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Bwog Gives Advice: To Our Freshman Self

To help our incoming first-year friends, we here at Bwog dot com have collected some advice that we would impart on our own freshman selves. We hope you find this list useful/sentimental/practical/insightful/all that and a bag of chips – and if not, our store policy is final sale, no returns or exchanges. Sorry!

In General…

  • Everything will be chaotic and that’s okay! There’s no “right way” to do college. Nobody really feels like they “have it together” during their first semester here.
  • Take a nap. Take a deep breath. Take a few minutes to remember that you’re the shit and you deserve to be at this school.
  • Go for walks alone through Riverside Park when you’re sad and you’ll instantly feel better
  • Call your mom. Ask her for pictures of your dog every once in a while
  • Put your money in a savings account so you aren’t tempted to online shop at 3 AM

Clubs and Classes

  • Go to office hours!!!!!!
  • Seminars might seem ~stressful~ at first but take as many of them as you can during your short time here
  • College classes are a lot harder than in high school, so be okay with not getting the grades you did before.
  • Actually go to all those events you see ads or posters or whatever for that look cool!
  • Take the classes that you wanna take, not classes that you think you should be taking. Similarly, don’t major in something just because you think it’ll help you make more money, you’ll be miserable.
  • The best conversations you have happen when everyone involved knows they should be studying.
  • Barnard students, Snowbird is your friend.
  • Branch out and join extracurricular activities you weren’t involved with in high school.

Your Social Life

  • I found my dad’s advice for parties to be very helpful: leave when it’s not fun anymore and/or when the police come.
  • Take time to maintain friendships with people you don’t find yourself naturally spending a lot of time with, be it by grabbing coffee, getting a meal at ferris, working out together. And stay in touch with the friends you make in classes & actively reach out to plan time with them. Don’t let your “class friends” fade!!!!
  • Stop putting effort into emotionally draining friendships/relationships. Be choosy with the people you’re putting time into, even from home. I wish I would’ve put more time into talking with my parents and hanging out with people who make me feel loved.
  • Making friends with seniors is great because they’ll give you great advice and basically adopt you (but it will be super sad when they leave).
  • It’s ok to not have a definitive friend group. If you’re the kind of person who does best having friends in different groups and all over the place, that’s ok
  • If you aren’t in the mood to go out with your friends, DO NOT FORCE YOURSELF TO. You will get sick/feel like shit/wish you had stayed in.
  • It is possible to have a decent social life on this campus without touching alcohol, if that’s your prerogative. Find friends that won’t shit on you just because you don’t drink. Like finding all good friends, it may take a while/year/etc.
  • You *will* run into old hookups on campus all the time so just don’t be weird about it be chill
  • Don’t freak out if you don’t find ~your group~ during NSOP. I didn’t and I was an awkward loner for a while, sure, but then I found my people :)
  • For me at least, the best way to find friends was through club(s). Clubs are for people with similar interests, so chances are you’ll find someone(s) you’ll click with!

Being Fed and Being Well

  • Eat proper meals. Mozzarella sticks are not a meal
  • Don’t be afraid to eat by yourself in the dining halls
  • You can make amazing breakfast sandwiches out of omelettes and bread and salad and condiments in the dining halls
  • Stop eating in John Jay Dining Hall. Periodt
  • Sleep at normal human hours instead of during the afternoon and the hour of the wolf
  • If you need ANYTHING, Well Woman (for Barnard students) is your best friend. Those peer eds can help you sort your toughest shit out.
  • Go to the gym!
  • Ferris is best with friends. It’s so difficult to get a spot by yourself!
  • Be disciplined with how you handle JJ’s – it’s a wonderful place, but too much of a good thing… well, you know. I found that letting myself eat there only on Friday nights and weekends helped lower my junk food intake by a lot.

Out and About in the City!

  • Take advantage of the Columbia student discount at University Hardware that (most of the time) knocks off tax and then some
  • Drink at bars that aren’t Mel’s/1020/the heights
  • Get off campus as much as you can, we live in one of the greatest cities in the world so take advantage of it. Make the 1 train your bitch!
  • Download CityMapper
  • Sweetgreen is overpriced and overrated. Don’t fall into that trap.

