassy area in between Smith Hall and Vincent Hall.
19. Enjoy The Mall before winter hits.
Keep an eye out for flying footballs and Frisbees when walking through The Mall during the first couple of weeks of the semester. Upperclassmen know that once winter hits you will miss the open green grass and being able to be outside for extended periods of time without the risk of frostbite.
20. Be prepared to fall.
Unless you ice skate to class in the winter, you will fall. Everyone does it, people will laugh. Don’t worry though because you will see ten other people fall after you and be able to laugh your pain off at them.
21. Don’t take steps too quickly.
Steps are a death trap. You’d be better off placing a sled at the top and riding down in comfort and style instead of bruising your tailbone and crying every time you sit down in class.
22. Winter weather is no joke.
You no longer have a short walk from the bus or your car to your high school. You have 15 minute walks to class in the middle of December. You can never wear too many layers. Never.
23. “Liquor jackets” are not a thing.
Wear coats when going out in the winter. Girls, that walk to Frat Row is a lot longer than you think and your outfit won’t be as cute when you’re sniffling and sneezing for the next week.
24. Make the trek to 17th for meals once in awhile.
Unless you’re blessed with living in 17th, you will get sick of your dining hall food fairly quickly… yes, the walk sucks, but the stir-fry and abundance of options is totally worth it.
25. Less swipes, more flex dine is the way to go.
You will not have time to make it to meals between classes, especially if you live in Superblock. Have Flex Dine on hand to grab a quick bite at the food court in Coffman. There are also way more options at Coffman than any dining hall.
26. The line for Einsteins Bagels is worth it.
There are some mornings where you will want a gourmet bagel. Budget 30 minutes to get Einsteins, the line takes that long at almost all times of the day.
27. Tapingo is a life saver.
Starbucks in Coffman almost always has a 20-minute-long line. Order your coffee from your dorm before leaving for class and it will be waiting for you when you get there.
28. Haiku before 5pm is not an option.
If you enjoy sushi, Haiku is a must. However, don’t go before 5pm or you won’t get happy hour pricing.
29. Do not steal the dining hall cups (you’re punishing yourself).
By the middle of second semester, the dining hall will run out of cups due to everyone that took them earlier in the year. They are crappy plastic cups that will do you no good outside of the dining hall so leave them there, you’re helping yourself.
30. Don’t get fries with EVERY meal.
FRESHMEN FIFTEEN IS REAL. I REPEAT, FRESHMEN FIFTEEN IS REAL. You will get sick of the dining hall food very quickly, but do not resort to eating fries and pizza for every meal. Unless you hit the Rec every day, try to substitute fries for a salad once in a while.
31. Pay attention to signs posted in the Rec.
When doors are closed at the Rec it usually means there’s a class going on; unless you want to walk into a Men’s Rowing Club practice like I did, pay attention to the closed doors and fine print on signs. Schedule time for yourself to make it to the Rec a couple times a week.
32. Learn the campus buses.
If you plan when to take them and what stops to take you can save so much time. If you have classes in St. Paul, get used to riding the Campus Connector.
33. Don’t make phone calls on the Campus Connector.
No one wants to hear about your personal life on a 20-minute ride to St. Paul. Don’t make phone calls, just don’t do it. There will be people who do, go ahead and listen to their convos, they’re far more interesting than the bits you’d hear walking in the halls of your high school.
34. Learn to use the Light Rail.
There will be days where all you need is to get off campus and do something non-school related. Utilize the Light Rail and explore everywhere it can take you. So many cool places are within a 20 minute ride from you, including Minnehaha Falls Park.
35. Be more careful crossing bike lanes than actual roads.
It is more likely that a bike will run over you than a car on campus. Sadly, you can’t sue for getting hit by a bike if you’re crossing the bike lane.
36. You’re not too cool for GophChauff and 624-WALK.
There are so many resources for getting back to your dorm late at night. Campus is very safe, but you can never be too safe. Instead of paying for an Uber, use the free services offered from the U.
37. Wear headphones to walk everywhere for the first two weeks.
People on campus the first couple weeks are worse than the people with pop-up stores in the mall trying to sell you things. You will be approached and asked questions, headphones will prevent this most of the time.
38. Take surveys for free things.
The amount of surveys that will be thrown at you during the year is ridiculous. Take them, take every single one of them. You can win things from a free pizza at Blaze to a $25 gift card.
39. Sell your sports tickets if you can’t make it.
There will be someone who wants to buy your ticket to the game you don’t go to. Post on your FB page, it’s a quick way to make an easy $20.
40. Get a job.
Apply through the University for a bookstore, dining hall, or front desk type job. Most jobs are pretty relaxed and understand that being a student comes first for you.
41. Join clubs, or make your own.
Get involved. There are countless clubs for literally E-V-E-R-Y single thing. Yes, there is a club for squirrel watching. If there isn’t a club for something you enjoy, start it on your own.
42. Go to PAWS.
Everyone needs animal time and these therapy animals will make your day, maybe even your week better. PAWS consists of cats, dogs, bunnies, and even a mini horse!
43. Rush Greek life.
From the extremely biased opinion of a sorority girl, joining Greek life can be one of the best decisions you make. It is so much more than wearing letters and taking pictures with your sisters or brothers. You are joining a family that will support and help you through the next four years.
44. “Better Dead than Red.”
No one cares if you were born and raised in the heart of Madison, Wisconsin. You live in Minneapolis now, you do not wear Badger clothing.
45. “T-Hall is The Place to be Hall.”
There will most likely always be something to do on the weekends in T-Hall. But T-Hall is NOT The Place to be Hall when there’s a knock on the door from a CA.
46. Test your shower shoes before you come to college, no one likes squeaky shoes.
Wear your shoes in the shower once at home and walk around after you’re done. If they squeak, get rid of them. Dorm walls are thin and you can hear someone with squeaky shower shoes from a mile away.
47. Get non-slip shower shoes.
You will most likely use the shower after someone else and dorm showers do not drain easily or quickly. Unless you are comfortable with doing the splits while naked, make sure your shower shoes have grips on the bottom.
48. Buy a garment bag for your laundry.
The washers WILL eat your socks and underwear. Either spend $1.99 at Target or be crushed when you lose your favorite pair of underwear and only one of your favorite socks.
49. Do NOT use Tide Pods.
Tide advertises for the convenience of Pods, but they do not advertise the amount of laundry you must rewash when the dorm hall washers don’t burst them. Use them if you enjoy watching your laundry go around in circles while the soap sits in the front of the washer.
50. Don’t leave your laundry in the machines.
It’s extremely difficult to find time to do laundry, so don’t be surprised when you find that someone took yours out of the machine if you weren’t there to do it right away.
Do you have any other tips for freshmen at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities? Comment below!
Featured photo source: instagram.com
Just your average college girl trying to make it in this world.