Freshmen Orientation: The Sh*t They Should’ve Told You

You’ve taken the campus tours. You’ve heard the useless factoids (“Warren Towers is the second largest non-military dorm in the country!”) You’ve been to meetings, events, discussions, anything and everything to get you well informed and prepared for your four years at BU. But, there’s some info those perky orientation leaders and RAs haven’t told you, things that only years of exploring, experimentation and experience can get you. So brace yourselves, freshies (and everyone else), here’s what you actually need to know:

Don't take the elevator unless you live above floor seven. There are a lot of people in here. | Photo by Nicole Cousins.


Newbies take heed: if you live in Warren (and if you’re a freshman, chances are you do), do not take the elevators to floors 4-7 unless you have an actual, provable excuse to do so. We’re talking visible broken bones, best paired with crutches and a doctor’s note (faking a limp will not serve as an excuse, trust me). With eighteen floors each tower, the elevator is not a luxury, but a necessity for the majority of Warren residents, particularly those on the higher floors.

Thus, elevator space is in high demand, and those 18th floorers don’t want such coveted space wasted on lower floor dwellers. As a former 6th floor resident, I can honestly tell you, if you dare take the elevator to a low floor, you will be judged. You will be taunted. You may or may not have cafeteria fries thrown in frustration at your head. So, lower floor brethren, take the safe route and walk up a few flights. You’ll escape the wrath of the 18th floor residents, plus you’ll get glutes of steel. Hooray for you, and your glutes.


You will gain weight your first year at BU. Maybe not the full-fledged freshman fifteen, but some. You won’t see it happening at first. Your first semester will fly by in a carb-filled haze of West Campus burgers, 25-cent Top Ramen, fried Late Night munchies, and trips to the beer keg. Then, around the holidays, you will unwisely hop on your scale back home, simply out of curiosity, and find that you’ve unknowingly packed on a gut the size of a pregnant lady. It’s inevitable. But never fear grasshopper, you too will learn to curb your gluttony. Your body itself will start letting you know when it’s done with the gluttonous abuse. There are only so many cafeteria burritos your stomach can physically handle before it starts to revolt.

Over time, you’ll realize you need to start eating for fuel’s sake: good carbohydrates and protein for those all-nighters at Mugar (it’s open 24 hours during finals), fruits and veggies to ward off whatever that kid next to you in lecture is coughing all up in your personal space. I’m not saying you have to gnaw on raw carrots all day like a freaking gerbil. I just mean, next time you’re walking out of the cafeteria with an ice cream cone the size of your skull, maybe rethink your culinary choice and grab a banana for the road instead? Oh, but don’t take more than one, or else you’ll have a cafeteria employee chasing and screeching after you like a banshee. Seriously. (Just hide them in your backpack).


We all know about FitRec, with its grandeur, its myriad of machines and the oft talked about yet elusive lazy river. But what if you do not want to publicly display the fact that when you’re on an elliptical, you sweat so much you’re practically a human fountain? What if you don’t want dozens of sweating strangers to know that the workout mix that’s loudly blasting through your headphones features an embarrassingly heavy dose of ABBA?

If FitRec seems a bit too public for you, there are a number of smaller fitness rooms scattered across campus that can be used as an alternative. Fitness rooms can be found at Warren, Myles, Shelton, StuVi, and South Campus, and they’re generally stocked with treadmills, elliptical machines, exercise bikes, hand weights, etc. But watch out–they get steamy fast. Because of the small size, they do tend to fill-up during the post-class afternoon hours, but if you go early before class or during dinner hours, you’ll likely not have a large audience watch you blast away those hamstrings to “Dancing Queen.” So go ahead, turn that exercise disco/dance mix all the way up to eleven and sweat away your bad self.


If you want to get anything remotely productive done during midterms and finals week, do not go to the third floor of Mugar Library. With the heightened pressure of cumulative tests weighing on them, people start to crack. Sleeping under desks in Mugar? Yeah, that actually happens. Plus, the third floor is easily the library’s most popular floor and thus the loudest and most social–not exactly a prime spot for actual studying to occur. So, unless you’re armed with some heavy-duty earplugs and the patience of a saint, you’ll likely want to find a quieter, more chill study spot.

There are plenty of spots around campus to choose from. There are study lounges found in the majority of dorms, from Warren to West, Shelton to 1019. There’s the Student Atrium on the top floor of StuVi I, study lounges on the second and third floor of the GSU, and the Gilbane Study Lounge in the CGS basement. But top study spot has to go the Theology Library, found on the second floor of the School of Theology Building. It has nice desk space, good lighting and quiet atmosphere. The cherry on top? It’s been known to serve free snacks during study periods. Free. Snacks.


College, coupled with infancy and old age, is one of the prime times in your life when napping is a vital part of your day. You need to refuel after late-night cramming and those pesky 8 a.m. classes. So to keep you from breaking out a sleeping bag and camping under some library desk, here are some spots to take a much-needed nap break after hours of hitting the books.

The PAL Lounge, found on the 3rd floor of Mugar, is a convenient place to catch some zzzs. It’s in a secluded back corner of the library and comes equipped with comfy couches to lounge on, so you won’t embarrass yourself in front of too many people with your loud snoring and excessive drooling. Believe me, you’ll look like a much bigger douche if you conk out face first on your desk in the middle of class, so recharge accordingly.

The Katzenberg Center on the third floor of CGS, the COM Student Lounge, the Dean’s Office Lounge on the 3rd floor of the GSU and the Women’s Resource Center in the GSU basement all sport comfortable seating and fairly quiet atmospheres. When the weather is fine (shockingly), BU Beach is also a popular choice for a quick nap, but be weary of flying Frisbees, soccer balls, Quidditch snitches, and demonic squirrels, all of which will readily plow into your head at any given moment. Nap at your own risk.

Okay, so there’s the basic info you need for navigating through on-campus life at BU. But that’s all I will give you. I can’t give you everything now; that would be way too easy. For all the rest, you’re going to have to do what thousands have done before you: get lost, get confused, make mistakes, make a complete fool out of yourself, and it’s okay, because we all looked wayward freshmen year. But hopefully, in all of your bumbling and stumbling around this year, you’ll accidentally stumble across all of the awesome things BU has to offer.

About Chree Izzo

Chree Izzo (COM/CAS '11) loves pop culture more than Snookie loves tanned juiceheads, which is saying something.

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