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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

The mac and cheese pizza offered at Ian's is enjoyed only by those who fail to exercise critical thinking

Misguided reputations of the freshman experience

As you enter into the realm of college life, you’re filled with anxiety, jubilation and excitement. What exactly is college going to be like? Well, it is like all other life experiences; filled with ups and downs. Some people will rave about things that you find monotonous and others will overlook diamonds in the rough. This article presents a list of objectively overrated and underrated experiences in Madison. You might care to disagree, but bear in mind that you are incorrect.

Overrated: Mac and cheese pizza

At some point in your freshman year, you will hear a person make a passionate endorsement of the macaroni and cheese pizza found at Ian’s. Remember, this person is wrong, and the sooner you disassociate with them, the better. Putting macaroni on a slice of pizza sounds like an idea from a ten-year-old whose father was a culinary school dropout. It is unnecessary, egregious, and flat-out immature.

Underrated: Bus passes

Getting your free bus pass is arguably the most underrated thing on Madison’s campus. It is free transportation, meaning you do not need to pay for it. People complain about how crowded the buses get in the winter time, but again, it is a no-cost service. Plus, if I had a nickel for every friend I made while being cramped on the 38, I would have enough money to buy a carton of milk in 1957.

Overrated: Lake Mendota freezing over

Mendota freezing over is romanticized by Madison residents and students alike. They will insist, “It’s just like a flat, snowy park! How can you not like that?” That description is really just a whimsical euphemism for a barren, icy tundra. Lake Mendota freezing-over means it is winter. Which means it is cold. Which means that being outside is unenjoyable. Which means that seasonal depression is ready to rear its ugly head again.

Underrated: Coffee shops

Coffee shops are not exactly underrated, but they are certainly under-experienced by freshman. Unless you have a moral superiority that does not allow you to consume this wonderful beverage, you should experience the aura of Madison’s many coffee shops. The combination of soothing music with the warm embrace of a cup of joe is the essential remedy you didn’t know you needed. If you only go once, it is still well worth your time.

Overrated: Halloween

It was better when we got candy instead of hangovers.

Underrated: First set of finals

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In the word’s of George W. Bush, “I understand taking tests aren’t fun. Too bad.” While Bush is by no means a philosophical prodigy, this quote sums up why your first set of finals is something to savor. The tests themselves are not the fun part; it’s getting to know yourself that is exciting. How do you respond in times of real adversity? For instance, I learned that I handle pressure about as well as a balloon being stepped on by Thon Maker, so now I refuse to challenge myself. See, isn’t this fun?

Overrated: First week of freshman year

“Oh my god, is everyone this nice and personable?” you think to yourself. “I can’t believe everyone has matured so much since high school,” you say to your roommate. You are right to be skeptical because everyone is just as judgemental and uninteresting as they were five months ago. Anyway, go ahead and savor the interactions, but I caution you to question the nature of your reality.

Underrated: Wisconsin high school wrestling tournament

Last, but not least, the crown jewel of weekends in Madison. You will hear people complain about restaurants and bars being too crowded when the Wisconsin high school wrestling tournament comes to town. This very well may be true, but depending on the social circles you form in college, this could well be your best opportunity to meet people from more rural parts of the state. As a coasty elitist who nearly got a B in “Intro to Anthropology,” I consider this a time to learn about the culture of Wisconsinites. An unofficial ethnography, if you will. Especially for out-of-state kids, this is the weekend for you to truly feel a part of the Dairy State.

Welcome to Madison, I hope you enjoy your 4-6 year stay.

Jake is a senior majoring in economics and history with a certificate in environmental studies. Do you agree or disagree with these hot takes? Send your strongly worded opinions to us at

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