As a second-semester freshman at Baylor, I’ve experienced all the typical freshman events, worries, and some surprises. There were SO many aspects of my freshman year that nobody had told me, probably because the only Baylor student I had talked to was a tour guide. To help you upcoming bears out, here are 20 things no one tells you about freshman year at Baylor University.
1. Line Camp really is amazing.
You don’t have to go to Line Camp, so why should you? And no phone for three days? That’s insane!!! It is one of the best experiences you will have at Baylor (and you can sneak your phone in if you really want to). I went into Line Camp thinking we would be doing a bunch of physical activities outside in the 100°F weather and singing songs around a campfire. I was completely wrong. The details of Line Camp are a secret, so I can’t reveal much, you’ll just have to trust me. You’ll make friends, explore the campus, and step out of your comfort zone more than you ever thought you would. By the end of the camp, you won’t want to leave.
2. Running the Baylor Line is terrifying.
Running across a football field doesn’t seem so bad. That is, until you’re running across a football field with thousands of other freshmen. If you don’t fall, you’re leaping over the less-fortunate ones that did. Not only is the run scary, but the entire line has to wait packed up together like sardines for several hours before they run, and the majority of the games are hot, so the waiting is miserable, too. So, if you don’t deal well with crowds on a hot day, this might not be for you. Personally, I loved the line! Being on the field is overwhelming & you get to high-five the players as they come out! So I suggest at least trying the line once to see how you like it.
3. Memorial is the best dining hall.
For freshman year at Baylor University, you have to get a meal plan, so most of your meals will be from the dining halls. The tour guides will tell you that the dining halls are all great, but I’ll be honest with you. Most of the time, they all serve the same things every single day, and none of it is very good. But out of the 4 dining halls, Memorial is by far the best. They don’t change up their menu very often, but the food is great. I never get tired of their stir-fry or flying saucer tacos. The best thing about Memorial is Ms. Mei. She’s a super sweet lady that makes the most amazing chocolate chip cookies in the world. Seriously.
4. You’ll get lost on campus the first few days.
Everyone tells you that once you’ve gone to orientation, Line Camp, and a tour, you won’t get lost on campus, but if you’re anything like me, you have your eyes on your phone, not your surroundings. So, during welcome week (days between move-in and classes) is a vital time to walk around campus and figure out where everything is, and don’t be afraid to ask someone for help! I got lost at 10pm my first night and somebody saw my confusion and helped me out. Everyone is super helpful.
5. Riding your bike to class isn’t such a great idea.
You would think that riding your bike to class would be a lifesaver because it saves so much time. Well, if you don’t mind running people over then I guess go ahead, but you’ll get some harsh looks. I literally can’t count how many times I have nearly been hit by somebody on a bicycle. It’s hella hard to ride a bike on the tiny sidewalks between classes when there’s tons of people. It’s really more of a hassle than it’s worth. Walking really isn’t that bad, especially if you schedule your classes close to each other. If you’re dead-set on riding your bike though, then please yield to pedestrians.
6. Not everyone is rich.
Being a private university, of course tuition is outrageous, so everyone assumes that Baylor students are snobby rich kids. This is a completely untrue assumption. A lot of people at Baylor can only afford to attend because of scholarships they were awarded, not because of their wealth. Personally, there’s no way I could afford to go here if it weren’t for FAFSA and the scholarships Baylor gave me. So if you don’t have the fanciest clothes or car, that’s totally okay. You’re definitely not alone.
7. Sitting in Judge Baylor’s lap is a MUST.
If you don’t know who Judge Baylor is, he’s the raddest guy on campus. It’s a tradition to take a picture on the lap of the Judge Baylor statue your freshman year then your senior year. It’s a fun way to show off your transformation through your college years! Judge Baylor is really nice and he doesn’t mind you sitting on him, but in the summer he’s too hot to touch…I wish I would’ve known that.
8. AirBear sucks.
AirBear is the campus’s wifi. And it’s way too slow for the amount of tuition we pay. No tour guide will tell you that, but you’ll figure it out the first day you’re here. So, I suggest not relying on your laptop to work when you submit your assignment at 11:59pm. Give yourself enough time just in case AirBear decides to act up.
9. Not everyone is Christian.
When people think of Baylor, they think two things: 1. Rich people & 2. Christians. This stereotype totally isn’t true. Although Baylor prides itself on being a Christian university, that definitely doesn’t mean everyone is Christian. I have a few friends that aren’t Christian that say the Christian atmosphere is evident, but they aren’t bothered by it. It’s not being shoved down your throat like you would think. Of course Chapel is a little annoying to sit through (mainly because you’re forced to be there), but there is no shame in your religious beliefs here.
