10 important things freshmen should know this fall

Freshmen participated in several orientation activities over the weekend
Freshmen participated in several orientation activities over the weekend

An opinion piece

Entering freshman year isn’t an easy adjustment for everyone, so here are a few helpful tips, tricks and general things to know as you prepare for the start of the rest of your life here at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Freshmen participated in several orientation activities over the weekend
Freshmen participated in several orientation activities over the weekend

1. Be prepared for the construction on campus.

The Folger Dining Hall across from Suites on Maple East is being updated, along with the new College of Humanities and Social Sciences building, which is located across from Stapleton Library.

As a freshman living on campus, you may be affected by the loud noises and the blocked areas that accompany any ongoing construction site.

To avoid the drilling of jackhammers and inconvenience of closed sidewalks, bring a pair of headphones on the walk to class and leave 10-15 minutes early to ensure you will arrive on time.

2. Speaking of time, you must be able to balance it.

The average student takes 15 credits a semester, which equates to roughly 15 hours of class per week. There are 168 hours in a week, so make sure the other 153 hours aren’t spent binge-watching shows on Netflix until 3 a.m., or sleeping for whole days straight.

3. Along with balancing your time, it is also important to prioritize your work.

A planner is a great way to write down assignments, so you know what needs to be done and when to have them done. There is no better feeling than accomplishing your work and celebrating afterwards.

4. In the beginning of every semester, The Co-Op Store, located next to the Hadley Union Building, offers free discount books that include coupons for a variety of food and entertainment.

Repeat: The books are free. Grab a generous amount and share them with friends. That way you will always have a coupon when you’re ordering copious amounts of pizza during late-night study sessions.

5. Weigh your options when buying books.

You can most likely find whatever book you’re looking for on Amazon or Chegg, a website for discounted college textbooks.

Additionally, if you look on IUP class Facebook pages, there are always plenty of students selling their used textbooks.

A major difference between high school and college is that textbooks are no longer provided for you. And in college, one book could cost an entire paycheck.

6. Another thing that differentiates high school from college is the use of the library.

Don’t be embarrassed to go to the library; you’d be amazed at how much you can accomplish in a cubicle at the library versus a desk in the dorm.

Plus, there is a Java City, where a variety of drinks and baked goods are sold, that accepts flex dollars.

7. Like most students that come to IUP, you most likely didn’t choose Indiana for the weather.

It snows and rains a lot in this little town, so rain boots and an umbrella should be essential items on your back-to-school list.

And to be extra prepared for Indiana’s sporadic weather patterns, keep an umbrella in your backpack at all times so you can avoid getting soaked for your next class that’s located all the way across campus.

8. Provisions on Demand, also known as P.O.D., is a hidden treasure of food disguised through ordinary doors.

Located in both Putt and Wallwork Halls, P.O.D. offers prepackaged sandwiches with your choice of soda, chips, fruit and Oreos that can be purchased with meal plans, which is a great option when you’re in a rush between classes or don’t want to wait in long lines at the HUB or Crimson Café.

9. Your I-Card is extremely important, as it provides food, concert and event tickets, laundry and entry into your dorm room.

Keep this card in a safe place, and make a concerted effort not to lose or break it. Not only is it a $15 charge to make another copy, it’s just a pain when you’re locked out of your room or can’t buy food.

However, if you do lose your card, don’t replace it immediately, as IUP-centric Twitter accounts are usually a great source for finding missing I-Cards.

10. Leave your dorm room and explore Indiana.

Philadelphia Street provides a wide range of services for students, such as great places to eat like Steel City Samiches and The Coney, a tattoo shop, tanning salons, hookah bars and even the Jimmy Stewart Museum.

The most cliché and important piece of advice I have to give to freshmen is to have fun and enjoy your next four years. It will go by quicker than you think.