By Tommy Gagliano
A new academic year is upon us, and I would like to welcome the newest batch of poor New Yorkers and private school rejects to Binghamton University. I’m sure most of you are excited to get your first taste of college life, but you’re probably also unsure of what to expect. Like most colleges, Binghamton University has students from all around the world. You’ll meet people from Long Island, New York City, Syracuse, Long Island, Rochester, Long Island, Buffalo, Westchester, and did I mention Long Island? I’ve heard rumors that there actually are Binghamton students from states other than New York, but until I find one I refuse to believe it’s true. You’ll also have the ability to customize your schedule from a wide variety of courses that relate to your major and appeal to your interests. Oh wait, I forgot I’m talking to freshmen (mostly). Never mind, you’ll be stuck with Calc 223/224 and the crappy courses no one else wanted, like Prehistoric Archeology or Intro to Africana Studies. Despite the awful courses you’ve likely been forced to take, freshman year isn’t all that bad. For many of you this will be your first taste of freedom, something that is as fun as it is terrifying – but worry not! I have ten tips to make your adjustment to life at Binghamton University easier.
Tip #1 – Accept the fact that you aren’t at your first choice school and move on. If Binghamton actually was your first choice, then great! You can move on to tip #2. I know most of you, however, don’t want to be here. I’m sorry that you didn’t get into Cornell, or NYU, or Boston College, or wherever you wanted to go. I’m even more sorry for those of you that did get into your dream school, but couldn’t afford the ridiculous price tag. It sucks, but you’re here now, and the sooner you accept that the better. It’s hard to enjoy your time here if you’re constantly thinking about how much more fun you would be having somewhere else.
Tip #2 – Get involved. There are hundreds of clubs at Binghamton University; there has to be at least one that relates to your interests. Most clubs only meet once a week so it isn’t a massive time commitment, and it’s an easy way to make friends and meet people that enjoy the same things as you. You can also get involved with activities in your housing community, such as Dorm Wars, Assoxination, Hysteria, and Co-Rec Football. (I lived in Hinman last year and those are some of the activities we did. I’m sure the other communities have similar things as well).
Tip #3 – Eat primarily at the dining halls in the beginning of the year. This may sound odd, but hear me out. The dining halls are significantly cheaper than the Marketplace and other retail locations. The food at the dining halls isn’t great, but for the first few months it’s bearable. Eventually you will get sick of eating the same crappy food week after week and you’ll have to go to the retail locations more often, but if you can stick with the dining halls for as long as possible in the beginning you should be able to avoid refilling your meal plan and save some money.
Tip #4 – Get to know the people that live on your floor. Living in a dorm is a lot more fun (and a lot easier) when you’re friends with the people that live around you.
Tip #5 – Save money by taking the bus. Ubers are expensive. The bus is free, and goes directly to State Street (where the bars are) on Friday and Saturday nights. If you don’t mind the shoving match to get on, the bus is definitely the way to go.
Tip #6 – Pregaming is key. If you go out sober, you’re gonna have a bad time. Drinks are expensive at the bars, and watered down at frat parties. There is a gas station and a liquor store within walking distance from campus. Buy whatever you want to drink there, and drink before you go out. Legal age only, of course! Right guys?
Tip #7 – Bars are much better than frat parties. Frat parties suck. This one is more of an opinion obviously, and some people may disagree with me, but I firmly stand by it. Frat parties are super hot, usually so crowded you can’t move, and always smell very strongly of weed. The one positive is that the drinks are free, but I don’t really get anything out of a cup of fruit punch with a few drops of Barton’s vodka in it. Bars are usually crowded as well, but not to the degree that the parties are. Overall I just enjoy them a lot more. Not 21? Don’t worry. You can tape your picture to a Pokemon card and write “Born in 1997” on it with a crayon and that would probably be good enough to get you into The Rat.
Tip #8 – Try new things. Don’t be afraid to get outside your comfort zone. If your friend asks you to do something or go somewhere with them, do it. College is a time for learning not only from books and professors, but from experiences.
Tip #9 – Go to your classes. Missing just one class can set you back really far. Go to class, pay attention, take notes, study. College is fun, but the primary reason you’re spending so much money to be here is to get an education.
Tip #10 – Join the Binghamton Review! Besides improving your writing skills, you’ll meet lots of cool people and get involved in one of the most unique clubs on campus. Our meetings are at 6pm on Mondays in UUWB05, across from WHRW in the Union basement.
I hope you’ll keep these tips in mind as you go through your first year at Binghamton University. Good luck everyone!