Throughout the next four years at Temple, you’ll often find yourself cursing your lack of street smarts and real world knowledge — things you wish they told you at orientation in place of “don’t look at your watch when a stranger asks for the time” to avoid a mugging – the real deal, a brochure equivalent to a best-selling novel.
Despite all your frustration (and expressed discontent at the Office of Student Financial Services), the truth will remain concealed and wisdom will come with age. But these key pointers should save you a lot of time, money and regret.
Become best friends with your adviser. Tripping up on scheduling classes is easy, and may potentially cost you a few G’s or another semester or two in college. You may think “It won’t happen to me,” but it’s a pretty common sob-story heard throughout the masses moving down Liacouras Walk.
The freshman 15 is not a myth. Binge drinking three nights a week (in three years when you all turn 21, of course) and trying to get your money’s worth at Johnson and Hardwick Cafeteria only lead to one gain, and it’s not financial. Take advantage of the uber-healthy salad bar, read the nutritional information at each station, and become a regular at the IBC located at the corner of 15th Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue.
Avoid haste when declaring your major. Instead of rushing into a concentration you’re unsure of, go undeclared and dabble in many areas of interest by taking introductory courses to those majors. Most introductory courses fulfill the Gen-Ed requirements, which can take upwards of two years to finish, anyway.
Take advantage of your tuition. Each semester’s bill includes fees to a number of facilities on campus. Access to the IBC, discounts to sporting events, trips to Health Services, Computer Services and the TECH Center are not free. Neither is tutoring at the Writing Center or Math Science Resource Center, or getting help with your resume at Career Development Services. Be greedy. You’ll be sorry in a few years when you have to pay health insurance.
Don’t be afraid to go home, even if you’re advised to stay on campus for the weekends. Your RA will probably tell you the best way to become acclimated is to hang around for the downtime, but you won’t make many friends while sitting in your room sulking with a case of homesickness. Do what feels right and makes you happy.
Never buy a book full-price. Try to get a used edition instead of new. The used copies sell out quickly, but can be reserved online before a new semester even starts (temple.bncollege.com). Check first at Zavelle Bookstore, located at 1520 N. Broad Street, for a slightly-less-pricey selection. For online sellers, use half.com, stuzo.com and amazon.com. Though you’ll have to wait about a week, it’s worth it. Most professors understand the financial plight of college students. They were in your shoes once, too. But sometimes you have no choice. Reach in your pocket, hand over the dough and force the memory out of your mind. Talking about it only makes it worse.
Get involved – early. Nothing is worse than being new. Though it’s awkward in so many ways, that sensation fades with adaptation. Put yourself in as many uncomfortable situations as possible. It wasn’t long ago that we upperclassmen sailed on the SS Freshman. We’re not that mean, or cool. The sooner you find your best-suiting niche, the sooner you’ll feel like you belong.
Have fun. As memories of orientation and first meeting your roommate begin to fade, you’ll surely start to stress about loans, graduation, time management, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs and technical difficulties at the TECH Center. It’s not that bad, and it’ll be over before you know it.