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Manda’s Declassified College Freshman Survival Guide: Babson Edition

Hello newly admitted Babson freshman! In all forms except physical, I am now Ned Bigby from the Nickelodeon classic, “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide,” here to guide you on your transition from high school to Babson! I am so excited for you to start your collegiate journey, but before you do there are a few things you should know. So sit down, get comfy, and grab your mug, because the tea is piping and ready to be spilled, sis!


Take Advantage of Orientation

For me, orientation was three days of disorientation (I know, I’m funny). These three days will be jam-packed with icebreakers, bonding activities, campus tours, and scheduled meals. While you may find all of these things slightly annoying, power through, because this is a prime time to meet the people in your class, baby. After orientation is over, there won’t really be any more super structured time to get yourself out there. Take the time to really meet your peer mentor too, because they’re good people. They wouldn’t have signed up for this job if they didn’t genuinely care about you. Also, come prepared with multiple fun facts about yourself because someone will definitely have the same one as you. I hate to break it to you, but you’re not as unique as you think you are (it’s called tough love, honey).


Explore Extracurriculars that Speak to You

There are a ton of amazing extracurriculars at Babson. Clearly, I highly recommend Her Campus! Signing up for clubs and organizations you find interesting is the easiest way to find like-minded people and make friends. Also, it is more than okay to quit if a club isn’t for you, but you should at least try them out! Make sure to go to the Fall Org Fair in the quad to learn more about each club. Click here for a list of active clubs and organizations on campus!


Go Greek! (Shameless Plug for Sigma Kappa)



Photos: Sigma Kappa Zeta Zeta

If you’re anything like me, joining a sorority was never a part of the game plan, but hear me out. Sororities are a different breed at Babson: none of the hazing, all of the fun! They are diverse, welcoming, and full of genuine, caring people. While there is a pretty substantial time commitment, joining Sigma Kappa was one of the best decisions I have ever made and I highly recommend rushing, even if you’re not totally sure you want to join yet. Honestly, sometimes it doesn’t even feel like a sorority, but rather just an amazing group of women I have the privilege of spending time with.

While I am clearly biased towards ΣΚ, there are also two other fantastic sororities on campus: Chi Omega and Kappa Kappa Gamma. If you do decide to rush, choose the sorority YOU vibe with most and don’t follow your friends because, at the end of the day, it’s your home for the next four years (ngl just did a little, baby cringe after typing that).

You won’t be able to rush until your spring semester of Freshman year, but keep an eye out for things like information sessions and tower tours in the fall. I also highly recommend running for a leadership position because, in the words of my wise and beautiful Big, you get what you put into your sorority. Also, I will be Assistant New Member Mom of Sigma Kappa next semester, so there’s that too. :)

Follow @babsonpanhel on Instagram to stay up to date on all things greek.  


The TEA about Dorms

I was going back and forth with myself about whether or not to include this as part of the article, but you know what, y’all came for the tea, so I’m not going to deny it from you. I’m simply stating neutral, unbiased facts and I’ll just plead the first amendment, so fight me Babo (Not really. I love you.).

The Freshman dorm buildings include: Park Manor North, Park Manor South (this is where I live!), Park Manor West, Park Manor Central, Forest Hall, Forest Annex, and Mattos Hall.

Here is a labeled map for reference:

Some FACTS about dorms:

  • As of Spring 2019, every Freshman building has air-conditioning, except for North and Mattos. I can’t speak for every building, but South has climate control in each dorm.

  • All Freshman buildings have an elevator, except for North and Mattos.

  • South was renovated in 2015 and Central in 2016. West opened in 2015.

  • Most Freshman dorms will have a kitchen with all of the main appliances: Fridge, Stove/Oven, and Microwave.

  • South does not have a water fountain (or a “Hydration Station” as Babson likes to call it), but has a filtered water dispenser on the fridge in the kitchen.

  • There is a laundry room in every building and they vary in size.

  • Forest Hall was a Convalescent Home for sick children before it was a part of Babson’s campus and the Forest Annex was a morgue. (THIS IS COMMON KNOWLEDGE AND ON THE INTERNET.)

If you’ve been on a campus tour, you’ve probably been to Park Manor West. If you came to Launch Babson 2019, you’ve probably been to Park Manor South for drop-in tours (I was surprised to see you all nicely dressed in the South Lounge, as I was on my way to get a snack in the Kitchen in my pajamas).  


Some Things You Actually Need for your Dorm

  • Posters & a Few Knick-Knacks: After all, your dorm will be your primary living space for the school year, so make it feel like home! Just don’t go overboard (like I did) to the point where you have no space on your desk.

  • Command Fucking Strips: You need something to hang these posters up with and you need more of them than you’d expect. Also, if you’re bringing a mirror, you’ll need even more.

  • Themed Clothing for Themed Parties: In the spring, Seniors will begin having send-off parties, called SODAs, and each one has a different theme. Many of them are beach themed.

