HELLO, INCOMING FRESHMAN OF JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY!!!
You are only two weeks away from moving to the best campus in the United States of America!!! The next couple of weeks will be stressful, exciting, and bittersweet (if they haven't been already). So, here are some "Duke Dog Deets" to get you even more hyped for your first year of college!
1. 1787 Orientation Week will literally be the best week of the year.
Ribbet. Ribbet. 1787 Orientation Week, more commonly known as "FROG Week" (my sincerest apologies to the Orientation Office), is TRULY going to be one for the books. This is the week of forming your first college friendships, taking in all the opportunities you have the next four years, and living your best "remember when" stories.
2. The Quad.
The Quad is a classic symbol of the wonderful James Madison University. Enjoy the scenery on a warm spring day. Or in the rain. Or the snow. Or hail. Whatever suits your fancy. No matter the weather, the Quad is still PERFECT. So, sit back + relax!
3. Actually read your textbooks.
"Wow, Ash, thanks for killing the vibe." FALSE. I'm saving the vibe because nothing is worse than slacking the first semester because you want to go out every night, or just ignore your assignments because that's how you got through high school, and ending up on academic probation (yes, that's a thing) your second semester. Then, having to tell your friends that you can't go out because your grades are going down the drain.
4. To party or not to party?
JMU is a college campus; if you're looking for a party, you can find a party. But honestly, there is no correct answer to this question; do what YOU are comfortable with! Just know that not every party looks like a scene from Animal House and nights in can be surprisingly entertaining.
5. Go to sporting events.
THREE letters (J-M-U), TWO words (GO DUKES!), ONE unforgettable good time! I cannot stress enough how amazing our athletic programs are! SOFTBALL, VOLLEYBALL, LACROSSE, FOOTBALL, the list goes on and on of our champion-level performance. Not only do you get to see our fellow Dukes kick butt, you get to create memories with the proudest and rowdiest fan base in Virginia.
6. If none of your friends want to go, go anyway.
Even an infinite amount of exclamation points and clapping emojis could not emphasize this enough. DO NOT LET OTHER PEOPLE NOT WANTING TO GO TO FUN EVENTS KEEP YOU FROM GOING. Meet new Dukes, embrace first moments, and make your college experience the best it can be.
7. Get your gear ready.
Y'all, we have a KILLER school to show off!!! Nothing is better than being on vacation (in VA, another state, or another country) and hearing "GO DUKES!" because someone saw the shirt you were wearing. So, show some love to yourself, the bookstore, Outpost, or whatever other hidden JMU gear plug you have, and flaunt our colors with pride! #treatyoself
8. Don't let "not having a car" hold you back.
Stick to the 3 U's:
Uber. Upperclassmen. University Transportation.
9. Don't be afraid of asking for help.
Let's be real here; college can be scary. With a new campus, 21,000 undergrads, hall bathrooms, no parents or guardians, college can be a new type of stress, and quite frankly, a tad overwhelming at times. BUT IT'S OKAY. One thing some of my friends and I wish we were told when we were incoming freshman is that it is perfectly fine to ask for help! You are not going to know everything. We are all Dukes, and it should be our goal to reach out to those who need help. So, help us help you, and don't hesitate to ask.
10. We have a 60:40 ratio.
You probably heard this on your tour, but you probably haven't heard what I like to call the "there are plenty of Dukes on the Quad" speech. So, here it goes...JMU is the home of gorgeous young women and handsome fellas. With that being said, you will meet people, you may even fall for them, you may even kiss them on the Kissing Rock, and therefore, sealing your fate, and living the rest of your lives together. BUT, it may not happen the first go round. Look at point #10 again, that, my friends, is a beacon of hope. With those numbers, there is definitely plenty of "Dukes on the Quad." Don't get caught up on the guy or girl that ignored your text, played with your mind, or broke your heart. THE ONE is out there, and he or she may just be on the campus that you will step on in two, short weeks.
