freshman survival guide

MUW freshman Alexandra Burt, Photo by Anna WatsonAlexandra Woolbright


Starting college is truly a terrifying experience. As if leaving home and starting a new journey is not scary enough, one also must leave behind a sense of familiarity. In high school there was one building where the only daunting task presented was making sure the right door number was found in the few minutes provided between bells. A dress code established what was worn.  Friends there were usually ones made years in advance. The teachers always demanded homework and class attendance, so skipping class was not optional. The parking was made simple. Joining organizations did not create much hassle. The traditions and “rules” that were followed socially were explained or taught (by nasty upperclassmen) and were engrained in the minds of all graduating seniors.

So, starting college creates an array of problems. College requires a new set of friends, new clothes and new parking decals. The professors do not serve as a personal alarm clock to ensure that students make it to class. With so many organizations to join on campus, the task of choosing one can become daunting. Plus, MUW already has many of its own rich traditions, so understanding what is acceptable can be confusing. Thankfully, there are many who have overcome these challenges. Follow the tips below, (tips that are provided by a senior, keep in mind) and freshman year will be survivable, and most importantly, fun!


Going to class is important. Sure, there are 12 absences allowed in some classes. Does this mean skip them all?  NO.  Sometimes mental health days are needed, just like actual physical health days are, but this does not give you the right to completely skip as many classes as possible. There will be things covered in the class that could have helped with a future test or exam, and skipping class only means you missed out on hearing that information. Thus, your grades will ultimately be affected. Also, pay attention and take notes! Professors do not act as parents, alarm clocks or personal planners. It is your responsibility to make sure you keep up with work, make it to class on time each morning and submit assignments when they are due. By keeping a planner and a really good alarm clock, all these worries can be alleviated. Oh, and if you are not a morning person, just don’t sign up morning classes. Your GPA will thank you.


Anyone who has attended MUW can attest to the complete and total lack of decent parking on campus. To begin, do not think getting away without purchasing a parking decal can last forever. As friendly as the campus officers are, they will write you a ticket and expect you to pay a hefty sum. Make sure to arrive early for class in case there isn’t parking near a specific building. If you live on campus, purchase a bike. It beats walking and makes getting to class a little more enjoyable. Whatever you do, do not park in the green spaces. These are for faculty members. All students park in the white spaces! Again, you will save your pocketbook by paying attention to such small details.

Hogarth Cafeteria

The cafeteria at MUW is a place meant for laughter, bonding and really good fried chicken. Days with visitors will become your favorite, as the staff always prepares the best food on these days. The cafeteria is shared with the students from Mississippi’s School for Mathematics and Science; therefore, sometimes the lines can seem extremely long. No worries. With a little patience, you can enjoy a good meal. Keep in mind workers are dealing with high-schoolers and college students all day, so waiting 10 minutes for your meatloaf just isn’t that bad. If it is fried chicken day, make it a priority! It is the most delicious, mouthwatering chicken ever to be put in your freshman mouth. Finally, during the pledging process of the social clubs, there will be lots of singing of the class songs. Perhaps you will be singing the song or maybe just listening. Regardless, have respect for the tradition. Nothing makes upperclassmen in social clubs madder than a rude freshman who complains about the singing. If you don’t like the noise, there is a Subway on campus.


Joining an organization at MUW can make the entire college experience extremely enjoyable. With a vast array to choose from, there is a little something for everyone. From anime to Women’s Rights, we have it all. If it sounds interesting, then the logical thing to do is attend that group’s interest meeting.  If after attending, it doesn’t seem like a good fit, you are not expected to join. However, once you do join an organization, do it for the right reasons. No matter how much your friend loves Dragon Ball, it won’t necessarily mean it’s something you can live with choosing to become involved in, which means you probably won’t give the group your best. Choose a group that really impassions you, and it will be something you are glad you joined.

Social Clubs

Many are often confused by the idea of a social club. To begin, it is very important to understand that social clubs are not sororities. Repeat: SOCIAL CLUBS ARE NOT SORORITIES. Nothing at all is wrong with sororities, and MUW is home to some, but nothing will infuriate a “W” girl faster than calling her club a sorority or a club attempting to be one. Social clubs are unique to the MUW campus and have been here longer than your grandmother has been alive.  If you want to learn more about them and are female, attend recruitment weekend during Sept. 6-8. It provides a lot of insight into what they are all about and can lead to lifelong friendships, even if you decide not to pledge. 


Studying is extremely important. For some, high school was a total breeze that required very little or no effort at all. No matter how much of a genius you may believe yourself to be, studying in college is essential to making good grades. I pity the fool who does not follow this tip.

Having Fun

Moderation is the key to having fun in college. College is meant to be a memorable, exciting and fun time. Students often find it hard to create a balance between too much and too little. Don’t get so overwhelmed with school and grades that you forget how to have fun. Going to a movie or grabbing dinner is not a bad thing. However, when it’s all you do, then it does become a problem.  No matter how much fun going to a movie or party may sound, it will not earn you a degree, nor will it pay you back the tuition for the semester your grades completely bombed. Finding a balance is very important. It will make your grades and memories ones you can appreciate.