  • Meds, Meds, and More Meds: As I write this, I am popping a Claritin because I have terrible allergies and with all of the blossoming trees on campus in the spring semester, you probably will too. Also, there will be days in the winter where you will need to take a shot of Dayquil and keep pushing, so be sure to have a small pharmacy on hand.

  • A Lint Roller: For black jeans and fancy dress pants.

  • A Mattress Pad: I feel like this is self-explanatory, but some people still didn’t bring one. Do yourself a favor and get one because the mattresses by themselves are trash.

  • Extension Cords: For all of your tangled chargers.

  • A Fridge: While this isn’t entirely necessary, I cannot begin to tell you how much of my food was stolen from the common room fridge. Either get your own, or find a friend with a fridge to help you out.


Some Things You Don’t Actually Need for Your Dorm

  • A Garbage Bin: Babson provides you with a trash bin and a recycling bin (because we stan sustainability here).

  • A Vacuum: There is a vacuum (or what I refer to as “The Industrial Beast”) in the RA’s office that you can sign out when you need to do a lil cleaning up.

  • An Iron/Steamer: While I had good intentions of ironing my professional clothes before a presentation or fancy event, I honestly never did.

  • A Bike: Babson’s campus just isn’t set up in a way that’s good for biking and everything is pretty much close enough together that walking will suffice.

  • A Keurig: I am an avid coffee (or as I often refer to it as “dumb bitch juice”) drinker, so I, of course, brought my Keurig to school. I used it once.

  • Fancy Kitchen Equipment: Unless you intend on cooking for yourself (which honestly you may feel the need to sometimes… just a lil bit of shade to Trim), leave the blender, the toaster, and the pots and pans at home. However, you might want to bring a plate and some utensils.


If You Go in Random, Be Prepared for Anything

Photo: Amanda Baldner

A lot of freshman in my class chose roommates by reaching out to each other on our class Facebook page (if you haven’t joined your class page, definitely do that soon). This isn’t necessary, but be prepared for a forced triple or if you’re as lucky as me, a mf quad. While my roommates and I got along most of the time, there were definitely some occasional difficulties that wouldn’t necessarily exist if I were in a double. The upside to a quad is that you have way more space than you would in a double. It is more than okay to go in random and honestly, you’re just as likely to end up with a crazy roommate either way. But at least if you go in random, you can blame the system instead of yourself.  


Some FACTS About Food

Again, I’m not trying to get sued by Babson, so these are strictly FACTS about the food on campus. There are two main places to get food on campus: Trim Dining Hall and Reynold’s Student Campus Center (or Rey’s). Trim is buffet-style with a salad bar, a sandwich station, a breakfast station, a fried food station and more. They make chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks very well. Rey’s is quick food, like rice bowls, sandwiches, and salads. Of all the people I have encountered at Babson this year, people tend to prefer Rey’s to Trim… figure the rest out for yourself. Also, if you don’t know already, Olin College is a very small engineering college just on the edge of Babson’s campus that my friend Hannah describes as “even more niche than Babson.” They have a small, but nice dining hall where you can use your bonus meals. FYI Fridays are usually fish, just in case you’re more of a land food kind of gal, like me.  


How to Get to Boston from Babson

Photo: MBTA

Babson is in a suburb called Wellesley, which isn’t too far from Boston. Boston is such a stunning city with so much to do, so I highly recommend exploring! You can take an uber, but that gets expensive. The train is a cheaper and faster way to get into Boston. I am from Boston, so I am very familiar with the MBTA system, but it took me a minute to realize that not everyone is.

Personally, I prefer to take a short $10 Uber to the Woodland T Stop and take the Green Line to Government Center. To get back to Babson from Boston, you would take the Riverside Line (or the D Line) on the Green Line to the Woodland Stop. If you are trying to get to Downtown Crossing, the closest stop on the Green Line is Park Street.

You can also take the Commuter Rail at the Wellesley Hills stop, but there are fewer trains, so if you miss your train, you’d have to wait longer for the next one. Also, the commuter rail tends to be more expensive than the subway.


It’s Fashion Week Every Week at Babson

From Canada Goose jackets, to Yeezys, to neon yellow Porsches, people really like to stunt at Babson. So if you’re anything like me and stan sweatpants and messy buns, you might feel a little out of place at times. It’s not normal for college, but it’s just the culture at Babson.  


Pay Attention to the Flyers on the Wall

There are flyers EVERYWHERE, in Rey’s, Horn, and Trim especially. While they can be overwhelming and redundant at times, learn to weed out the good ones. There will be babysitting, tutoring, and internship opportunities galore, so keep an eye out.



GO TO (and I cannot stress this enough) FUCKING OFFICE HOURS. I’ll admit that some professors can be useless during office hours (#tea), but they want to help you succeed. It’s literally their job. So if you are stuck or confused on a certain topic, head on over. Also professors are people too and have so much life experience to share and guidance to give. Susan Nagelsen (highly recommend for Rhetoric) literally changed my life and career path during her office hours and if that isn’t enough to get you to go, nothing is.



