Dear prospective freshmen, a.k.a. prefroshes,
It is an exciting time of year on campus. The crazy St. Louis weather that Katy Perry might be singing about in “Hot N Cold” has blossomed into moderate shorts-and-t-shirt temperatures as the trees and flowers don their pastel spring attire. Finals and light pollen are in the air, making many a student lock nu-self (our poor attempt at being gender neutral—because we care!) indoors, entombed in a grave of General Chemistry II texts, bio slides and tissues—for wayward sneezes and errant tears. On top of all that, though, hundreds of you have flown into St. Louis to experience the Wash. U. (which stands for Washington University, as you perhaps have picked up on) culture before sending in May 1 deposit slips to the school of your choice. We would love for Wash. U. to be that lucky school, so we have prepared some helpful tips to help you integrate into the college community this weekend and have the best visit possible.
Food is one of the most vital aspects of the college experience. Whether it is scouting out the most free food possible from club meetings and banquets or picking out the best dessert from the Cherry Tree Café case (hint: Try the carrot cake. Or the turtle brownie bar. Or the cheesecake. Or the lemon bars. Or the gooey butter cake. Or the strawberry Jell-O. Another hint: Wipe the drool off your face before you order), college students obsess about food, and when eating at Wash. U., you really cannot go wrong—unless they drown your stir-fry in cups of teriyaki. And in case your host takes you partying and you sleep through the next day of programming and your Overnight Welcome Leader ditches to the library to study, here is our advice for maneuvering campus:
Your stomach may be rumbling and you may want to load up on every bit of food you can get your hands on, but do not take the tray. Seriously. Step away from that salver, at least if you wish to avoid the tres gauche moment when you find you are the only one in line carrying one in the DUC (that stands for the Danforth University Center, as it may be listed on your ever-so-handy map) or Bear’s Den (do not worry, the grizzlies have been evicted). The benevolent Bon Appétit workers will serve up your stir-fry, burger or other meal on a plate or in a to-go box. There’s no reason to lug around the plastic pentagon during lunch. Trays are meant for one thing at Wash. U.—sledding down a snowy hill, preferably Forest Park’s Art Hill—and should be avoided during the warmer months.
Now that you’ve narrowly escaped bitter humiliation and your appetite is satiated, it is time to explore campus—that is the objective of this jaunt, is it not? If you do nothing else but follow these tips, you will successfully acclimate yourself to Wash. U.’s topography.
First, lose the map. This is hardly an exercise in Boy-Scout orienteering—especially when WUSTL Map, an iPhone app capable of directing you anywhere on the Danforth Campus, is just a download away—and a fast one at that, considering Wash. U.’s near-omnipresent WUFI Wi-Fi system. And by omnipresent, we mean not at all present. Anywhere.
Lose the folder. Nothing screams “visiting student” like a Wash. U. admissions folder tucked beneath your arm—or above your head. Do not wave it as a flag. In order to gain an authentic student experience, we recommend zipping your folder snuggly into your backpack when navigating campus. And if you happen to get lost, you are better off folding it into a paper airplane inscribed with an S.O.S. or pulling out a lighter and lighting it on fire to signal for help—Washington University’s Police Department (WUPD) will quickly arrive to fine you for violating the campus smoking ban. Nothing spells acclimation like getting “arrested” by WUPD. Short of that, someone will help you shortly—or at least stop and laugh at you.
And now the fun part—the StudLife Celebration Weekend checklist! For each item completed, treat yourself to one Subway cookie—and you’ll leave with a head start on your Freshman 15! Using your handy dandy, pre-paid meal card, it doesn’t even have to make a dent in your wallet. If you complete all 10, go buy yourself a Wash. U. bear for the flight home; the bookstore will be delighted to overcharge you for one. That may make a dent.
1. Pick three classes to attend and sleep in through all of them. Grab another cookie if you don’t wake up before dinner.
2. Visit three different dorms besides the one you’re staying in. Grab another cookie if you fall asleep in one of them.
3. Visit the South 40 Fitness Center. Grab another cookie if you call it the estrogym.
4. Visit the Athletic Complex. Grab another cookie if you learn about why they can’t tear down the bleachers at Francis Field. Grab a chocolate chip cookie if you rub the bear statue’s belly (the one that is standing up).
5. Pick up a copy of Student Life. Oh wait—you already did that! Cookie time. Grab another cookie if you like us on Facebook. Grab another if you follow us on Twitter (@studlife) like every other student here.
6. Download the WUSTL Dining app on your smart phone. Grab another cookie if you actively use it when making a meal decision. Hint: It’s especially helpful when it comes to the soups of the day.
7. Ask three students what they like about Wash. U. Grab another cookie if you didn’t meet them through your host.
8. Ask three students what they don’t like about Wash. U. We’re not perfect, and you should make the most informed decision possible. Sorry, no bonus cookie for this one.
9. Ask two professors what they like about Wash. U. Grab another cookie if you also ask them what they don’t like.
10. Have a good time this weekend. And if you do choose Wash. U., have another cookie in the fall!
Well, that’s all from us at StudLife. Of course, we didn’t have room to publish every helpful tip for this weekend, but we hope this brief travel guide will prove useful. When in doubt, remember this: Just ask. Ask your host, ask the guy headed into the library with a Santa Claus bag of a backpack slung over his shoulder, or ask the friendly secretary in the academic office you’ve passed by three times in an attempt to find your way out of McMillan Hall. We at Wash. U. promise you one thing—we may be the Bears, but we don’t bite. At least not during Celebration Weekend.
We hope to see you in the fall!
The Student Life Editorial Board