Ashley Offenback, our former Editor-in-Chief, shares her experience as she transitions from Berks to University Park this semester in the first of a series of blogs.
For many of you, junior year is soon approaching and with that, the transfer to University Park. I’m sure the idea makes you feel anxious, excited, and nervous all at the same time. That’s how I felt (and admittedly, still feel) before my transition to University Park this spring. I’ve spent one very long week on campus and I hope to impart what wisdom I’ve gathered to help make your transition that much easier.
I’m going to start by introducing the theme park mentality: the idea that in many ways, University Park resembles a theme park and therefore should be prepared for in the same ways.
Theme Park Mentality #1: Be prepared to do a lot of walking. The most significant change I’ve experienced is simply the amount of walking I’ve done in the past week. I think I’ve done more walking in the past week alone than in my entire life. That’s no joke—my brand new boots now have holes in the bottom! I remember complaining about that long walk to Franco, but now I’d be more than happy to walk to Franco twice to get to class. I live in West Halls, albeit much better than the dreaded East Halls, however it still takes me two minutes to walk from my dorm to the street, comparable to the amount of time it takes to walk from
Theme Park Mentality #2: Always bring a map. During your first week of classes, it’s inevitable that you will get lost and it is helpful to have a map with you during these times. Although I did locate my classes on a map the night before, I still got lost on the way. In reality, buildings on a map look much closer than they actually are and don’t include important details like long ramps, staircases, and detours. I recommend actually walking to each building on your schedule before classes begin. This way you’ll know exactly where you are going and can plan enough time to make it to each class on time. Oh, I remember the good ‘ole days when there were three academic buildings and my biggest worry was confusing Franco with Luerssen…
Theme Park Mentality #3: Be prepared for extreme weather. Break out your heavy coats, gloves, scarves, and boots; it is cold here. Even with all the snowstorms we got last winter, I made it through the semester at Berks with only my pea coat and a pair of gloves. This is simply an impossible feat at University Park. During the first day of classes, I noticed girls wearing those long North Face coats that extend almost to their ankles. I’ll admit, I laughed. It had been about 40 degrees that day and I wondered why these were necessary. However, as the temperature dropped significantly in the next few days, believe me, I was no longer laughing. These seemingly extreme coats are completely necessary.
Theme Park Mentality #4: Crowds are unavoidable. There are people EVERYWHERE! Even though I had expected this place to be crowded, I never thought it’d be this crowded. In between classes, people walk nearly shoulder-to-shoulder and there are swarms of them on the street. If I hadn’t known better, I could have mistaken this place for the streets of New York. The biggest dilemma this brings is the overwhelming nature of the crowds. I find myself yearning to be alone, just for a minute, to take a breath and eat my lunch in peace. Around every corner, however, I find more and more crowds.
If this place sounds like more trouble than it's work, don't worry! This was only an introduction to an insanely huge school with a vast amount of topics to cover. Look for more positve aspects of University Park discussed in future posts.
What do you want to know about University Park? Ashley welcomes questions and topics of interest for future discussion in this series of blogs. Send comments and questions to email@example.com or post to our Facebook page at Facebook.com/hcberks.