10. Being school-spirited is not lame.
“AAAAYYYYEEEE, SIC ‘EM BEARS” is a phrase you will hear every 30 seconds at any Baylor event, because school spirit is really important here. It’s not lame to dress insane for the football games; it’s lame to not dress insane! There are so many people with green & gold paint on their faces, crazy socks, and Baylor flags waving in the air. If that’s not your thing, it’s totally fine. Just going to the events and cheering on the Bears is great, but don’t be the only kid in your dorm while everyone’s at the game. So learn the fight song, school song, and how to “sic em” with pride.
11. The dining hall & maintenance workers are the sweetest.
While you live on campus your freshman year at Baylor University, take advantage of being around the dining hall & maintenance workers. This world is so full of rudeness that it’s refreshing to talk to joyful, kind people. So, start a conversation with the dining hall workers when they give you your taco, and say “good morning” to your dorm’s maintenance worker. They’re seriously so sweet. (Shoutout to Shirley at Penland Crossroads for being my BFF.)
12. Everybody seems the same age.
Being a freshman is nothing to be ashamed about like it was in high school. You’ll constantly be asked what year you are, because everyone looks about the same age. You think that you’ll look younger than everyone else, but really when you’re 18-22 years old, there’s not a noticeable difference. You’re all adults, so you’ll be treated like one by your classmates and by your professors.
13. You won’t be homesick for long.
You can go where you want when you want. You can make new friends. You can start completely over at college. Your independence and new identity is something to celebrate, so don’t be depressed about leaving home. This is the beginning of a whole different life, and you will love it. Join clubs, church, Greek life, whatever your cup of tea is, get out there. Baylor has so many ways for you to meet new people and experience new things, so you’ll make Baylor your new home in no time.
14. Moody Library is not the only place to study.
Moody is the giant library on campus. It has 3 levels that all have a different level of “quietness.” Although many like studying here, it gets really crowded during finals, and I suggest changing up your study environment just to see what you like best. The business building has great study rooms; plus, the building is beautiful! The 2nd floor of the SUB (Student Union Building), Common Grounds coffee shop, and the study rooms in your dorm are great places to study. My advice is to just try out different places to see what you like best.
15. The professors are people.
Shocking, I know!!! But seriously, the professors are so nice and helpful. If you make an effort to get to know them, they’ll make an effort to give you a good grade. They’ll tell you on the first day of class their contact information and when their office hours are, so take advantage of it. One of my professors even told my class that if one of us sets up lunch with him, then he’ll buy it for us. So, I took this opportunity and had lunch with him at McAllister’s deli, and it was so delightful to get to know my professor’s life and background.
16. You can get sleep and still pass.
You come in freshman year believing that you’ll pull all-nighters every night working. That’s completely false. Occasionally there is a need for an all-nighter, but very rarely. The latest I’ve stayed up on a school night was 1am, and I’ve made all A’s. If you schedule your time correctly and don’t slack off, it’s very easy to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night and still make decent grades, even during finals.
17. Keeping track of passwords is vital.
BearWeb, Baylor Email, Bear ID, GoBaylor….so many passwords to keep track of. I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten my password to something. As soon as you set a password, put it in Notes on your phone and clarify what the password is for. It will save you a lot of trouble.
18. You need an ID holder.
Your Baylor ID is basically your heart and soul. You can’t get anywhere or do anything without it. If it’s lost, you have to go somewhere and pay for another one; it’s just a lot of needless trouble to go through. So attempt to do the impossible, and don’t lose your ID. The first purchase I made when I moved into Baylor was an ID holder from the bookstore that stuck to my phone case. It’s been a lifesaver, because I never go anywhere without my phone, so my ID is right there on the back.
19. Chapel is boring.
I knew that Chapel was a requirement, but I didn’t really know what to expect. Well, it’s honestly pretty boring. You can’t have your phone out or you’ll get kicked out, and you won’t get credit for going. You’ll also get in trouble for sleeping or studying. So basically you’re forced to pay attention to someone talking for 45 minutes. Although this sounds like pure torture, you can make it tolerable by sitting next to a friend or by singing along with the songs. You have to go so you might as well make the most of it. But the 2 semesters of chapel is completely worth it when the Korean’s Children Choir comes. They are adorable and everyone gets hugged by a child. Totally worth it.
20. It’s the best year of your life so far.
Freshman year at Baylor University may be awkward and difficult, but it’s definitely been the best year of my life so far. The changes are scary at first, but so great. Freshman year is your year to make new best friends and discover who you really are, away from your hometown and family. Your new self is being formed, and you’re leaving your old self behind. Be excited for freshman year at Baylor, not scared. Baylor University is the perfect place to find yourself; they make it so easy to do. So get ready to learn how to “sic ’em” because you’re going to SIC freshman year!!!