If you aren’t already familiar with this amazing website, it is a place to rate and comment on other professors to help future students. For the most part, the ratings are pretty accurate and definitely helpful! Look up your professors here to be prepared for your fall classes.


KGB (not the Russian one)

Many of your classes will be held in the three buildings surrounding Horn Library: Kriebel Hall, Gerber Hall, and Babson Hall. A very kind (and witty) professor taught me on my first day of classes to remember the layout of these three buildings “with the help of the Russian KGB.” With your back to Park Manor South, Kriebel is on the left, Gerber is in the middle, and Babson is to the far right. So you’re welcome, because now you’ll never forget! Also, you may have classes in Tomasso Hall (the building that’s pretty in the front and plain in the back), Malloy Hall (the one attached to Knight Hall), or Luksic Hall (the mad old one).


The Magic that is the Weissman Foundry

3-D Printing and Photography and Sewing, oh my! This is the freshly-built building between Trim and Olin College. It’s an amazing place to be yo’ creative self with all of the cool equipment they have there. The best part is that they have F-R-E-E free color printing and large-format printing, for banners and such, which will come in handy for FME.


For My Work-Study Peeps

If you don’t have to work for your spending money, you can just skip this part. For those of you who need a job, be sure to apply often and early. Work study jobs can be hard to come by, due to high demand. To find a list of open jobs, go to the Babson Hub, click on “Services,” then “Student Employment,” then “Current Job Opportunities for Students.”


Call Your Freakin’ Mom

Photo: Amanda Baldner

Or your dad. Or your sibling. Or your grandparents. Consistently reach out to whoever helped you get to where you are right now and thank them because they love you and they miss you and they want to be a part of your success. I know I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it weren’t for my mom. Thanks, Connie.


Remember What You’re Here For, But Let Loose Once in a While

As I always say, life is a balance. If all you do is party, don’t be surprised if you receive poor grades in return. Similarly, you can study ‘til the cows come home, but you shouldn’t be surprised when you don’t have many close friends. Find the right balance for you and stick with it.


You Will Meet Some of the Best People, But Also Some of the Worst People

Again, it’s a balance. Be conscious of who you choose to spend time with and remember that you don’t have to stay friends with people you don’t like, just for the sake of having friends. Even though Babson is relatively small, there will always be more people! And honestly some of the best people won’t even be in your class (looking at you Priya and Anna), so make sure to venture out.


Don’t Compare Your Best to Other People’s Best

Babson is a very competitive environment. You will encounter people who are so competitive that they will ask you about a test or your GPA, hoping that you did poorly to make themselves feel better. First of all, avoid these people like the plague because they aren’t good for mental health. But also, know what your best is and celebrate when you reach it!


Your Mental Health Should ALWAYS Come First

Take a day for yourself when you need to. You know yourself better than anyone else, so if you’re anything less than chipper, do what you have to do get avoid getting into a funk. College is hard and it’s better to catch yourself early and take a day than to suppress your stress and have it affect your emotional health and studies later in the semester. Also, most professors are extremely understanding and empathetic because they were you once too.


Don’t Be Afraid to Fuck Up, Because You Will and That’s OK

Whether it’s academically, socially, or personally, shit is bound to go down. You are human and mistakes are an important part of life because it’s how we learn after all. The most important thing is that you always have a plan on how to bounce back. One thing I’ve learned is that everything always works out for the best in the end, as long as you stay proactive. It is very easy to come to a school like Babson with a set plan, but things change, babe. Stay flexible, stay open-minded, and know yourself and want you want.

Honestly, I wish I had an article like this last year because I came into orientation completely blind. So if my wisdom helps you in any way, I feel like I’ve done my part. If you have any questions/concerns/fears/excitement you would like to share, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m always happy to help a sis out. I’m not going to share my contact info here because that’s a little sus, but once you’ve committed to Babson, look me up in the email directory and reach out!

Have an amazing summer and welcome to Babson!


P.S. Be sure to have a high school graduation party. Even if it’s just a couple of pizzas and some balloons, it’s a good way to rake in a couple of fat checks before heading off to college because believe me, you will need it.

P.P.S To my scholarship peeps, and I cannot stress this enough, YOU BELONG HERE. I am a Div. Lead. and at some point you will feel out of place or even like you don’t belong, but please please please know that you do (sometimes a little bit more than the full ticket price folks and that’s the #tea). Don’t be intimidated by the money and the hype beasts because at the end of the day, you made it here and you can make it through. Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.


Creative writing is such a big part of my life, so when I discovered Her Campus, I jumped at the opportunity contribute! I am a Sophomore at Babson College and a proud member of Sigma Kappa. I make mean playlist and I have a meme/vine reference on hand for any occasion.
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