Emory College Survival Guide

Emory College Survival Guide: Freshman Year

More Than a Free T-Shirt

During your first week of college, you will be bombarded with more than just free apparel. You will also have places, names, and types of people thrown at you that you have likely never encountered before. You face decisions that seem daunting but are retrospectively futile. This is a list of what I wish I had known a year ago.

1. You don’t need to add everyone on Facebook. (But it’s okay if you do.) I was more than ready for my first year of college long before being driven through the Emory gate. Craving to start the next sequence of my life, I wanted a preview. To me and many others in my year, that preview was the Class of 2019 Facebook page. It gave a glimpse at the people I would be spending the next four years with. Not only did it reduce my first-year anxiety because I got to talk to and meet people I would be spending the next four years with but it also presented me with expectations of the student body and enabled me to become friends with people I may have never met otherwise. That being said, adding random upperclassmen is not a great move. It can make them feel confused and uncomfortable.

Pro-Tip: This is also a nice hack to learning names! If you’ve friended someone or if they request you, you can easily look online and see what their name is.

2. Get to know the people in your dorm. There is nothing like bonding over moldy carpets and bad water pressure! As amazing as the students on the other side of campus are, it is important to find a family that is central to you. Whether it is your roommate or a sweet group of girls in the building next to yours, they exist. These are the friends that will notice you aren’t in class, walk all the way to Panera to get you broccoli cheddar soup when you’re sick, and send you pictures of cute animals when they know you are about to take an exam. These are the people you need in your life.

3. Find your study space. Every season brings about different, equally beautiful places to study. Whether you prefer the secluded stacks or the serenity of your twin XL, it is important to find a place where you can pump yourself up with caffeine, look at memes, and eventually take in the material you need for class. 

My messy place of sanction late Fall 2015.

Pro-tip: The smaller libraries at Emory make fantastic study spots. They provide you with the academically focused environment you need to study whilst taking you away from your distracting friends who are also looking for a good place to study.

5. Do something you’ve always wanted to do! (Or just recently wanted to do!) Your freshman year is the perfect time for you to explore new hobbies! Getting involved on campus is not only a great way to gain new experiences but also to gain new friends. Whether you’d like to try an outdoor adventure like horseback riding (Outdoor Emory) or would like to get snaps at a spoken word (Emory Speaks) event, there’s a place for you! OrgSync is a good place to look for organizations, especially after the chaotic “activity fair” leaves you with lots of emails but with no idea on what is going on. Once you discover that the organization you are interested in exists, I would recommend going onto Facebook to look for details about a general body meeting. (Yes, that’s what GBM stands for.) If none of the 581 registered student organizations are of interest to you, creating a new organization is always an option.

I snapped this photo during my SOAR trip through Outdoor Emory my freshman year. (Rainbow Falls, TN, 2015)

6. You’re going to get tired of the DUC. I am not exactly proud of the fact that I ran out of Dooley Dollars by the end of the second week of classes my freshman year… but if you love Kaldi’s (and overpriced coffee in general) as much as I do, you’ll feel the struggle. The silver lining of this situation is that once you get tired of chicken breast, pizza, and vegan pasta, you will become more inventive with food than you ever have been before. An easy dish for a first year is to put chili (they’ll start serving it more often as winter approaches) and cheese (from the salad station) on a hotdog and microwave it! Now you have a chili-cheese dog. You’re welcome. 

7. Break out of the Emory bubble! Although campus life can be pretty great, it’s important to remember that there’s an entire city waiting to be explored. I would recommend getting a group of friends and going out for night out in a part of the Atlanta you’ve never been before. The Fox theater is a great place to go! If none of their upcoming shows are of interest to you, another great (and budget friendly!) option is to take a tour of the historical landmark. 

Picture of the stage from my last trip to The Fox (2016)

This is the first of four great years! It took a year for me to figure out the best places to study, eat, and take a night off. I did all of this so you don’t have to. Follow my tips and go on adventures of your own, and you will find that you won’t just survive, but thrive throughout your freshman year.