1. One word: hills
Get ready for your legs to be in the best shape they've ever been, whether you were planning on it or not. Seriously, invest in some good walking shoes — you're gonna need 'em.
2. Never leave for class without checking the weather
New England weather is unpredictable, so be prepared for absolutely anything. It's totally possible for it to be bright and sunny outside when you're heading to class, but by the time you get out, there very well may be a monsoon happening.
3. Walk to all the buildings your classes are in BEFORE the first day of class
URI Kingston is a pretty big campus, so be sure to familiarize yourself with your buildings before the first day. There will be people around to guide you in the right direction the first week or so, but that last thing you want is to ask someone for directions and find out you're a 15-minute walk away from a class that starts in five minutes.
4. Dorms are tiny, so keep them clean
It will make your life a heck of a lot easier and more organized if you do.
5. Not all dining halls are created equal
Each dining hall suits different needs, so choose wisely. Butterfield (AKA "Butt," home of the famous "Butt Nugs") is a fan-favorite for its variety of options, but beware: it's only open on weekdays. Hope is also revered by many, and unlike Butt, it's open every day. Mainfare is a bit of an underdog, but its consistency in offerings puts it a step above the rest when you're looking for something tasty and reliable.
6. Take advantage of office hours
Especially in a lecture course. Office hours are wildly underutilized and can be the difference between passing or failing a class. The second you start to fall behind or get lost in a class, go to office hours. Not only will it clarify concepts for you, but it allows you to build meaningful relationships with your professors and shows them that you're serious about your learning.
7. GET! INVOLVED! ON! CAMPUS!
I know you're sick of hearing this, but listen to the people telling you! Join Greek Life, or a club for your major, or Student Senate, or something totally out of your comfort zone — just get involved. First Night is an awesome way to check out some of the organizations on campus. Take it from someone who didn't get involved (and wishes now that she did): it's going to be a boring and lonely four years if you expect friends and fun to just come and find you.
8. Ladies, never go to parties alone
URI is infamous for its party scene, and whether you participate in it or not, never ever let a girl go to a party alone.
9. Your roommate may not end up being your best friend, and that's OK
Living in close quarters with a stranger is going to be a whirlwind of an experience, and it may not always be a positive one. You're going to have to keep the lines of communication open and be willing to compromise if you want to have a successful dorm experience.
10. If you're a commuter, be prepared to leave for class two hours early
Parking at URI is...scarce, to say the least. If you're not looking to fight to the death for a good parking spot (AKA one that's not a 20-minute walk away from your building), you better be getting to campus by 8AM every morning.
11. Get off campus and explore everything Lil' Rhody has to offer
URI is located in the heart of one of the most scenic areas in Rhode Island. Grab some clamcakes and chowder from Iggy's, an ice cream cone from Brickley's, and head on down the gorgeous Narragansett Seawall for an afternoon.
12. BYOP: Bring Your Own Printer
Having your own printer is about a million times more convenient than having to make a trip to another building just to print something. Plus, printing costs 10 cents per page — when you're printing out eight-page papers each week, it adds up pretty quick.
13. Meet Sakai and e-Campus, your two new best/worst friends
These are the portals URI uses for classes and student records. Sakai is where your professors post resources, assignments, and announcements, and e-Campus is where you register for classes and can find all your academic and financial information. And, like every other piece of technology, be prepared for tech issues and site glitches.
14. Keep track of your student ID
Every other day, someone is posting in the "Class of 20XX" Facebook groups with lost and found IDs. Keep yours in a safe place, because you'll need it for food, printing, purchasing textbooks, and more (but never, ever wear your lanyard around your neck — in the words of Regina George, "it's social suicide").
15. There's always something happening on campus
There are always student organizations providing entertainment for students on the quad or elsewhere around campus, and the Ryan Center brings in some top-notch talent every year. This school year alone, URI has hosted Migos, Bill Nye, Whoopi Goldberg, Woody Harrelson, Khalid, and more.
16. The emporium can provide you with (almost) anything you may need
The Kingston Emporium, located right next to the Alumni Center, is full of businesses that can fulfill any need you may have that can't be filled on campus, including cheap places to eat, a CVS, a yoga studio, hair and nail places, and more.
17. Towing cars is administration's favorite activity
If you think you can get away with parking illegally on or around campus...haha, oh, you are so very, very mistaken.
18. Never leave your stuff unattended in the library
Don't worry, there are neon signs posted around the lib reminding you of this, too. But seriously, laptop theft is a big trend on campus, so be mindful of what you're doing.
19. Be smart, be kind, and have fun
People always say that college will be the best four years of your life, but I think that's totally and completely wrong. Your college life is what you choose to make of it — if you want it to be great, you have to be the one to make it great. Take advantage of new opportunities, meet people who come from different walks of life than you, and don't be afraid of failing.
Now, keep these words of wisdom in mind as you go out there and slay your first year as a ram! Welcome to Rhody!