11. WASH THE THREADS.
Yeah yeah, lame and obvious advice, but nothing will anger you like the laundry room. The quickest and easiest time to wash clothes are on weekdays/nights. And for the love of all that is good and Holy, set a timer, and get your clothes out of the washing machine in an appropriate amount of time.
12. Get to know the local cuisine.
Billy Jack's for Sticky Nuggs, Jack Brown's for burgers, Benny's for pizza, Brickhouse for wings, UREC for calorie burning.
13. There will be an anthem for your year.
For the Class of 2020, Closer, Starving, and Paris seemed to be the bops no one could run away from. You can try to run, but they will get you. So, just bite the bullet. Love it. Sing it. Download it. Embrace it. Because at some point during the year, you will find yourself in your dorm, the car, or at a party belting out that song that you cursed by the end of FROG Week.
14. Some of the best memories will be with the people in your dorm.
Yes, yes, these are hefty facts. Why? Because you can literally yell across the hall, or walk downstairs to see your best friends. Real friendships are made during the little moments. So, hang out in the middle of the hallway and talk for hours, have movie nights, have study groups, hold jam sessions in the bathroom, invite people out, just share life with these people.
15. JMU doesn't have time for stereotypes, and neither should you.
On a serious note, stereotypes need to be thrown out the window before we step foot on campus. The world can get ugly, but that does not mean that everyone in it is. So those "funny" accusations about a certain group need to go. JMU has been truly striving for increasing diversity, and we cannot do that until we knock down the stereotypes, and appreciate the differences around us.
16. Don't think you're "too cool for school" at JMaddy.
That was so sixth grade, and I think we all have some animosity towards our middle school years. So let's just skip that, and get to the point where we have fun without caring what others think of us.
17. Rose (ECL) or Carrier?
To quote my girl Nicki, "Pick a side, pick a side". Our libraries are FAB, but there is this on going debate about who the real OG is. For me, it is obviously Rose. Sleek design, resources for anatomy, gorgeous views of the Burg; it's an obvious choice. But there are some who argue about the classic look, convenient location, and endless collections of astounding literature at Carrier. So, which will you choose?
18. Keep traditions going, and don't be afraid to create your own
OH, THE LOVELY TRADITIONS OF JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY. The great thing about JMU is that it is an example of the classic college experience, AND it is a platform for new ideas! So, throw some streamers, hold open doors, yell "J-M-U" at tour groups countless times (Forreal, do this because our Student Ambassadors LOVEEEE it!), and take pictures with Duke Dog, but don't hesitate to start something new. Who knows? Maybe in a few years, it will be a classic JMU tradition!
19. Get to know maintenance, workers, and staff.
The JMaddy magic doesn't stop at the students! We have some amazing people who make our campus what it is. Get to know the selfless people who want only to see us smile. Herb at Chick-Fil-A, Gaynelle at E-hall, and Terry at Potomac; these are just a few of the sweetest people you will meet in your life, and they truly love to see us happy! Thank them, and show them some love, like they will do for you!
20. All the freshman residence halls have a plus and a minus.
There's no need in arguing about which dorms are better. (Even though I am slightly partial to Skyline, Go Poto!!) Every dorm area has an upside and a downside.
Lakeside: 50 million flights of stairs, but a gorgeous view of Bridgeforth Stadium.
Village: No AC, but the PERFECT location for accessing any part of campus in a decent amount of time.
Quad: Sometimes feel like you are living in a box, but your front yard is the Quad
Hillside: Can be a tight squeeze, but it is another convenient location on campus
Skyline: Some days can feel like you are on a ten-mile hike to the main campus, but very convenient location to E-hall and Festi.
So, y'all, #whosreallywinning?
21. BE YOURSELF.
Last but definitely not least, be yourself. Someone read your application and thought that you, IN YOUR TRUE SELF, were perfect for this institution. They believe that you can do well and make a difference at JMU. They saw you and saw something special. Don't let that go to waste.
There it is, Dukes! The countdown is on; get up and get ready! You are about to experience the best four years of your life!! GO DUKES!