12 tips to survive freshman year

Welcome to SF State, my friends.

As a freshman, I relished the thought of being away from home, near people with similar mindsets, limiting class time to 12 to 15 hours a week and dropping the early-night curfew. Additionally, the chance to experience college in San Francisco was definitely not an opportunity to pass up.

However, those tweets you may see from college-aged individuals saying that turning assignments in at 11:59 p.m. and crying about it is a norm aren’t just satirical jokes created for a quick road to Twitter fame.

No, those poor souls are merely relaying the thoughts and experiences of any average college student.

Here are some tips about being a student at SF State that I believe every freshman should be told in order to maximize your success, happiness and state of mind:

1. Don’t rape people. Don’t rape people.

2. If you can swing it, get a meal plan even if you live off-campus. Meal plans offer a maximum of 19 meals per week, according to the SF State Housing website and can be purchased from both on and off campus residents.

  • Voluntary meal plan options include:
    • 70 Block plan for $790
    • 110 Block plan for $1,060
    • 150 Block plan for $1,165
    • Communal Block plan for $1,950 for up to four people to share.

I lived on the outskirts of University Park North, where the meal plan becomes voluntary, during my second year at SF State. I went ahead and purchased the meal plan anyway, which saved me tons of time and offered me a place to eat and relax while on campus.

3. The fourth floor of the library is your best friend during midterms and finals. The fourth floor offers students a large quiet study area – a very quiet study area – where many students have fled to when studying for midterms and finals. While there, talking is basically illegal, which is the perfect setting for your attempts to cram that 20-page biology study guide into your brain.

4. The research commons of the library is open 24 hours a day during the fall semester. These commons can be found on the first floor of the library, usually packed with dozens of students stressing over something or another or just sleeping – an amount of bodies that grows as the year goes by. Basically, if you need to stay up all night writing an essay you kept holding off until the night before, this is your place.

5. Parking will suck the life out of you – try public transportation if it’s viable for you. SF State just introduced the new Gator Pass to its students, which includes a transit pass that gives unlimited rides on Muni trains and buses as well as 25 percent off of rides to and from the Daly City BART Station, according to the OneCard webpage.

Parking on campus, from experience, includes spending maybe 20 minutes in a parking garage to find a spot only to pay a now $8 fee, an increase from $7, to park there for the day or finding free parking but having to run out of class and move your car after about an hour or two. If you have another option… take it.

6. Download applications like the Muni app, the BART app or Routesy to plan your trips. Routesy and the Quick Planner that BART’s website offers has saved my professional life and my sleep a couple of times when it came to planning, as Routesy would let me know how long I could take walking to the Muni Station to catch the M-Line and the BART Quick Planner would let me know estimated times my train would arrive. However…

7. Always prepare for major delays on public transportation. I said those apps have saved my professional life “a couple of times” for a reason. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that the schedules will always be followed… sadly.

8. If you love the party life, SF State isn’t totally for you… but you can still try. My friends and I would join our class Facebook pages, and since we lived in Towers at Centennial Square, would often socialize with our neighbors in order to find word on good parties. There’s also the option of walking around the Park Merced area to find a poppin’ house, but this method isn’t a huge favorite as San Francisco is known for its cold weather.

9. If you aren’t a San Francisco native, I can tell you now that wearing shorts every day isn’t going to fly. You can’t trust the Weather App when in San Francisco. It can actually be a nice 74 degrees in the city but, since we’re on the border of San Francisco and Daly City and closer to the ocean, it’ll feel like 50 degrees over here. No exaggeration.

Add Daly City and Pacifica to your Weather Apps to get a more accurate weather prediction of our area.

10. When class registration season comes around, check your Student Center and add classes into your cart or suffer the consequences. Your Student Center portal will give you a specific date and time to register for classes, so make sure to put that information in your calendar, alerts or whatever app you use to keep your life together. Even before that date and time, make sure to add the classes that you want into your cart as well as a few extra classes in case the classes you want become full before your registration date. Not doing so could result in taking more time to manually find the classes and, I promise, you’re not the only person looking for classes around that time.

Since I’m mainly writing to Freshmen, I need to emphasize that all those easy General Education classes with the amazing professors will fill up quickly, so don’t risk getting the most difficult class with the worst professor just because you were lazy.

11. Consult General Education advisors and your major advisors as soon as possible and as frequently as possible. I’ve heard dozens of horror stories about students being unable to graduate because of missing one class that they didn’t know they needed. SF State may have resources like the Bulletin each year to help you guide yourself, but seeking that extra help is still a wise move to keep on track. Better safe than sorry.

12. Pay attention to campus resources. On a serious note, SF State offers programs to help students cope with psychological stresses and traumas. Some examples are Residential Life Counseling for those who live on campus looking to express things like stress, anxiety and problems adjusting and the SAFE Place, which provides crisis intervention and confidential Title IX support for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking and/or sexual harassment.

And with that, I wish you good luck on your journey, friends.

*** A previous headline read “11 tips to survive freshman year” instead of “12 tips to survive freshman year”. This headline has since been changed to accurately reflect the article.

 

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