freshman year

Freshmen Year Checklist: 10 Things You Should Do at URI

June 5, 2015 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges, Events, Top 10 Lists

Welcome to URI

Welcome to URI

You’re finally moved in to your dorm room, most of your stuff is unpacked…now what? Well, at the University of Rhode Island there are countless ways to get involved. From becoming involved through clubs or organizations, to taking trips off-campus and getting to know the surrounding area. Take a look at this freshmen year checklist: 10 most interesting activities you should do as a freshman once you have officially deemed yourself a Rhody Ram!

1. This will probably be one of the most hectic and chaotic nights of your freshmen year, but you’ll be happy you went. The first night all freshmen move in, URI hosts a ‘show and tell’ of all the clubs and organizations on-campus right at the memorial union known as First Night. Not only will you get a sense of how you can get involved, but it will make it easy for you to meet other freshmen. They’ll have some food, fun games, and even have booths set up to answer any of your questions. It’s definitely a night you won’t want to miss!

2. Have you got an interest for writing? Take a look at the student-run newspaper, The Good Five-Cent Cigar. Are you interested in video games? Well, URI has a club for you, too! Were you a part of your high schools student senate and would like to continue being part of a team designated to make decisions for the student body? URI’s Student Senate seems like the right place for you! No matter what your interests are, every university offers clubs and other organizations allowing all students to become involved. Don’t be shy and attend one of their meetings, clubs are always looking to expand their team.

Rhody Ram

Rhody Ram

3. We’ve always wanted to be those students filling up a basketball arena supporting our college basketball team. Man, did those kids on SportsCenter look like they were having the time of their lives. Truthfully, not every university is going to make it to the finals, but that’s okay! Part of the college experience, is attending sports events that may or may not end up how we ant them to. At the University of Rhode Island, the student body has begun supporting its evolving Men’s Basketball Team. In past years, games have begun to be sold out because of the school spirit. Get a group of your friends together, buy some Rhody gear and support your fellow Rhody Rams at any sporting event; could be baseball, hockey, football or soccer. Rhody Rhody Rhody!

4. Let’s face it, most of us didn’t come to college to join a Division 1 football team (that’s alright!).  Most universities offer a fun and competitive alternative known as intramural sports. From flag football to basketball and even indoor soccer, at URI you and your friends can start a team all your own. You’ll compete against other student teams and who knows, you may be good enough to be named champion!

Oozeball Tournament

Oozeball Tournament

5. A day dedicated to friendly competition, volleyball, and some dirt. Did I mention an entire field covered in mud? URI’s Annual Oozeball tournament welcomes all students looking to have some fun. Hosted at the beginning of the Spring semester, this tournament challenges you to bring out your inner kid. As a former player, I have a few suggestions for those brave enough to get a team together: Wear clothes you plan on disposing off, tape your shoes to your fee, bring your A-game and don’t be afraid to get down and dirty. The best part is getting to dive around in the mud!

 6. Maybe you came to school with no intention of joining Greek Life – most of those involved in sororities and fraternities probably said the same thing. It’s a difficult transition to make, but experiencing Greek Life may offer a lot more than you had ever expected. “Rush’ is a chance for you to meet each individual organization. The Greek community embodies strong leadership, personal growth and service. There’s a lot to learn from these leaders and what better way to stay involved then to become one. Besides who doesn’t want to make some friends and have a good time?

 7. I won’t lie, but there will be days that URI’s dining halls will no longer satisfy you’re cravings. You’ve had enough Butt Nuggets to last you the rest of your life and the wraps from Hope will have gotten to be boring. Have no fear! URI’s Emporium, located at the top of campus offers a variety of quick and easy foods. From burgers and pizzas to Chinese food and calzones; this place has it all. If there’s one recommendation I do have, it’s to encourage you to take a walk over to I-Zone. You’re going to have those weekend cravings at 2am when you get home from a party and you’ll thank me for this later, but give them a call and order a nice Chicken Parm Calzone for yourself. It’ll be the greatest yet messiest, but most delicious decision you’ll make at URI your freshmen year.

