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So you’re a freshman, eh? That’s pretty exciting. You’re probably all full of wonder and joy and youth. You’re not crusty or jaded or cynical. You get drunk on two beers. Good for you!

A lot of new things will happen to you this year. Here’s a guide to help you anticipate them with accurate enthusiasm.


Gigantic entry-level lectures: You might have a great professor, but chances are they’ll be some low-level department member. Your TA won’t learn your name. If a student sleeps in a packed lecture hall and nobody sees, do they even make a sound?

Free t-shirts for every event: Sure, it might seem cool right now. But wait until you have enough t-shirts that you don’t have to do laundry for weeks. They don’t fit quite right, they name-check events you don’t even remember attending, and you can’t pawn them off on your friends because they all have the same one.

Buying dorm furniture: They give you the basics, and that’s all you really need! If you purchase extras, you’ll likely leave them behind out of last-minute packing frustration.


Outpouring of familial love: Your mom has never been away from you for this long. She is beside herself with grief. Your absence is a novelty, and she may acknowledge it with extra kindness or possibly monies. This will never happen again.

Trying new things: It sounds pretty Kumbaya, but this is the part of your college career when everyone wants you to join their club/attend their GBM/audition for their all-female South Asian traditional dance team! It’s a little weird to do it later on, as a washed-up sophomore or–god forbid–senior, so embrace your high demand and put yourself out there!

Philadelphia: Don’t let your friends at Columbia give you crap about your new home. It’s awesome, tough, grimy and vibrant. Explore it!

Meal Plans: This is the year you’re forced to have one, so milk it for its impossible glory. Eat twelve of everything, always do Hill brunch, and always get dessert. Even if you’re not hungry, get take-out and eat it later. It’s already paid for, so it’s basically free!

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