With the first week of school wrapped up, I can now offer some more perspective than the profound insight that I had after either O Week or the first day itself. Some of the dos and don’ts that I’ve discovered are as follows:

  • Always have your phone on silent in class, otherwise everyone will be staring at you, regardless of if it’s your mom calling to ask how you’re doing.
  • Sleep. A lot. You’re never going to get a chance to do this again for the rest of the year, so live it up while you can.
    • As I have said before, nap as little as possible, because the odds are that while you’re sleeping, people are doing things worth doing.
  • Wear a watch, or get very good at quickly glancing at the clock to see how much longer to go until freedom.
    • Wearing a watch is ideal, because if you’re in one of those classrooms that doesn’t have a clock, you’ll be left trying to count the seconds in your head, which is a tried and true way to drive yourself insane.
  • Get ahead on the massive amount of work that you’re going to be getting in the very near future.
    • The odds are you were given a syllabus with how your work will be divided. Aim to get at least a week ahead of schedule on readings to keep yourself above water.
    • If you accidentally give something away in class just say that it’s because you’re so scholarly that you have already read this book a hundred times.
  • Watch a lot of shows. Ideally this should be done socially.
  • Go to every RSO fair you can, because you never know what you’ll see or get there.
    • I have added several shirts to my wardrobe and all I had to do was sign up for listservs that I never intend on reading.
    • I also got a caramel apple just for going to the RSO fair (there was a massive line for whatever pizza on a stick is, as a further enticement).
    • Where else will you see the signup table for Humans vs Zombies?
    • You can also have terrific interactions like the following: as I was strolling through the aisles, someone asked me if I support human rights. I thought to myself, of course I support human rights, then in the corner of my eye I saw that this was the table for Students for Justice in Palestine and I responded by saying that of course I support human rights, and therefore I support Israel. I then walked away, leaving them highly confounded.

      RSO fairs are great places to make new friends.
      RSO fairs are great places to make new friends.
  • Keep checking your email, because you might wind up going to the wrong building. My math class was moved, and everyone knew, except the TAs (it turned out they weren’t on the email list for some reason, but they did eventually find their way to the new room).
  • Eat wherever your dorm does. I admit I’m too lazy to do this most of the time because the other, forbidden, dining hall is much more convenient, but eating with others is much more fun than eating alone and hoping that you recognize anyone in the dining hall you’re in.
  • Get very far ahead on your work in every class you possibly can.
    • Even for the chronically lazy, do work now so you don’t have to do it later.
  • If you’ve already been to The Reg to do anything other than scream in it just to say you’ve done that (apparently this is something people do), you’re probably in trouble. Why is that? This is First Week (a proper noun), and this is supposed to be a time that you have minimal work so you can see if your schedule is going to be right for you. If you’re up at 2 in the morning because you’re doing work, you might want to reconsider your schedule.
    • I have had so much free time I’ve actually had no idea what to do for hours on end each day. I am under no illusion that this will last, but I’m living every minute of it up because I know that it won’t last.
  • Speaking of things that won’t last, I’ve been learning extremely complicated things in my calculus class, ranging from absolute value to inequalities to circles!
    • It is a very rare day that I understand what I’m being taught in math, so I am savoring every minute of this (even the ones where the TAs are nowhere to be found).
    • The fact that we went over covalent bonds in science also made me realize that this is a perfect opportunity for an obligatory 21 Jump Street reference.
  • Go to Chipotle. Whatever it takes, get this done. I had a very saddening experience, because the relatively new Chipotle (which is way farther away than it should be) had a two for the price of one sale to bring awareness to college students that it exists, and I got there 42 minutes after the sale ended. This turned out to be a mixed blessing, because although I paid for both, I didn’t have to wait in line for 2 hours that people did before I got there (apparently the police had to show up to make sure things didn’t get out of hand).
  • Take what compliments you get. As I was standing in line at the dining hall (as previously mentioned, not the dining hall my dorm eats at), someone told me that I remind them of a contestant on Survivor who goes to UChicago. It was later pointed out to me that this contestant’s Survivor profile probably made this comparison even more apt, because of how he listed the following:
    • “Inspiration in Life: The former governor Mitt Romney has been successful in everything he’s ever attempted, be it private equity, business/law school or running the Olympics. He has accumulated enormous wealth in starting several successful business ventures and constitutes the perfect embodiment of capitalism.”
    • “[If I could only bring 3 things to a desert island, one of them would be] an American flag. Perhaps my biggest source of pride is being an American.”
  • Play Cards Against Humanity. A lot. I don’t know if it’s true that its creators went to UChicago, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this is a true statement. Regardless, it’s a good way to have fun (I think this is the right word).
    • You can usually tell who has and who hasn’t played this game, but sometimes there are some surprises out there. By the end of this week, everyone should have played it.
  • Go for a run. Go for lots of runs actually, because you might meet Mitt Romney.
    • If you don’t know what he looks like, this is probably the wrong blog for you to be reading.
  • Learn the times that each of the dining halls transition between meals, and avoid them at these times, because the food options will be very minimal.
  • Fulfil as many of these as possible. College is about doing what is required but doing so while managing to do as little work as possible.
  • Try not to be too weirded out when people walk up to you and say they know who you are because of your posts on either Facebook or Instagram. This either means your posts are good (what I like to think mine are) or horribly bad that people remember to avoid you (so far it looks like I’ve avoided this).