8. You’ve had a busy week and you’re just about ready to give up on everything (well don’t). URI has got this great little spot down in Narragansett that will offer your some down time. Whoever invented the Narragansett Seawall deserves a medal because it has offered students a place to just relax for years! There’s not much to say about it, unless you’ve taken a trip down there. Along the way you can pick up some ice cream or a smoothie and just go sit on the stone wall and get your thoughts back in order or even just enjoy the beautiful spring sky that Rhode Island is known for.

Iggy's Doughboys and Chowder House

Iggy’s Doughboys and Chowder House

9. Now that you’ve gone to the Seawall, it’s important to embark on another Rhode Island tradition! Iggy’s Doughboys and Chowder House offers fresh seafood and some sweet treats. Their Lobster Roll is absolutely to die for a long with their Fish & Chips. Have a sweet tooth? They’re Doughboy’s are perfectly fried and topped with sugar that will have you coming back for more. Whenever the weather gets warm, you’ll find a line of URI students waiting to get their teeth into some of Iggy’s fresh seafood.

10. It can’t be the best year of your life yet if you haven’t gotten the chance to have some Brickley’s Ice Cream. Rhode Island’s greatest creation has to have been this homemade ice cream. From fruity flavors to chocolate galore, you’ll find the perfect kind for you. Let’s not forget about the warm and toasty waffle cone. There’s more than one Brickley’s in Rhode Island so don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of chances to try some unforgettable homemade ice cream.

Now that I’ve shared with you the freshmen year checklist: 10 things you should do at URI, I hope you’d consider getting involved in some of these activities. You’ll never be a college freshman again in your life so why not make the best of it today. Make those mistakes and learn from them, meet some great people and remember (or forget) those long night’s!

Wreaking Havoc Freshman Year

April 6, 2015 in Alive Campus, Campus Life

Freshman year is the time to embrace the freedom of living away from home for the first time. Most of us will choose to stay in a dorm the first year, which results in so many crazy experiences that we would all love to someday relive- half of them of which we can’t remember from being too drunk on those extra wild nights. During my freshman year, I went out with my roommate and close friends almost every night of the week. Let’s say it eventually caught up to me, but I’ve assembled so many memories from that one year I would never want to take back.

Dorm Life

Dorm Life

There’s one night stands out to me in particular. My close friends and I decided to go to one of the local bars in Tallahassee, Potbelly’s, on a typical Thursday. We pregamed in my dorm room with disgusting Four Lokos and stumbled our way out the door, trying our best to act normal as we passed the workers at the front desk. Beware: the workers are usually out to snag the freshmen that are out of control. (That was us.) There’s something all too obvious about a freshman getting a soda out of the vending machine at 11PM all dressed up on a Saturday night. Only one thing comes to mind- the soda is to be used as a chaser, not a refreshing beverage. After successfully passing the workers, we decided to drunkenly run to the bar in our 5-inch heels and short skirts instead of taking a cab. It took us 20 minutes to get there, but we barely noticed with our free spirit attitudes. Cover charge was $10, so in the hopes of not having to pay, we hopped the fence when the bouncers weren’t looking and asked some random seniors leaving the bar for their 21 and over bands. We were only 18 at the time, so this was the only option if we wanted to drink without getting thrown out. The night started off perfect, as we got the bands and successfully hopped the fence. It quickly turned into pitchers on pitchers of rum and coke- so many pitchers that we demolished within seconds.

