Navigating freshman year: advice from upperclassmen

People put their IDs on the tables in the dining hall to claim their seats. Do not move the IDs. Do not sit at a table with IDs.

“My freshman year, I thought people just kept forgetting their IDs on the table. I’d sit at a table with IDs on it, and when I came back, I’d hand the people their cards and be like ‘Oh I found this!’ They were not happy.” –Andrea Henninger, junior, HDF/Psychology major

If you have the bottom bunk, people will sit on it. Even your roommate who says they won’t sit on it will sit on it. Wash your comforter often.

“I don’t want to say my name cause my freshman year roommate still goes here. But she had the bottom bunk, and we sat on it all the time when she wasn’t there. I even napped on it before. It’s so much more convenient than climbing up to the upper bunks.” – Anonymous, sophomore, Health Studies major

Your RA is not trying to get you in trouble. If you avoid them, they’ll avoid you. Also, the programs that RAs hold in your dorm generally have free food. Go to them.

“I wish I took advantage of the free food in our dorm buildings while it was there. Store as much food in your fridge as you can.” –Garrett Burgon, junior, Political Science major

Whatever you’re thinking, there are probably other people thinking it, too.

“I wish I found freshmen that were willing to do stuff without alcohol earlier in my college career.” – Jon Marton-Rollins, senior, Sociology major

People really don’t care what you wear as long as you’re a good person. Buy snow boots, rain boots, a rain jacket, and a thick winter jacket. It gets wet and cold outside and your Northface will not cut it on the walk from Hillside to Chafee.

“It’s great ‘cause you can wear what you wore on Monday again on Tuesday because no one knows. And no one really cares what you wear anyway.” – Caitlyn Picard, junior, English / Journalism major 

Read your syllabus. And then read it again. Professors are not obligated to remind you when assignments are due or exams are happening. One day you’ll fall asleep passing your chemistry class and the next morning wake up failing it and you won’t even see it coming.

“I can’t tell you how many times I walked into class and there was a ‘surprise’ quiz that wasn’t actually supposed to be a surprise, or homework due that I didn’t know about. I was used to high school, when my teachers would remind us when things were due. I wish I knew about that transition.” –Elena Barrie, sophomore, Sociology major

No one is having as much fun as their Instagram shows that they are.

“I wish I knew it was normal to not have a lot of friends for the first month or so.” –Trent Anderson, junior, Public Relations/Film Major

Almost everyone actually wants to help you. With directions to class, with your writing, with your homework – ask and you shall receive.

“URI 101 mentors probably know more than you think they do, so don’t be afraid to actually go to them for help.” – Angela Surrusco, junior, Communication Studies / Psychology major

Make friends with the people in your major. You’re going to be hanging out with them for the next four years. Make friends with the people outside of your major. You’re gonna need a few groups.

“I wish I knew to branch out and not exclusively talk/interact with people in my major.” –Lance Faria, junior, Health Studies / Public Relations major

“Join clubs because that’s where you meet people with similar interests!” –Rachel Beusee-Kauffman, junior, Film/Public Relations major

Despite some efforts, the sidewalks are constantly icy from the first snow until April. Use stairs instead of hills when you can and put your weight on your toes when you can’t. The hill between the Memorial Union and Hope Dining Hall is the best for sledding. The hill going up to the Union from Weldin is the steepest, but the shortest. Every student at URI has slipped on those hills. Most of us view it as an initiation instead of an embarrassing moment.

“Mid-February freshmen year, I was walking up the hill between Weldin and the Union to get to class and I slipped and fell straight on my butt. I turned around and went back to bed. I wish I had known how many other people I would see fall and that no one actually cared when I did.” –Gabrielle Viens, junior, Political Science Major

Don’t use the cold as an excuse to not work out! The winter season is when most people gain weight. There is a gym in walking distance at all times. Eat healthy and exercise often. The walk to class counts as just that – not as your daily cardio. Unless you sprint. But on that note, don’t sprint to class. It’s better to show up a few minutes late than right on time, sweating and panting.

“Working out is good always. Don’t stop just because it gets cold. Also, yoga. Do yoga.” –Ben Kenney, junior, Kinesiology major