Editor’s Note: this article originally appeared in our sister publication, Rwog: Rat Student News.

For many young rats, this will be the first time you will leave your seven to 17 siblings to live out in the world. It’s a scary time, but I’m here to tell you that everything will be okay. You will find a new mischief of friends among the two million rats of New York City, and among the thousands of rats moving to Columbia with you. And have no fear: Rwog will be here with you to tell you the ins and outs of Columbia.

Everything You Have To Know About Classes

Columbia is famous for the Core, but what does this actually mean for you? While there are many classes you’ll have to scamper to in the coming years, you don’t actually have to worry about planning your entire schedule now—you’ve been automatically enrolled in two classes. In this first year, you will read everything from SocRates to Stewart Little in LitHum, and will learn how to structure an argument in UW (you may be alternatively enrolled in Frontiers of Science, which will teach you about all of the brave lab rats who have furthered our understanding of the universe). While there are more classes in the core, and you may want to enroll in a foreign language, I would not recommend taking exclusively core classes. George SeuRat can wait for next year. Other Rwoggers recommend:

  • FILM 3058: Steamboat Willie to Ratatollie: The Rodent and the Movie Camera
  • GERM 2100: Rathaus: German Municipal Governance 
  • ENGI 1201: Gears and Ratchets

Remember also to take the swim test freshman year. All rats should know how to leave a sinking ship.

Where To Find Food

As a freshrat, you will be on the meal plan. The sewer on the corner of 114th and Amsterdam has particularly good lunch options, but many rats prefer what 109th has to offer. You shouldn’t just limit yourself to these dining areas though! There are excellent places for mice cream in the area and some great restaurants. Lastly, try the human first-year dorms—some of them leave out food for the first few months at least. If they don’t clean up, we all benefit. It’s also worth trying upperclassmen dorms: some of them still haven’t learned either.

Final Advice

It is likely that you’ll be homesick at some point, or miss the nest that you grew up in. You will miss all of the friends you made in high school: make sure to call them, they will love to talk! There will be other times when you will worry about not meeting people or finding your rat pack. You may even have those worries now, a few weeks before moving in! My experience once I got to campus was the opposite, of my fears, however. You’ll meet so many rats that it will get hard to remember all their names! At the same time, don’t be worried about doing things alone. Don’t be daunted about scurrying to eat alone—sometimes this can even be refreshing.  And remember: there are a ton of rats out there who are just waiting to meet you. Join clubs that you know you’ll enjoy, but also try out new things. Go to the club fair and sign up for tons of mailing lists (I haven’t mastered using duo without opposable thumbs so I can’t actually get into my email, but I’m sure there are great things in it). See if Rwog is right for you. This is a great time to try things out!

One last thing. Remember to check yourself for any Yersinia Pestis on you. Columbia has enough to deal with from COVID-19, we don’t need another plague

Rat Image via Wikipedia Commons (Creative Commons 2.0)