As I enter the summer before my junior year at App State, set to be a Resident Assistant in the fall, I am reminded of the stress before my freshman fall semester. I was grossly underprepared for the challenges I would face, but that is what made my time so far so rewarding. I was lucky enough to meet some of my best friends early on and learn alongside them most of the way, but there are always a few things I would have known coming in. Of course, there is only so much knowledge that can be passed down. Mostly, you do actually have to learn it all on your own. Regardless, here are some of the most important tips and tricks that I have picked up on thus far.
1. Welcome Weekend is your friend.
Sure the activities that are educational are boring and the icebreakers are awkward, but you might actually bond with people from your floor over the ridiculousness. Besides, AppolCorp leaders can be cool and might be super helpful in the future, so be respectful.
2. It's cliche, but get to classes early the first day.
Some buildings are literal mazes, and while professors can be understanding, you definitely don't want to be walking in ten minutes late and have to sit in the back for the entire semester.
3. Roess dining hall is called Central.
During a tour and maybe even Welcome Weekend, people will refer to the main dining hall on campus as Roess. I have been here two years, and we still call it Central. Learn that now.
4. Crossroads is a money sucker.
Yes I love coffee more than I should, but that is why I spent the $90 on a Keurig. Your meal plan is used for coffee, meals, snacks, and treats, so be smart and don't get your vanilla latte every day of the week. You will be broke.
5. McAlister's is overpriced and makes you feel like crap.
Although McAlister's does emulate real food the most, it is also made with who know's what because I always feel like a walking balloon after eating it. Plus, $8 a meal will not fly two days a week, everyday. This is how I ended up with no meal plan money last semester.
6. That textbook line could be the death of you.
The line in the bookstore is nearly impossible to avoid for book pickup. The best time to go is before anyone else is moved in, right before they close at night, or at a random time during syllabus week. Remember that textbooks are usually free rentals, but access codes, icklickers, and random additional books are all $$$
7. The west side dorms suck, but you will survive.
The rooms are small but the communities are amazing. After you add some tapestries, lights, bed risers, a box fan, and a positive attitude, you will wonder why you ever wanted to live somewhere else. Besides, you are right near the Trivette market: something east side folks envy endlessly.
8. Always call your beeper way ahead of when you want to actually leave.
If beepers are anything, they are behind and late. Your best bet is to call ahead and schedule a time, so you aren't waiting 40 more minutes than you wanted to. Chances are they will still probably be late. You just have to wait it out and be patient because you are lucky enough to be getting a cheap ride.
9. Always carry an umbrella or rain jacket.
The day you don't have one is the day that it pours so hard you can't leave the building, and you have your $1000 laptop. Buy a small umbrella you can easily store in your backpack for emergency situations.
10. The free stuff never goes away.
Appalachian Popular Programming Society (APPS) and Residence Hall Association (RHA) are forever putting on programs with free stuff. If the lines at the beginning of the year are out of this world, just wait a bit and you will always end up with more, unnecessary free tshirts, signs, and more.
11. Don't forget about on campus resources.
If you ever feel overwhelmed or just need a little help, go to the Writing Center, Tutoring Lab, Counseling Services, of the Office of the Dean of Students, and you will find what you need. There is absolutely no shame in not being able to handle all of this stress on your own.
12. Do not overlook Cascades.
Before this year, I could not get on the Cascades train, but I have changed my ways. The oatmeal for breakfast is always the right move. For lunch, there are sandwiches, salads, and burritos. It is my favorite one stop shop to and from class.
13. You can use express account money to buy tickets.
I am poor, lazy, and a terrible daughter, so I used the money my parents put on my express account for any tickets for Legend's shows or random movies in IG Greer.
14. IG Greer movies are the bomb.com
For $1 ahead of time (WOW) and $2, cash, at the door, this is a steal. You can see most popular movies that you may have just missed in the theater. I recently saw Moana, and I about cried at its beauty and cheapness.
15. Book a study room, even if you aren't sure you will use it.
We're on a growing campus with a small library. If it is a peak exam time, book a study room far enough in advance to get a good one, with a whiteboard. Even if you end up not needing it for the whole time, or at all, at least you won't be fighting for a table. Side note: if you ever forget expo markers, get some from the info desk downstairs.
16. Printing may seem tricky, but it really isn't.
I strongly remember pacing the library floor not knowing how to print, but never fear, you will not have to look as lost as me. All you have to do is login to a computer, any of them, with your App State username and password, print the document, type in that username again, and head to a print station. At the station, swipe your App Card, click the document, click print, and voila.
17. Your App Card is your life.
^^ Me to my App Card every time I lose it, let someone borrow it, or leave it in my room on accident. There is no worse feeling than going to pay for your food and realizing your App Card is indeed not in your backpack or pocket. No need to wait around in your residence hall lobby; just remember that App Card.
18. Add yourself to Boone Student Beeper and App State Classifieds.
These two pages are your one stop shop for everything App State. You will get unnecessary notifications if a Facebook friend posts in one, but you will always be up to speed. If something happens in Boone, chances are it will end up somewhere on here.
There is no true way to be completely prepared for this first, wonderful stop into some of the best years of your life, but hopefully this could make things a little less stressful or awkward.