5 Things To Learn BEFORE Coming To Indiana University

I feel like I really have this college thing down, after all it's my last year so it's probably about time.  I have a secret though--I was a totally incompetent freshman.  I arrived in Indiana having no idea where Bloomington was actually located within the state, how to use my meal points to avoid starvation, where or how to buy books, or even how to take a bus to get to the bookstore.  My utter lack of college know-how made for an incredibly memorable (and hungry) first few days of college; I got lost going to the library, ended up carrying nine textbooks in plastic shopping bags two miles in the scorching heat back allllll the way to Briscoe, and wandered around SPEA for 45 minutes looking for my Kelley class (who knew buildings were connected?! What's that all about?!)  Looking back, there were a few things that would have been great to know beforehand, both for those couple first days and the entire year...

  1. The bus is your friend.  While occasionally late, it will never inexplicably take you off route and into some dark abyss therefore making you tardy for class.  Coming to terms with this fact took a long time, long enough that I walked three miles every morning from Briscoe to Swain Hall just to sleep through my finite class at 8:00 AM--Heaven forbid I be late to a class I fully intend to sleep through.  Moral of the story: Trust the Bus.  There is a handy website and app with maps, bus tracking, etc.  Download the app, use it, feel smart.  Also, don't sleep through finite.
  2. Discover El Bistro.  Yes, the name El Bistro is a cultural blaspheme, but the food is good.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't have a problem with the cafeteria food here, however the burritos at El Bistro: Epic. And if burritos aren't your thing, you can get a sandwich, pastries, nachos, or better yet, a giant waffle topped with ice cream.
  3. Learn to parallel park.  If you have a car, this is a mandatory skill, as parking is drastically insufficient for the number of people on campus.  I still haven't learned how, and it's still a total pain.
  4. There is so much free stuff.  Go to baseball games, soccer games, track meets, productions, movies, etc.  The list of stuff to do that costs absolutely nothing just keeps going.
  5. You can order books ONLINE.  This was an epic discovery I didn't make until sophomore year... I'm slow sometimes okay?!  Seriously though, they package them all up for you and all you have to do is pick them up.  It's painless, just the walk back to wherever you live.

Now, this is not a comprehensive list of things to aid in conquering your first year--but they are certainly things that would have helped me in my first semester or two at Indiana.  What do you wish you had known before diving into your freshman year?

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