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Penn Fling Credit: Patrick Hulce , Patrick Hulce

Welcome to campus, freshman. Unlike in high school, college is a time where many are eagerly counting down the days until they return. If you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing, roll with it — no one does. Take off the lanyard they gave you to hold your PennCard. Better to lose it than be identified as a freshman. Just Bursar (charge your Penn account) the new one to your parents.

The first couple of days of NSO (New Student Orientation) will be filled with required programing; attend or not, the choice is yours. During the day, flyers advertising numerous frat parties will be slid under your door. These are invites by different groups such as “Brickhouse” and “Lions” — names frats give themselves when they host parties. The invites may state a dress code, but as you will learn in college, everything is optional and you can basically do whatever you want.

You will pregame (start drinking before the event of the night begins) in the coolest person’s room on your floor and then roll out of the Quad (or Hill) in a huge squad that will certainly identify you as a freshman. Embrace it — the upperclassmen have all walked to a party with a group of 20-something people in tow.

Elbow your path to the nearest source of alcohol, grab a cup full of Bankers (cheap frat vodka) and enjoy. You might even end up in a DFMO (dance floor make-out). 

Worst case scenario, you could get MERTed if you don't pace yourself. The Medical Emergency Response Team is made up of students who are EMTs. They'll get you to the hospital (for any sort of injury, not just blackouts) and make sure you're stable, though the trip could leave you a bill of $1,000 or more. Attempt to avoid this during NSO. You don’t want to be dubbed “MERT kid” your first night of college.

For all ambitious freshmen going to bars: here’s the deal. Smokey Joe’s (Smokes) is good for Tuesdays, when Kweder plays. Smokes is also good for sink-or-swim on Wednesdays. Pay a cover, and drinks are $0.50 before midnight. 

Blarney Stone is its own unique niche — think athletes mixed with some Drexel kids. Hide your jacket in the little cupboard under the stairs, and avoid the bathrooms at all costs.

Harvest is our new gem at Penn. It's extremely crowded, but their cheap Long Islands on Thursdays can’t be beat. If you’re looking for something different on a Thursday, catch an Uber to a downtown (where frats and sororities rent out clubs to throw parties). The club charges a cover to get in, as well as for drinks. Toss on a bandage skirt and some heels, and you should be ordering gin and tonics in no time.

If you want a break from the frat scene, stop by one of Penn's performing arts shows. Dance, a capella, theater, you name it — there are dozens of performances by student groups throughout the semester. Mask and Wig and Bloomers — all-male and all-female student groups, respectively — perform completely original comedy shows, and during NSO, they’re free.

Upperclassmen — you already know what you’re doing. You’ve seen the Facebook invites, you’ve already planned what darties (day parties) and Downtowns you’re going to and are already looking forward to singing along with Kweder. 

As for the freshmen, good luck.

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