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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Five do's and don't's for incoming freshmen

""You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself

any direction you choose.""

—Dr. Seuss

Unfortunately for all of you, Dr. Seuss was an idealistic prat who probably smoked too much dope in college (seriously, what the fuck is a Star-Belly Sneetch?). It's not that you—the incoming freshman class of University of Wisconsin—aren't bright; UW is an amazing school full of amazing students who learn to write amazing term papers thanks to amazing amounts of Adderall. It's just that even future Nobel Laureates can end up facedown in a puddle of their own vomit after a ""Jersey Shore Bros and Snooki Hoes"" party on Langdon Street.

That's where I come in. Like most students, I made my fair share of mistakes as a freshman, and rather than let all of you suffer the same fate, I'm going to give you a crash-course on the do's and don'ts to surviving your first year at Madison.

DO: Attend dorm activities during the first few weeks.

DON'T: Attend every single dorm activity during the year.

I know what you're thinking, and yes, dorm events can be pretty lame. You probably don't need to go to every diversity seminar or underwater basket weaving workshop that your dorm sponsors. But during the first few weeks of the semester, your housefellow is going to pester you nonstop about attending various house activities. The funny thing is, that kid from down the hall who you do an awkward water balloon toss with is the same one you'll be secretly doing shots with in your room in December, while your housefellow pounds on the door wondering why no one came to board game night.

DO: Go to Badger football games.

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DON'T: Party so hard before Badger football games that you show up blackout drunk at halftime.

In my four years at UW, gamedays at Camp Randall Stadium were by far the most fun and memorable times I had. The roar of the crowd, the obscene chants, hell, even the overpriced hot dogs were part of the gameday experience. And yes, drinking beer at 8 a.m. can be part of the gameday experience too. Just try to limit your three-story beer bongs to one, and try not to get so drunk that you trade your ticket for two cups of beer, sneak into the stadium and urinate in the middle of a stairwell. You'll get a lifetime ban from Badgers games, and an expensive drinking ticket to boot.

DO: Have wild, casual sex.

DON'T: Have wild, casual, unprotected sex.

Whatever your beliefs about sex may be, here are the facts: There are 40,000 smart (mostly), sexy (mostly) college-aged individuals concentrated into a single town; don't spend the semester sitting in your room alternating between epic Call of Duty matches and slappin' the salami to Jessica Alba impersonators on Chatroulette.

If you do manage to head home from the party with that curvy blonde chick from your Chemistry lecture or that tan, chiseled hunk from Comm. Arts discussion, be sure to use condoms and/or birth control. There's no excuse for not having a condom, as campus organizations like Sex Out Loud give them out like candy. To paraphrase ""The Hangover,"" what happens in college stays in college. Except for herpes. That shit'll stick with you for life.

DO: Read your textbooks or attend your lectures.

DON'T: Read your textbooks and attend your lectures.

With very few exceptions, professors' lectures consist of summarizing what you read in your textbooks, and discussion sections summarize what your professor talked about in lecture. Because most lectures are far too big for attendance to be taken, you should probably just skip them, read the book on your own time and go to discussion section for review.

Alternatively, you could save some money by not buying your outrageously overpriced textbooks, go to both lecture and discussion, and make friends with the smart kid in your discussion so you can study with him for midterms, just in case there are a few important sections of the textbook the professor didn't have time to cover. Many of the libraries have copies of the books you need as well, so use those hundreds of dollars your parents gave you for books for something useful, like a futon or a poster of two women with shotguns in camo bikinis that says ""weapons of ASS destruction."" Your choice.

DO: Be friendly to all your fellow students, regardless of where they're from.

DON'T: Call people coasties.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, ""coastie"" is a word used by a few dense, functionally retarded students on campus to describe people from either the East or West coast. These sorry excuses for students, nay, for human beings, tend to call anyone wearing tights and/or Ugg boots a coastie, despite the fact that half the people from Wisconsin wear them too.

Seriously, just don't do it. It's fucking lame, and only reinforces stereotypes that divide us as a school. Everyone who goes to UW-Madison is a Badger first, and a Wisconsinite, New Yorker, Californian, or any other state second.  So if you hear someone yell ""coastie,"" remind them kindly that we're all Badgers no matter where we come from. If that doesn't work, punch them in the fucking face.

Anxious to learn more tips about UW before you get to campus? E-mail Kevin at

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