We danced, met a ton of new people, and eventually made our way home with our new group of friends, by again, running. No cab, just running. I thought it was a good idea to present my dorm room as the new hangout spot for “all my cool new friends.” Once we got to the dorm with our Jimmy John’s subs in hand, (food stops are always a necessity at 1AM) we kept the party going in the dorm and invited some of our other friends to hang out and keep drinking. The RA continuously told us to tone it down with loud knocks on my door, which resulted in quick shoves of vodka under my bed before responding, but we laughed it off and knew she wouldn’t actually taken any kind of action to get us in trouble. About 20 of us played every drinking game imaginable, from Kings to Flip Cup in a stuffy dorm room the size of a walk-in closet. My roommate’s trunk was used as a table for the games. As the games became more intense and everyone became drunker, we decided it was a good idea to run around the campus like baboons screaming. You know those obnoxious drunk people you can’t stand at 2 in the morning when you’re trying to get your beauty sleep? That was us. We were the ninth floor obnoxious students who consistently turned down ice cream dorm socials for vodka outings instead. There was no reasoning to any of our decisions at this point. Our running around the campus eventually led us to run along the sidewalk of the main street of Tallahassee, Tennessee Street, to Chickfila. We wanted to indulge in even more food. Without a car, we walked through the drive-thru and got multiple impatient beeps and stares from those who actually had a car and needed the 3Am pick-me-up after the library. But we successfully got our food from walking through the drive-thru, and again, ran back home to our dorm.

Beware of Resident Assistants

Beware of Resident Assistants

When we finally called it a night and went to sleep, I noticed one of my close friends didn’t walk into her room, but instead, walked into the dorm kitchen. I shrugged it off too drunk to care, and quickly fell asleep to find out the next morning that she slept on the kitchen floor all night. The thought of the disgusting, smelly kitchen floor was appealing to her drunken mind, which still baffles us to this day. Laughing uncontrollably, I woke her up. She confusedly glanced at me and quickly ran her way over to the bathroom to throw up the alcohol that was still in her body from the night before (or morning). This was an old box of Franzia red wine that we kept in our fridge for “emergencies.” The bathroom looked like a murder scene from the amount she threw up, and of course, decided not to clean it. The poor cleaning ladies would not be happy when they found it later that day. An hour later, I found one of my close guy friends asleep on the stairs leading up to the 10th floor, laying in the the most uncomfortable position imaginable. Why don’t my friends like to sleep in their own beds?

When we all finally gathered ourselves, we made our way down to the dining hall to recover our bodies with greasy breakfast and talk about the events of the night we could and couldn’t remember. We usually worked together to put the pieces together. The conversations usually went along the lines of, “Oh my gosh, you hooked up with this ugly guy at the bar,” and “Oh, I wish we didn’t eat all that food after drinking that much alcohol. The freshman 15 is all too real.” Despite our pounding headaches, obnoxious complaints, and complete lack of sleep, we would do it all again that next night, starting with four lokos once again in our one and only pregame spot- my dorm.

The dorm will become your official pre-game spot

The dorm will become your official pre-game spot

Let’s say that several of these nights occurred throughout my first semester of college. And I love that I can look back and laugh over them for simply surviving, as I now dedicate most of my Saturday nights to papers and studying. I’ve learned it’s important to have loads of fun your first year, because the real deal with classes and work will hit hard for the subsequent three years. Freshman year is for wild nights and immense amounts of fun. Is there something you’ve always wanted to crazily experience, but never got the chance to while living at home? Do it your first year, especially when you live in a dorm. You will most likely be located close to the bars and meet all different types of people that’ll become your random drinking buddies when in need. Take advantage while you can!

Top 5 Time-Wasters In College

July 17, 2014 in Academics, Campus Life

 

Wasting Time

Wasting Time

During your freshman year of college, you’ll start to realize how precious time is. More than anything, you’ll come to realize that you never seem to have quite enough of it. Ever feel like you have no time? These just might be the top five reasons why:

  1. Netflix. It’s unbelievable how much time college students waste on Netflix. Netflix has just about every movie, the good and the so-bad-it’s-laughable. Almost every time someone I knew had “free time” (read: they had homework to do but just didn’t want to do it), they decided to spend that time on Netflix, catching up on a series or watching movies like LOL or Sharktopus. But, soon enough, you find that you’ve wasted much more time than you intended to. Please, step away from the Netflix and get some work done. It’ll be good for you.
  2. Games. Cue the 2048/Flappy Bird/ etc. frenzies that have captivated many people over the past year and have accounted for an approximate 70% reduction in productivity. We all know the games I’m talking about. Luckily, I was able to avoid the frenzy, but some of us weren’t so lucky. I know tons of people who turned to attempting to beat 2048 instead of doing work. Those same people had so much homework to do because of it and didn’t have time to do anything fun later on. Don’t be those people.
  3. Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed quizzes and articles are the absolute best and, individually, they don’t take that long to complete or look through. But once you get sucked into Buzzfeed, there’s no coming back out. All it takes is that initial quiz to get you started. After that, it’s game over. All you wanted to do was find out how lazy you were, now, after eight quizzes, you realize that you are super lazy, you’re a rusty hook, you’re soul mate’s name will be Matt, and the sandwich that best represents you is a meatball sub. No, I’m not talking from experience…. The point is, Buzzfeed is really entertaining, but it’s so easy to lose track of time on.
  4. Youtube. It starts with the one funny video, but then you have to watch another one. And then you might as well watch every video ever made by your favorite Youtube stars. And don’t get me started on the related videos on the side that are just as enticing. Youtube is home to videos as short as a few seconds to as long as several hours, and everywhere in between. I’ve been known to watch funny animal videos with times that average around five minutes each. When you watch five or more of those, the time really starts to add up.
  5. Facebook. Facebook really is a bottomless pit. It can be useful when it comes to delivering news you want to hear about. It’s a great way to keep in touch with old friends, let your friends know what you’re up to, or find out what your friends are up to. But it’s also where a lot of people’s time seems to go. People are constantly checking Facebook for notifications, friend requests, etc.

Well, there you have it! If you didn’t know where all of your time was going before, hopefully this article has shed some light on the ugly truth.

We All Waste Time When We Should Be Working

We All Waste Time When We Should Be Working

Virginia Military Institute’s Top 10 Most Interesting Activities You Will do as a Freshman (or in our case a Rat)

July 1, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges, Events, Top 10 Lists

At the Virginia Military Institute, your freshman year is far from fun. You will have an experience unlike anyone else at a civilian college but it will be an experience you will never forget nor trade for anything in the world—I know I wouldn’t.

1.      Matriculation Day/Hell Week

Matriculation day is your first day. You receive your uniforms, move your stuff into your room, say a heartfelt goodbye to your family, and then march up towards the barracks to the sound of a bagpipe band, thus marking the beginning of your week of hell. Your first week as a rat is known as hell week and for a very good reason. You arrive a week before all of the upperclassman do in order to be instructed on how to conduct yourself during the school year. Your hair is immediately cut off, guys get a buzz and the girls get a short bob. Your 18 hour days are filled with physical training (PT), rifle manual instruction, instructions on how to set up your room, learning the rules of the institute, and receiving your uniform items. This is the beginning of the end.

VMI matriculation day marchoffVMI matriculation day marchoff

2.      The Crucible

At the end of hell week, you are put to the test to see if you are even worthy to start the school year. The last day of hell all of the rats go through what we like to call the crucible. The crucible is a day filled with challenging obstacles and harrowing feats. Once you have completed the crucible, you march up Superintendent’s hill (Supe’s hill) to the sound of the Regimental Band and into the barracks where all of the upperclassman are moving into their rooms. Thus begins, the academic year.

Rat Crucible

Rat Crucible

3.      The Charge at New Market

In September of your rat year, you participate in what is known as the charge at New Market. Virginia Military Institute is known for fighting in the Civil War Battle known as New Market. As an entire rat mass, you visit the battle field, go through the museum, take the Cadet Oath and then charge with rifle and bayonet across the battlefield replicating the battle scene. This is a very special tradition at our school and one which signifies a step to becoming a cadet.

