Read up, first-year student to be

ABy Douglas Voigt As summer orientation begins for another round of incoming first-year students, here are 10 helpful tips that will allow you, a soon-to-be University first-year student, to make the most of your first-year Gopher experience:

1. Live in the dorms. Here you will find a bevy of incoming students with the same social dysfunctions, insecurities and ignorance of reality. But, with an open mind, you can easily explore the diverse backgrounds, views and cultural peculiarities your fellow students possess. Because of the immediacy of dorm living, as well as the commonality of the first-year student dorm experience, students are eager to meet each other and new friendships develop with an ease that is incomparable to any other period of life.

2. Unfortunately, the dorm experience also has a major drawback – dorm food. It is terribly overpriced, unhealthy and, at least at St. Paul’s Bailey Hall, unrecognizable. The food is so bad that the University forces you to buy the meal plan if you live in a dorm; no sane person would pay for it otherwise. So suck it up, cut your losses and eat at Middlebrook Hall – where, most people would agree, the dorm food is as good as it gets. Besides, after a month in the dorm cafeteria, that food you complained about at home will suddenly become some of the tastiest morsels imaginable.

3. Undoubtedly, after a few days, some of you will find some other first-year student pining to explore the campus party scene. Traveling in herds of 10 or more, first-year students descend upon the streets looking for an open door party – and it will come. But, make sure you stick together and moderate your actions, for any number of unpleasant things can happen to a herd of half-wits caught in the witching hour of an urban night. And remember, the Minneapolis police will thrash any asinine group of infantile rioters or obnoxious drunks.

4. Not into parties? Since our campus is in the heart of a major city, the number of entertainment venues is virtually limitless. But, until you are 21, many remain forbidden. Meanwhile, the University routinely offers concerts as well as bowling alleys, pool tables, etc. … right in Coffman Union.

5. Your nearly $300 per semester of student service fees covers several campus services. Before balking at the price, remember that student unions, student health centers, recreational sports, many student groups and this newspaper are partly supported by your fees.

6. Perhaps the most important aspect of student life is, well, your life. That is why the most significant portion of your student service fees goes to Boynton Health Service. Here you will find the amenities of any clinic. Boynton offers several free programs – including free flu shots in the fall. Take advantage of them. Furthermore, Boynton offers several mental health programs. Whether you are suffering from an eating disorder or the mental stress of college life, Boynton can provide remedies to psychological issues we all must deal with. A healthy student body is an imperative part of the University’s mission, so please, access Boynton at the time of any need.

7. Before classes even start, everyone is exposed to the University’s Web service system – One Stop. Here you can register for classes, check finances and find virtually all information regarding the University and its campus. This necessary Web site, www.onestop.umn.edu, plugs you into the University. Use One Stop to avoid hours of waiting in line only to speak with callous and jaded University registration clerks.

8. Another way to plug into the University is through involvement in student groups. At

studentgroups.tc.umn.edu, you will find hundreds of different groups that satisfy almost any interest. These groups provide a venue to participate in activities and explore issues that bring passion and verve to your life. These groups also can provide you with many skills and experiences that will enrich your post-college life.

9. All University newcomers soon discover campus-area parking spaces are scarcer than a mature first-year student. If you wish to have a car around – certainly not a necessity with the excellent University and Twin Cities busing systems – you will have to pay through the teeth for it.

10. Remember, you are here to study. Perhaps the single most important aspect of academic life is to simply attend all classes habitually. By doing so, you will attain a proper feel for your specific class and thus, be able to adapt to the subject, workload and instructor. Also, feel free to explore the vast amount of interesting subjects available to you. You never know, you might find majoring in dance to be much more fulfilling than majoring in business.