The Argus Presents: 2010 Freshman Survival Guide
College is a learning experience through and through. Outside of the classroom much of that learning comes in the form of social awkwardness, administrative red tape, and trying to look cool during the delicate dance of group courtship and network- ing known as freshman orientation. University policy, campus secrets, and student norms, as subversive as they are, prove difficult to keep track of, especially on top of the already cha- otic social maelstrom of the first few days of orientation. Ironing out the intricacies of University life will chal- lenge even the most socially capable, and, as a result, a few savvy words- of-advice received in the early weeks of freshman year can go a long way. Whether you end up a WesTechie or WestCovian, The Argus provides you with a handful of universally applicable tools in hopes of easing the pain of running out of meals or a roommate who enjoys Lady Gaga at two in the morning. As for the small talk, well, you’re on your own.
While it’s easy to hate on any- body who threatens to put a damper on your good times on campus, Public Safety (PSafe) is an integral part of university life. However, much of the pain they sometimes cause can be avoided with a little common sense. On weekends, and occasionally other nights, PSafe will often patrol halls, as will RAs, and may investigate sus- picious or noisy rooms. They will al- most always announce their presence before entering. As a private security operation, they can’t and won’t arrest you, but will confiscate or destroy any visible contraband and call the Middletown Police Department when necessary. While actual PSafe protocol is multifaceted and depends heavily on the situation, Director of Public Safety Dave Meyer said, “Whenever you are approached by Public Safety or the Middletown Police, coopera- tion is the best advice. Failure to coop- erate is a violation of the code of non- academic conduct and could increase the level of sanctions by the Student Judicial Board (SJB) or the criminal justice system.” So, the moral of the story? Be courteous and compliant to officers (the SJB will take notice), use common sense, keep your doors closed during parties, and don’t do anything outrageously illegal. Happyraging.
Wesleying vs. ACB
Let’s be blunt. Wesleying is your friend. The Anonymous Confession Board is the kid down the hall who knows all the best Youtube videos of people falling off tables. Wesleying will alert you to fun, exciting, and in- teresting events and activities around campus. The ACB will lead you into the endless hilarity of anonymity on the Internet, distract you from your work, and make you feel like a terrible person. While the two major Wesleyan web hubs are vaguely similar, knowing the differences between the two is essential. Wesleying, a large student-run blog, features nu- merous daily updates on campus happenings and news. Whether it’s a concert at Buddhist House, a Wes-relevant article in a major newspaper, or a meeting about the upcoming Farmers Market, Wesleying is the place to check. Sometimes funny videos are posted. Sometimes controversial opinion pieces strike up debate amongst commentators. Several key Wesleying bloggers just graduated (we’ll miss you Sheek) so it will be interesting to see where the blog goes this year. The ACB, on the other hand, is a campus-specific branch of a national anonymous Internet forum, run by WesCeleb Peter Frank ’12, which means your identity is entirely hidden whenever you post. As a result, it’s a malevo- lent black hole of a website where students tarnish reputations, vent life stories, and occasionally ask when papers are due. However, this is not to say, “stay away”—that’s far too difficult for anyone. Just be sure to “enjoy responsibly.”
Know Frat Row
Fraternities seem a bit out of place in the ultra-liberal, super art- sy public conception of Wesleyan. Truth be told, the five major University frats (and societies) play an integral part in campus social life, a scene far more vanilla than the naked parties the media so loves to talk about. This is not to say that University life is particularly typi- cal or average. The fraternities do a fantastic job of keeping things excit- ing and fresh. Of the five big, Psi U, Beta, and DKE offer the closest thing (although not really all that close) to a classic fraternity experience on campus—beer pong, keggers, dance parties, that sort of thing. However, in recent years, many of their biggest draws come straight out of left field: Psi U possesses a decade-themed party fixation, while DKE’s infamous PNK @ DKE hardcore show will go down in campus history. On the other hand, Eclectic and Alpha Delt aren’t exactly conventional, if only in the fact they’re not actually frats. Both are co-ed, and their unorthodox nature of inclusion is reflected in their events and over- all campus personas. Eclectic—“the hipster frat”— hosts at least one concert a weekend. Alpha Delt’s grotto—a dark and strangely-painted basement—offers a more relaxed, intellectual atmosphere to get drunk in, and occasionally throws larger parties. While each provides for a wealth of options, the fraternities comprise only the tip of Wesleyan’s social iceberg. And the best part? Almost everything is open to any student with a couple of bucks and a WesID.
Meals on Wheels
Regardless of what you ended up choosing, you probably harbor some doubts about your choice of meal plan. A classic lose-lose, you can either load up on points and have your meal swipes dry up by Thanksgiving, or eat at Usdan for every meal of every day and never enjoy the glory of an 11:59 p.m. Weshop run. But with a little cunning and some slight of hand, a crafty student can easily keep their minifridge stocked and stomachs full. While The Argus does not promote theft, we can only help but point out the practicality of concealed Tupperware. When tossed in a backpack, a couple filled containers will aid in avoiding Weshop’s absurd prices and the trek to late night for those pesky munchies. A more legal and equally free option is available at Summerfields, where the last stragglers of the lunch and dinner crowds can often score some spare meals for the fridge. Head over five minutes before closing time, slide in before the doors close, and hopefully snag a couple of leftovers for the road. While far from guaranteed, free meals do happen, but can backfire if milked. First and foremost, show up early for Star & Crescent (located in Alpha Delt) lunch and dinner because the first three freshman eat free (!!!) and the meals, prepared by a paid chef, are better than anything you will ever find in Usdan, Summerfields, or Weswings.
Roommate got you down? While you and your living partner may be hitting it off in the first few weeks, as workloads pile up and schedules diverge, getting out and about will help you avoid throttling each other.
Luckily, if your roommate chooses to indulge in late night dance parties or early evening bed- times, there are plenty of places on campus to hunker down when communal living loses its charm. Olin is the obvious first destination for any solace seeker. Whatever your habits entail, one of Olin’s several floors can probably cater to your needs. Sequester in the stacks for absolute silence and minimal disturbances. The basement couches provide a more relaxed comfortable study location, while the armchairs on the first floor quite literally put up the blinders. Study rooms pepper the upper floors, as do alcoves, nooks, and crannies prime for marathon work sessions, with less and less disturbance the more remote or isolated the spot.
Offering a more communal, less, well, library-ish setting, the University’s smaller libraries are more oriented towards studying with friends and classmates, where discussion and mild ruckus make for a generally more open atmosphere. The Science Library, known as SciLi, in Exley is the prime example, but the art library in the Davison Art Center is an equally dependable, if a more distant, option.