New Market Charge

New Market Charge

4.      Visiting the National D-Day Memorial

In the Fall, the entire rat mass goes to visit the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA. This is a worthwhile experience and one I found to be quite fascinating. This memorial is honoring the soldiers who fought on D-Day. The statues and monuments are thrilling to look at but really make you step back and appreciate those that served and who are currently serving now.

National D-Day Memorial

National D-Day Memorial

5.      Rat Olympics

In November, the rats participate in an event known as Rat Olympics. Throughout the semester, each Tuesday and Thursday after classes the rats partake in activities known as Rat Challenge. Some of the activities include rock climbing, rappelling, pugil sticks, and a bunch of obstacle courses. This gets them ready for Rat Olympics. There are nine companies of rats and they compete against each other in order to win Rat Olympics and everyone does at least one activity. It is a great bonding experience with your classmates and also a bit of a stress reliever.

Rat Olympics

Rat Olympics

6.      20 Mile March   

Also in November, before Thanksgiving break, all of the rats go on a 20 mile march. During my rat year, we were bussed 20 miles out from the New Market battlefield and then had to march the 20 miles there. Once we got there, we had to charge across the battlefield again just like earlier in the semester. It is a very humbling moment and one that really makes you appreciate the amazing things your body can do, even when it is exhausted. Unfortunately, the past two years the rats did not get that privilege of marching to the battlefield on account of the costs of transportation but they still marched the 20 miles at a different location.

20 Mile March

20 Mile March

7.      Sweat Parties/RDC (Rat Disciplinary Committee) Workouts

As a rat, throughout the semester you will get a chance to go to many parties unlike any you’ve ever been too. This type of party is the only party you’ll be attending your rat year. A sweat party is a term for a strenuous 15 minute workout you receive by upperclassmen in which you will be drenched in sweat by the end of the workout. These parties happen every few weeks while you are a rat. In addition, RDC workouts are somewhat the same thing. They are rigorous workouts each weekend that last a couple of hours long. You will not be in this great of shape again.

Sweat Party

Sweat Party

8.      Breakout

This is the best and probably the most exciting event you will do your rat year at V.M.I. Breakout is the momentous occasion where if you survive the day, you will no longer be called a rat and instead a fourth classman and cadet. This is when the entire rat mass is finally recognized as a class—but you have to get through the day first. Your day starts off around 5 in the morning when you are woken up by the sound of canons and gunfire. The rest of the day consists of harrowing physical feats. You are broken down to the point of exhaustion. At the end of the day, once you have completed all of the events you get to go to dinner with your senior mentor and then do a yell for your class in barracks. It will be one of the best days of your life—if you can make it.

Breakout

Breakout

 

9.      Jonathan Daniels Movie

In March, not too long after breaking out there is a memorial for an alumnus from the class of 1961. His name is Jonathan Daniels. The fourth classmen get to watch a documentary about him and what he did for the Civil Rights Movement. Jonathan Daniels was down in Alabama participating in a voter rights demonstration in 1965. He was arrested and put in jail because of being involved. Shortly after he got out he was at a local store with two young African American teenagers. A man came up aiming his shotgun at one of them. Daniels pushed her to the ground to protect her and he was killed instantly. The institute honors him every year for his selfless and heroic act.

Jonathan Daniels

Jonathan Daniels

10.  Fourth Class FTX (Field Training Exercise)

In May, once finals are over, all of the fourth classman go on a field training exercise in the George Washington National Forest. Throughout the Spring semester, you participate in New Cadet Military Training (NCMT). You learn skills such as how to shoot a rifle, make a fire, land navigation, and basically how to survive in the wild.  These skills are put to the test during FTX. You are put in groups of about five or six with one person as the leader. You are dropped off in the forest for a weekend. You are given a map, compass, the check points, and one Meal-Ready-to-Eat (M.R.E.). You have to build your own fire, which is extremely important because it gets really cold at night, find your way to the check points throughout the day, and avoid the enemy forces, which are upperclassmen on the lookout to take what little food you have. This is another good bonding experience with your classmates and one in which you learn things that might come in handy someday.

