Advice for freshmen, from Swatties who learned it the hard way

Photo by Z.L. Zhou

Your first year at college is a time for learning. And while you all, like me, have somehow weaseled your way into one of the most academically intense colleges in the country, I found that the majority of my learning last year happened outside of the classroom. Your freshman year at Swarthmore College will open you up to a whole slew of new experiences, both good and bad, and I hope that you will in some way learn from all of them. However, there were a few times in the last year that my fellow freshmen and I had to learn things that would have been helpful to know, right off the bat. With that being said, here is my compiled list of Advice for Freshmyn, from Swatties Who Learned it the Hard Way.

 1.     Sometimes, hallcest can actually work out.

2.     If you’re a NARP and you go to the gym any time between three p.m. and dinner, be prepared to share the few machines with many varsity athletes who can all run really fast and pick up heavy things.

3.     Sometimes the frats/Olde Club can get a little crowded. If people are invading your personal space, don’t be shy! Plant those feet and push them away.

4.     Speaking of frats, if you get bored at DU there is a room with a big couch on the side and an entire shelf of old yearbooks. A great way to pass the time while your friend gets hot and heavy on the dance floor is grabbing one at random, then guessing which of the old white guys in the book A) are on the Board of Managers, B) stopped giving money when Swarthmore got rid of its football team, or C) are even alive anymore.

5.     Make sure to assert your dominance over your roommate(s), so they don’t carry you outside and lock you out in the snow in only your underwear.

6.     Don’t leave your mouse traps set over vacations, unless you want your entire room and all of your clothing to smell like a dead mouse for the rest of the semester.

7.     If you want food from Paces and are trying to estimate how long it will take, follow this formula: think of how long it would take a restaurant or other reasonable institution to prepare your meal, then add two hours.

8.     If you ate microwave popcorn for breakfast, don’t also eat it for lunch. If you have eaten microwave popcorn for breakfast and again for lunch, definitely don’t eat it for dinner. Same goes for pop tarts and ramen.

9.     Did you wake up to your roommate having sex? Do not pretend to be sleeping. Avoiding confrontation might seem like a good short-term plan, but you will most definitely regret it when you wake up the following weekend to even louder moaning from a roommate who thinks you will sleep through it.

10. When masturbating, lock your door during, and unlock it right after. If you come home and your door is locked but your roommate is there, you know what is happening.

11. Beware of swooping, but also thank the gods of interrupted romance if you end up going home with somebody who has a single.

12. If you only hook up with one person for the entire first semester, just know that Swarthmore law dictates that they will be in your 8-person seminar in the spring.

13. If you find yourself about to lose your virginity in your best friend’s roommate’s bed, be sure to put a towel down, and double check that you didn’t leave your underwear.

14. The Sharples “two pieces of fruit” rule was made to be broken. Hoard that shit.


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