Everything all incoming Terps need to know

A few things to be very aware of before August 29th

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Whether you’re stoked or couldn’t care less, August 29th is coming. I could tell you about the world renowned research facilities and labs on campus, or some of the world class professionals turned professors, the innumerable opportunities to interact with people from all over the world, or UMD’s performance and graduate placement record but you know all of that and your parents and guidance counselors know all about that.

These are the important things you need to know before coming to campus.

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It doesn’t matter if you live on south campus or north campus

South Campus: a mix of freshman, sophomores, and the juniors and seniors that didn’t get kicked off of campus, quiet, peaceful

North Campus: everyone gets to know everyone, real sense of community and the traditional college life

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McKeldin Library is nicknamed Club McKeldin

You’ll run into everyone you do and don’t want to run into. McKeldin will become where you meet study groups, where you run into the cute guy from your lecture—where you run into the girl from the gym—where you run into literally everyone. There’s nothing like it.

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UMD will get really small really fast

Once you find your niche or general group of people you get along with everyone will slowly start being connected to everyone. You’ll know Person X who knows Person Y who’s in a Frat with Person Z and Person Z hooked up with Person X at your neighbor’s kickback. You’ll see what I mean.

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Even If you’re repeating a class you took in high school, it’ll be harder and as a result be prepared to work from the start

It’s easy to say oh that was a bad exam I’ll do better on the next one but if you don’t fix your approach to studying then you probably won’t do better on the next one. Go to office hours! Take advantage of guided study sessions (GSS)—remember: you came to college to get a degree don’t lose sight of that.

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While we’re on the subject…after a certain point, no one really cares if you’re in Honors, Scholars, or Freshmen Connection

At the end of the day you’ll attract like-minded people regardless of how you’re enrolled at the university. I was accepted to 3 elite private universities but due to major quotas and my procrastination (applying on the last day), I was a Freshman Connection Student. Don’t take labels so seriously and don’t judge people based on them.

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Cornerstone, Bentley’s, and Turf are the three main bars/clubs in College Park

They’re all in a 400 square feet of each other and they’re basically the cornerstone (pun intended) of nightlife Thursday through Saturday. There’s always DC and Silver Spring but Cornerstone, Bentley’s and Turf take 0 effort to get to. They’re not for everybody but don’t knock it ‘till you try it. Word of caution, you may want to get your hands on something that rhymes with a shmake fyedee. Your next options for nightlife are the View, Varsity, Domain, Enclave and Mazza apartments–and your last option (or first to each their own) would be frat and dorm parties.  Word of advice, most frat parties don’t happen in the traditional frat houses like you see in the movies. You’ll also become familiar with The Ratio very quickly.

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Adele’s and 251 North are really all they’re cracked up to be

You’ll see what I mean.

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Don’t get too absorbed with the social aspect—there will always be a party, there will always be snapchat opportunity’s the gossip will literally never stop.

Please don’t forget why you came to college in the first place. You came to graduate with a degree in 4-5 years (Super Senior is something you’ll hear a lot–especially around STEM majors). Don’t let people, relationships, and silly mistakes get in the way of that. Take school seriously, UMD is a “public ivy” after all. In my experience going out only affects your performance if you let it. Time management, time management, time management, time management, time management is keyyyyy you guys.

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You won’t recognize who you were at the beginning when it’s time for the end so enjoy it…the year will be over sooner than you think

My friends and I have this theory that everything in college moves at double the speed and that’s true. A semester is 15 weeks long and in that 15 weeks you’ll feel like you’ve spent an entire year or more with people who were strangers to you during week 1. You’re going to grow, you’re going to mature, you’re going to make so many mistakes, you’ll stumble, you’ll cry, you’ll maybe gain wait (the whole weight gain thing is really is up in the air because you walk approximately 4,000 steps a day just going from class to class at UMD—the campus is massive so that kind of cancels out all of the Maryland Dairy Ice Cream you’ll be eating), and you’ll learn more about the person you’re becoming. The people you spend the most time with will become your family and you’ll love them as such. Get ready for all you’ve been waiting for—it may not be how you pictured your college experience to be like but I can definitely promise it’ll be incredible regardless.
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