July 7, 2016

Orientation Tips - What to expect, what to pack, and what not to wear

It's summer, which means... it's orientation time! During orientation, you'll familiarize yourself with the campus with the help of orientation advisors (basically, tour guides), register for classes, learn about university policies, and (hopefully) make some new friends.

General Advice and Random Tibits:
  1. REGISTER FOR AN EARLY ORIENTATION DATE. REGISTER FOR AN EARLY ORIENTATION DATE. REGISTER FOR AN EARLY ORIENTATION DATE!!! You might not feel like going to orientation right after your high school graduation ceremony, but register for the earliest orientation date possible. At orientation, you register for classes, and classes fill up quickly. If you go to orientation at the end of July, all the good professors will be taken, and you'll be left with the bad professors and 8 am classes. (I realize that you already picked your orientation date at this point in time, but try to move it up if you can.)
  2. Try to make a class schedule ahead of time. On the second day of orientation, students are split into groups based on major, and a staff member will help the group of students choose and register for classes. Although you are split off into small groups, you don't get that much individualized attention. Each major has its own set of requirements, and if you are clueless, the process can really fly over your head. Try to read up on your major's four year plans and degree requirements ahead of time. You don't need to know your exact schedule, but at least figure out which electives you are interested in and which classes you must take your first year (English 101, for example). A little research beforehand will pay off a long way!
  3. Create your university email and directory ID at home. You will need a directory ID to log into secure wifi while on campus, and you also need a directory ID to register for classes.
  4. If you are attending a two day orientation, you'll stay overnight in a dorm room. Bedsheets aren't provided, but AC is. (Or at least when I went to orientation, two summers ago, there was AC in the dorm hosting all the orientation students.) The suffering starts later.
  5. If you haven't already, send your AP scores to UMD. It will make registering for classes much easier. 
About the packing list...

July 1, 2016

Date Ideas at/near UMD

I asked a ton of people for date ideas in/around UMD. I asked both singles and couples, and here's what they told me:

#8 - Swedish Meatballs at Ikea

  1. Restaurants on Rt. 1 - Jason's Deli and Blaze Pizza aren't too expensive. TenRen's is a fun one that's a bit more expensive but still doable for a college student. 
  2. Frozen Yogurt at Tutti Frutti - also near Lot 1
  3. Ice cream at the Dairy
  4. Bring your own picnic, eat at McKeldin mall
  5. Adele's - especially at the end of the semester when you have extra dining points
  6. For a night in, order Insomnia Cookies and watch Netflix together
  7. Go to the diner together - I asked a bunch of single people for date ideas, and this is by far their most popular answer. Maybe that's why they're still single? :) In their defense, it is economical though.
  8. Swedish meatballs at IKEA - Bus 137 goes from STAMP to IKEA on Saturdays. Schedule here. It's about a 30 minute ride. Try out the furniture while you're there.
  9. For a fancy meal that's still close to campus - the Marriott. There's a nice restaurant there, and it'd be a good place for an anniversary dinner when you're too busy to go into DC. (The flatbreads are yummy there.)

INAG110 vs COMM107 - What's the difference?

All students must take one FSOC (Fundamental Studies - Oral Communications) class in order to graduate. There's a variety of courses you can choose from to satisfy this general education requirement. The two most common courses students take to fulfill this GenEd are INAG110 and COMM107.

I only took INAG110, so I can't speak firsthand for the difference between these two classes. But the general opinion is that both courses cover the same material, but INAG110 has less busy work and is easier than COMM107.

(Bonus Tip: Amy Fisher is an awesome lecturer! Take her if you decide to take INAG110.)

THET285 also fulfills the FSOC requirement, and I heard it's fun. There aren't many sections available though, so you have to be lucky to nab one of the coveted spots. If the section you want to register for is already full, you can try emailing the instructor to see if he/she can add a spot in the class for you.