As an incoming student at the University of Minnesota, there are so many things that you have yet to realize about your school. From tips and tricks to unwritten rules, it is important to figure out the ins and outs of such a large campus. I have complied the top 20 things that no one tells you about freshman year at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities to give you a heads up about what to expect here during your first two semesters.
1. Welcome week is NOT mandatory.
Although it is not technically mandatory to attended all of the sessions and group events during this week, it is still highly recommended and will you help become more familiar with the school. Plus, there is always ton of free food available for freshmen.
2. It is extremely important to watch out for bikers, especially in the winter.
You would think that the average person would be smart enough to not bike around campus during a blizzard, but you’re so wrong. Since the U of M campus is so bike friendly, they have cross-walks in the intersections between the walking paths and bike paths, but don’t expect any mercy from the bikes when it comes to stopping or slowing down. Too many crashes happen every day, so always keep a lookout.
3. You’ll spend way too many Friday nights at DP Dough.
Also known as the place with the best calzones ever, DP Dough will become your new go-to for late-night food after a long night out, especially since it’s open until 4am on the weekends. Hint: The Mac & Cheese Calzone is said to be the best (I can contest to this).
4. You won’t utilize all of your season tickets.
Just a warning that you might end up selling most of your hockey and basketball tickets on the Facebook group page each week. Also, don’t be surprised when you might not make it to all of the football games. But hey, the shirts that you get with a purchase of season tickets look pretty cool at least.
5. It’s hard (duh!)
You are probably not as smart as you thought you were in high school, and you will soon realize that. It is obvious that the classes here are not supposed to be easy, but schools such as the Carlson School and of Business, the School of Nursing, and the College of Science and Engineering make it extra difficult. Best of luck to the future business men and women, nurses, doctors, engineers, and scientists!
6. Need quick transportation? Check out the bus system.
The (free) bus system will be hard to figure out at first, but once you do, you will be #blessed. It consists of the Campus Connector and University Avenue Circulator. You will want to take time to try out the bus routes to see which one will best benefit your schedule and make sure to get the app Bus.ly to help find out when the next bus will arrive. Careful, some buses take 10 minute breaks at some stops, especially in West Bank, so plan accordingly.
7. It will take you about one month to navigate where to go.
A large campus leads to a lot of walking which results in having to know where to go. It might take you up to a month to finally figure out which building is which and how to get from one end of campus to the other, but don’t worry, it happens to everyone.
8. Walter will become your new best friend.
It usually takes everyone a while to decide where the best spot on campus is to study and Walter Library typically tops that list for a majority of the students. From quiet study rooms to a coffee shop in the basement, our good friend Walter has plenty to offer.
9. The Facebook group never dies.
You know that Facebook group of 5,000 members that you posted your life story in to try to find a roommate? It will never die. From ticket sales to fishing for people to complete surveys, there will be constant chatter in that group all year long. If you ever lose your phone or keys, it is not a bad idea to post in it to see if anyone found them.
10. You will be walking A LOT.
Get ready for those toned calf muscles because they will be aching by the end of your first week on campus. Don’t be surprised when your Fitbit tells you that you walked ten miles in one day during welcome week.
11. The big lawn in front of Northrop?
It’s called the “Mall” but few people actually know this. It is surrounded by a plentiful amount of academic buildings with Northrop on one side and Coffman Union on the other and it is the best place to take a nap or study under the warm fun in the fall.
12. The Wi-Fi will die on you when you need it most.
During your first few weeks, you will spend a majority of your time on your laptop or phone trying to decipher which Wi-Fi is best: UofM Guest, UofM Secure, or just plain old UofM. Also, if you’re trying to connect to Wi-Fi while walking around campus, you’ll have to resign in too many times to count, so be ready.
13. Don’t rely on your dorm building’s printer to work.
When in doubt, print at a library. You never know when the ink cartage in your dorm’s printer will run out or a paper jam with prevent you from getting to class on time.
14. You will be very sad when game days are over.
Game days are the best days! Be ready for those 11am football game days because you’ll probably be up by 8am and back asleep by 3pm. Also, you will end up taking advantage of the frats on these days because most of the time they have bouncy houses and free food. What could be better? But beware, the football team will definitely disappoint you.
15. You will be chanting “Who hates Iowa? We hate Iowa!” whether you like it or not.
You will be hearing it a lot when the Golden Gophers play the University of Iowa Hawks. Also, you might be rattled the first time you hear “F*ck Wisconsin!” Remember, you can freely swear in college unlike in good ole’ high school.
16. You won’t know about the Moos Tower’s wind tunnel until you’re struggling to walk through it.
It is common for students to try to use the walkway between the Moos Tower and the Mayo Building as a shortcut to get to the Coffman Union, but be aware of severe winds that might knock you over. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, but other times bad hair-days happen to people who use good shortcuts.
17. Not all dining halls were made equal.
One of the only times that it will be worth it to eat at the dining halls is when the Fresh Food Company at 17th Avenue Hall has stir-fry. You will soon be agreeing that 17th Avenue Hall holds the top spot for best dining on East Bank while the dreaded dungeon of the Pioneer Dining Hall ranks the lowest. Tip: Centennial’s dining hall offers late night dining until midnight on weekdays.
18. You will wish you would’ve branch out right away.
I have heard a countless amount of people explain how they wish they would’ve tried to make friends earlier or wish they would’ve join an organization or club. Some of these may include Greek life, a variety of over 100 clubs, student government, or club and intramural sports. There is no shame in branching out! One way to make build relationships is to try a hand at the growing community of Greek like. If you have interest in joining formal recruitment, register here.
19. If you are from another state, most of your friends will probably be from 20 minutes away.
This means that in order to actually understand what it means to be an Eden Prairie Eagle or Minnetonka Skipper, it is probably best to get familiar with the suburbs of (but not limited to) Edina, Minnetonka, Wayzata, and Eden Prairie. By the end of the first semester, you will know way too much about each suburb, their rivalries, and the hype around Lake Minnetonka in the summer.
20. Sally’s is the only bar you will be able to get in to.
Although the campus is big, there are few bars that a student with a 21+ I.D. can get into with the most popular one being Sally’s Saloon on Washington Ave. But careful, if you arrive any later than 10:30pm on a weekend, then you are bound to wait in line for a good thirty minutes to an hour. Tip: $10 through the back door usually works 😉
There are definitely hundreds of other things no one tells you as a freshman at the University of Minnesota, but don’t fret because you will soon learn the rest of the ropes while you are having the time of your life. Although it is a huge campus, you are bound to finally feel at home sooner than later. Here is to freshman year at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities! Live it up because it’s a hella good time.