Fourth Class FTX

Fourth Class FTX

Top 3 Pieces of Advice That Helped Me Freshman To Sophomore Year

June 27, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Career

Class of 2016 Orientation

Then: Class of 2016 Orientation

‘Don’t base your experience off of other people’s experiences’ – One of my Peer Mentors at orientation

The first year of college isn’t easy or glamorous, no matter what anyone tells you. There is a lot of transitioning and getting used to. There are many obstacles that you can’t plan for.

I grew up in a small town and went to school with the same kids from preschool and elementary to high school. I was never ‘the new kid,’ nor was I forced to make new friends. I’d sort of been in my own shell, besides being around close friends and family. Needless to say, I wasn’t involved; I stayed in my room often, and went home or saw my boyfriend on weekends. I had a few friends, but I wasn’t as comfortable as when I was at home. I saw everyone around me having fun and talking about how much they loved Stonehill, but I couldn’t call it home yet, and I didn’t love it. Thoughts of transferring went through my head. Was this the right choice? I later realized that it was. All I needed to do was give it more of a chance, and actually put myself out there. It couldn’t have been more right for me, but it took time to figure that out. I became comfortable with being myself around people, joined clubs, and now I couldn’t picture myself anywhere else.

Give your new situation a chance. Don’t transfer after only the first semester at a new school. Entering sophomore year after the summer, I felt so much more confident about myself and my friends, that transferring would be unthinkable. You chose your school for a reason, and you might like your transfer school even less.

‘Don’t worry so much about your major, but think about a career goal, and focus on the skills that will get you that job in the future’ – My cousin, a Stonehill professor

Although I always liked English and was good at it, I couldn’t confidently choose it as a major right away. I was very unsure of what I wanted to do, and thought of it as a monumental decision. Others had declared right away; when they applied or as soon as they came to school.  Being undeclared, I felt a little lost.

My first year, I took some required courses and allowed myself to experiment with things I never had a chance to try like anthropology and journalism. I loved journalism, and even though I was a bit soft spoken, I really liked interviewing people and finding stories. I thought long and hard about a career. I didn’t want to choose just journalism as a minor, but I wanted more. I thought about editing and publishing. I loved both reading and writing, and I was itching to be an editor on a magazine at school.

This exploration and thinking eventually led me to creating my own major through interdisciplinary studies, besides declaring English. My professors showed me that creating a major with English, creative writing, journalism, and graphic design classes will give me the skills I need for the editing, publishing, and journalism fields. Now I’m only taking classes that I want and doing what I love.

I declared both my majors in my sophomore year, so don’t rush into picking a major. There are a lot of people who choose something they might like, know little about it, and then end up changing it. It’s easier to go into it skimming the surface of different fields, and getting a feel for every opportunity. Exploring will give you a lot more insight about yourself, and what you do and don’t like. Thinking of a career will help you decide what majors will give you the skills you need to get there.

‘Write every day, all the time, just keep writing’ – My journalism professor

This may seem obvious since I am an English/Interdisciplinary Editing and Publishing double major, but there are so many different types of writing, and most of them are challenging. Practicing and growing are some of the keys to success. While you may be thinking this last piece of advice doesn’t apply to you, writing and communicating effectively truly is crucial to every field, no matter what. Numerous jobs are always looking for great writers and speakers, so keep that in mind along the way. Just because you’re a math major, doesn’t mean people won’t expect you to write well and be able to explain yourself. Writing has not only helped me to grow as a professional, but also as a person.

These are only three bits of advice that have stuck with me over my past two years at Stonehill, but they sure aren’t the only pieces of advice I’ve received. Words people have spoken to me and things I’ve learned have helped to shape my story and my experience. I hope that you read these and can learn a little something, and apply them to your experience as well. The only direction we can take this advice is up.

Now: Confident in Sophomore Year

Now: Confident in Sophomore Year