Q: How can I make sure I’m fitting in?

I am from New Jersey. Besides the fact that this means I am constantly shooting down New Jersey stereotypes (thanks True Life: I Have A Summer Share), it also means that I was the most lost, confused freshman you have ever seen.

Coming into school, I was completely clueless about the dorms. Since I didn’t know one from the other, when a form asked for a dorm request, I left it blank. I figured, where ever they place me would be fine. I ended up in a triple in FAR. I was the last to move in, so I get the top bunk. The ceiling was so low that I couldn’t even kneel on my bed. Every time I woke up I had to slither to the end of the bed and step on a desk in order to get down. This being said, the dorms are truly one of the best parts of freshman year.

Never again will you live with a hundred of your peers, meet so many new people and have your bathrooms cleaned for you. And yes, you will get use to will even get use to walking down the hall in your towel, carrying a plastic tray full of shampoo, condition and soap every time you want to shower.

FAR is far, which is why most people take full advantage of the buses. In my first couple of weeks the bus schedule was more confusing than some of my text books. I cannot even count the number of times I got on it, going to the wrong way and spent 30 minutes circling around campus before reaching my destination. My advice? Talk to the bus drivers, they are really nice and always helpful. Also, when in doubt, get on the 22 or 21 Quad, you can’t go too wrong on these routes.

On my first day of classes I took the bus to the main library, got off and then wandered up and down Gregory Drive, staring at a huge map of campus, looking for the Quad. If that doesn’t scream freshman, I don’t know what does. Finding classes is pain, but I also wish I still could walk around with that sense of awe, like everything was so big and busy with activity.

As a freshman I fell in love in with the quad. Not only did I grab every pamphlet that was being handed out, I sought them out. On Quad Day, I signed up for almost every club and yes, I still receive emails from some of them. Our school may seem big and intimidating, but it is really just bustling with friendly people and activity. Join every club, go to every event. You will be surprised at what you end up liking and sticking with.

One great part of freshman year is the dining hall. Cherish these days. The food may be mass produced and not quite gourmet, but soon you will be cooking for yourself. Instead of placing your dirty dishes on a conveyor belt, you will be washing them and putting them in the dishwasher. Plus, the dining hall hosts great events like Cracked Egg (who isn’t a sucker for pancakes for dinner?) and Fat Don’s. Whenever you see the dining hall staff light up the grills, get in line right away.

Food aside, I think the best part of freshman year is the dining hall atmosphere. Sure, at first, you will feel like an awkward middle schooler – a tray full of food and nowhere to sit, but soon it will become second nature. My friends and I still miss the people we use to see, the table we use to sit at and the funny stories that we would tell over our grilled rib-eye steak.

Studying, the reason why you are at school, is tough to figure out. Above everything, go to class. If you stayed up until 3:00 a.m., go to class. If you woke up ten minutes late, still go to class. It is the easiest way to keep up with you school work and get good grades.

Cramming is not fun and it rarely works. Freshman year I did my fair share of cramming. Two days before an exam I would wave goodbye to the world and retreat to the second floor cubicles in the Undergrad Library. I would buy endless cups of coffee from the Espresso Royale and hunch over my text book, trying to teach myself a semester’s worth of material. One time, after pulling multiple all-nighters, I attempted to stay up for just one more night and cram. By the time I got to the exam, which was worth 45 percent of my grade, I was thoroughly out of it and ended up falling asleep during the test.

Coming into school knowing no one, I made a million mistakes and was constantly confused, but I figured it out. I think the fact that I discovered every place on my own, makes me love this school even more. Basically, what I am trying to say is… get out there, meet new people, make mistakes, get lost. It will all be more than okay, it will be great.