48 Things You Learn the Hard Way as a First Year Badger

Life can be hard as a freshman in college, especially through the first few months of transition period. You’re bound to learn plenty of lessons your first year at UW-Madison, here are a few…

1.     Don’t check left and right for cars when crossing University. Except watch out for bikes, always watch out for bikes.

2.     Bring a toaster. Hide it behind your television.

3.     Double check, triple check, quadruple check that you are ordering the correct textbook for your class.

4.     I reiterate, if your book needs an online code—make sure you are getting one with the online code!

5.     Taking a class called “Companion Animals” does not guarantee that you get to play with dogs.

6.     Clean up stains on your carpet ASAP.

7.     How to say “No.”

8.     The housing fair is a great place to score freebies—hello $100 to Trader Joes! Yes please!

9.     Nothing lasts all the way to its expiration date in a dorm room mini fridge.

10.  Homework does not get touched on a sunny Saturday.

11.  You’ll meet hundreds of people the first week and most of them you will never talk to again.

12.  You will be lonely at times…

13.  …But just when it seems like it will never happen, you will meet incredible friends.

14.  Home is a beautiful place and it shouldn’t be taken for granted.

15.  Get an early SOAR date.

16.  You will change, and if you didn’t then you did something wrong. Your life as you know it will do a complete 180, but luckily most of the changes will be for the better.

17.  Invest in noise-cancelling headphones.

18.  A big campus is a blessing! I love being able to walk outside to classes (even when it’s freezing) and being able to have the downtown area as well as the Lakeshore area.

19.  The UW-bus app is a friend; Google maps is a foe.

20.  It’s O.K. not to like people. We get so caught up trying to be everyone’s friend in high school. Knock it off—some personalities just do not match up.

21.  Game days will save your first semester.

22.  Don’t freak out about finding housing for next year, everything will work out.

23.  Balance your time! This is SO NECESSARY.

24.  When going out, always pick warmth over looking cute

25.  The nearest target is only a 25 minute bus ride away.

26.  Always make time for “Dogs on Call.”

27.  No one cares anymore, to be honest. For god’s sake, leave high school drama in the past.

28.  You will stop missing high school. Sure, homecoming rolls around and you’ll feel a little nostalgic, but by the time it’s prom season you won’t want to be back.

29.  You aren’t going to be the best at everything…

30.  ….But everyone around you will be brilliant in their own ways and it makes life much more interesting

31.  You will like coffee (or you’ll need to find an alternative energy source).

32.  When in doubt, flash the dubs: Tour group on campus? Flash the dubs. Wisconsin gets a touchdown? Dubs. Taking a picture with your roomie? Dubs. Cute boy in lecture keeps looking at you? Flash the dubs—maybe not this time.

33.  Don’t feel bad about the 12 jars of peanut butter you consumed solely in first semester.

34.  You will be exposed to alcohol…

35.  …But there’s much more to do besides drink. This seems like such a cliché statement but it really is true. Ice skating at the Shell, exploring State Street, participating in swing dance, getting involved in an intramural sports— the options are truly endless.

36.  Some form of waterproof shoes are beyond necessary.

37.  Due dates are actually due dates.

38.  Hockey games are underrated.

39.  Half your closet (or more) will be red and white.

40.  You will get smarter and it will feel awesome…

41.  …But it will take hard work, energy and time.

42.  Walking around in huge groups the first month of school screams, “Hey everyone! I’m a freshman and no one on my floor of Sellery knows where to go tonight—please take us in! ”

43.  You will never be more grateful for sun than after a Madison winter.

44.  You can never possibly know everything going on around campus.

45.  You will lose touch with some high school friends…

46.  …But the ones that stick around and make an effort will always be there for you.

47.  There are amazing people and experiences to be found here.

48.  Madison will forever hold a special place in your heart.

My first year as a Badger at this wonderful school has left me with a lot of lesson learned. Bring on sophomore year!