Dear Incoming Freshmen,
If you came here for something sappy, leave. I am here to give you some straight up facts that have been bothering me for the past four years. Takes these tips and run with them.
1) Take the pictures: The amount of tour groups I have seen go through this campus is insane. And for each tour group there are about three potential students that just won’t take pictures. Whether that is by the panther or awkwardly at a table in Cathedral, the response is always the same “No, not now.” To be truthful, the time is then. I regret trying to “be cool” on a campus. Literally no one cares if you take an awkward family picture while you are exploring your future home. So take the pictures, make your loved ones happy. No one is judging you, in fact, we are jealous of you.
2) Grab a map: No one knows how to navigate campus. Don’t let the students trick you. There have been a number of times that I have seen students “causally” switch directions. If having a piece of paper in your hand while you walk to class will bring down your cool-o-meter (hint, it won’t, everyone is just as confused) then screenshot it onto your phone and set it as your wallpaper, or at least keep it in your gallery.
3) Check your class schedule: Okay, so maybe you do know the campus but aren’t completely sure if class is in 201A or 201B. Don’t fret. It is better to save your schedule on your phone. Also, before you head off to class the first week, recheck your schedule on Student Center. Classrooms often change the first week without notification. Coming from a person who didn’t and missed the entire first day of classes (AS A JUNIOR) I can safely safe this is the best bet to know where you are meant to be.
4) Get lost: This may not be one you want to tell your family you are doing but seriously, get lost. Get on a bus, or the T, or a bike, and explore. It upsets me the amount of seniors I talk to who have never been outside of Oakland. That is unacceptable, especially since TRANSPORTATION IS FREE WITH A STUDENT ID! Reread that and then come back to me. You read it? Okay. Also, those amazingly cool boxes that go up and down Mount Washington (aka the incline) are also free for students. I have so many memories of just getting on a bus freshmen year, hopping off, exploring and finding a way back home. Also, I do suggest downloading the “Transit” app because for some reason Google maps do not do buses.
5) Talk to your family/loved ones: My freshmen year fall semester, I didn’t talk to my parents once. I wish I was kidding but I never called them or texted them. I was busy exploring, getting lost, and having the time of my life. I didn’t think that back home, everything was the same just without one person. Selfishly, I didn’t realize how much not calling or texting my family was. I still hear about it to this day and I graduate in two weeks, so just save yourself the lecture and call them. That being said, don’t call them every second of the day. They sent you here for a reason; they knew you could handle being on your own and Pitt was the perfect place to become the adult you are destined to be. Once a week or even once every two weeks is acceptable. So while you are having the time of your life (and they know you are, hence why you haven’t called) they are dealing with losing a person that has always been there. Call your family but don’t go overboard. You are here to become your own person, make sure that happens.
6) Not to sound cliché, but time really does fly: Every person from home that I talk to still can’t believe I am gradating (and neither can I). In fact, they all collectively think I am a sophomore. This college experience is what you make it. If you want to stay in and binge on Netflix, do it. If you want to party every night (I don’t recommend this, but) do it. Join that club, talk to that person in class, dye your hair that color, go to office hours. Hold up, can we just talk about office hours? GO. TO. THEM. As a freshman, I didn’t. “LOL, I know what I am doing.” No, you really don’t. If a professor can put a face to a name, that can only help you. Just go, even to say hi. They are lonely and want some company. End rant. But in all seriousness, don’t not do something; Nike had the right idea when they said “Just Do It,” because really, why not?
Take these tips and go forth. And please, just love the University of Pittsburgh as much as I do. I mean, it is your home for the next four years.
A Graduating Senior
P.S. Follow @hercampuspitt, we are always there to lend a hand and help out. Also, we try to update our followers about what is happening on campus!