Photo via Bwarchives babyyy

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23 Comments

  • It's Okay to Be White says:

    @It's Okay to Be White Best advice I ever received.

    25
    7
  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Be nice, make friends, and talk to everyone. Everyone is smart and interesting and you learn a lot from your classmates.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous And don’t rape

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Every hour, close your eyes, wash them if possible. Take deep breaths.
    Putting finger pressure between your eyes and nose is almost
    as good as sleeping according to my driver ed book.
    Take a think: walk every three hours, even around the floor if it is raining.
    But take advantage of every minute – eg read on subway, even during a dumb class, multitask.
    Be conscious and think about what you are doing.
    Every night, before you go to sleep, write down what you will do the next day.
    Break down all your tasks into half hour segments.
    Schedule slack time for the things that couldn’t get done.
    In some cases say you will not do something (eg bathroom, eat)
    until this subproject is done – then reward yourself.
    Make a grid of all the places you are going to be vs the projects you are
    working on so you can get all the things for a given place done together.
    If you are stuck, change – the place or way you are sitting, the lighting, anything and everything.
    Beware of glare on your desk. Classroom glare puts you to sleep. Wash glasses, if applicable, often!
    Avoid meeting professors after lunch – they might be drunk or high; Early morning is best.
    When Jacques Barzun told professors to take time to think,
    they complained their soles would collect dung.
    Chris Argyris wrote the more important you are,
    the more time you need to take time out to think.
    Be conscious of what you are doing and why!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Salt makes coffee more tolerable on your nerves and gut

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous For STEM courses, it’s about doing, not reading. You got to do problems. They one who works th emost problems gets the best grades. Dover and Schaums are great sources of books with worked problems.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Peanut Butter and cheese crackers are the perfect meal

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Your professors don’t care about you, only their research, that’s what they get rewarded for. The ultimate thing you learn at Columbia is how to teach yourself, because your classmates will learn more and beat you on the curve. You have to learn most booksand lectures are full of egotistical blather and your mission is to get the meat out and avoid the massive flatulence. Become a knowledge-seeking missle, deadly focused, learning to ignore egotistical gas.

    1
    1
    1. right, so says:

      @right, so this is incredibly pessimistic. columbia – hell, college in general – is not the complete soul-suck that this makes things out to be. (sounds like something out of a quora thread!)

      some profs won’t give a shit about you, especially in the 400-person intro classes. some will, and you will either want to lean into that or lean the hell away from it. keep in mind that some of your profs/TAs are themselves still students – be it of school or of life – and that they, too, are human. Don’t be a missile – you may reach your goal, but it’ll be more hell going alone than going with these profs who know (and can advise on) what you’re going through.

      2
      1
      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous My best advisor didn’t get tenure and was gone when needed

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Make good friends from the worst countries and learn their snarky survival skills, like bookleg sites

    1. or... says:

      @or... just… make… friends? and for those “bookleg” sites, i’ll save you some trouble: library genesis (or amazon de-drm).

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous No,no, the sina and bookz sites are more awesome under new names

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Marry before graduation, then you’ll know it wasn’t money

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Under rated

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous You memorize better in high school than college, so take courses like Accounting, Organic Chemistry and Anatomy before Freshman year if possble.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Best way to memorize is to record it and play endlessly when you sleep

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Go on AMazon and buy used audio review CDs for Medical Licencing Exam, Certified Public Accountant and Multistate Bar Examinations and listen to them when you have no classes. It is great prep for tough classes.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Take the stockbroker series seven exam. Most employers will torture and underpay you for years without it. Also try to take the CFA/FRM exams while you still excel at taking exams.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Take a good speed reading/learning course like Evelyn Wood while sill in high school.
    Very well worth it. Evelyn Wood taught in JFK White House.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous JFK/Obama idealism is over! Now it’s time for Reagan/Trump materalism!

    4
    2
  • experienced user says:

    @experienced user chug blue java coffee before your lectures. the caffeine won’t help you stay awake but the firey diarrhea pleading to exit your asshole will

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Based af

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