Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sage Advice

Below is an email I sent to a first year starting at Wharton today. That's right, pre-term starts today which means almost exactly a year ago today, I was getting started. Since I have no time to post, I thought I'd share this with you. Bold text (if my email-to-blog translator can handle bold text) was added by my co-head writer, who is unaware of this blog's existence but is now its second official guest blogger.

Dear First Year,

My first Wharton email was from a guy I knew who was a second year, and it was full of sage advice like "drink more" and "don't go to class," so I figured I'd continue the tradition and impart a tiny bit of wisdom for your first month of school. I had a smart ass friend of mine contribute (in bold). Congrats on getting started. I'm more jealous than you can imagine. When I run into my classmates this summer, all we talk about is wanting to do our first year over again:

1. Don't go to class during preterm. Seriously. The exceptions are if you're trying to waive anything and math test prep if you need it. It's worth preparing for any tests you're going to take. But if you aren't waiving MGEC, Stat, or Accounting, those pre-term classes are a total waste of time. I thought I had to go. I was wrong. They start over at the beginning again in September. If you feel you have to class, and you're assigned to an 8am section, go to the 10am section instead. There's no consequences to that. That said, waive everything you can. It is much less painful to sit through nine hours of something useless than it is to sit through a whole quarter of it.

2. Go out all the time (note I didn't say 'Drink More', which is your choice) You'll meet a lot of people during pre-term, and once you get into class and school you'll tend to see your cohort all the time. Pre-term is the big free-for-all where everyone is mixing with everyone, so it's worth going to everything. I didn't have any furniture the first month, so I adhered to this to a ridiculous degree.

3. If you go to the foam party, don't bring your cell phone. You think you'll stay out of the foam, but you won't. Also be sure to get all your vaccines and have your will notarized before going.

4. The lunch truck called Hanan on 38th at Walnut is phenomenal, but a little slow. Their chicken platter with grape leaf may be my favorite lunch in Philly. The Mexi Cali lunch truck on Spruce (over by Vance) is fantastic, as well.

5. The gym is really nice and worth it in my opinion. You will, however, go there 85% less than you think, so make sure you're okay with paying $115 per workout before signing up.

6. Try to get away for Labor Day. A bunch of us got a house on the shore for the weekend, and it was a blast. It's a good break before the break that is school. Julie didn't invite me to this. I still hate her for it.

7. Post-labor day, Case Day and Diversity Day may be the biggest wastes of time ever. Also, there was a day where they go over the academic program. Huge waste. They put up photos of the professors you're going to have and say, "So and so is really popular" and then say nothing about the next one. You have no control over your core professors, so it's pointless. Career Boot Camp day was also a waste, looking ahead to second semester. But you have many more months to think about ditching that. Diversity Day's only high points were two of the moderators who were supposed to be teaching us about tolerance making racially insensitive remarks. We do still talk about that.

8. I met one of my very best friends at Wharton on my first day scavenger hunt team [we were on the same team?]. So don't skip out on the cheesy things just because they're cheesy. Do, however, make fun of them incessantly while doing them.

9. Try to get your Cohort to do Karaoke at Bonners one of the first Thursdays of school (you'll have a mailing list). It's an incredible way to bond. My cohort still does it once a month, and others always beg to join us. Pay a late night visit to the Rite Aid at 23rd and Walnut afterwards. It's amazing what hot pockets and Gatorade can do.

10. Don't run for social chair. It's a totally thankless job. The only cool cohort officership is historian because you get to mock people weekly in the Journal. Agreed.

11. The Starbucks at 36th and Walnut is "The Starbucks of the Damned". It takes 10 minutes to get a drink. Hit Dunkin' instead, or grab Starbucks in Center City. The bus drivers don't care if you drink on the bus. You can also use your nice hot cup of coffee as a weapon to throw at the bus when it speeds by you half empty and it's hot as all hell outside.

12. The trolley is faster than the bus, so if you live north of Walnut, I'd take the trolley.

13. Little Pete's is open 24 hours for late night muchies . It's at 17th between Locust and Walnut. Also noteworthy is Midtown 4 on Chestnut around 22nd. Again, I reference the Rite Aid on 23rd and Walnut.

14. Anjani likes it when you rub his bald spot. Try doing that on the first day welcome BBQ.

15. Don't buy your text books until you absolutely have to. There will be at least 100 people that go on day one to buy everything (85% of them will not speak English). Buy all the bulkpacks, but hold off on text books.

16. If you show up late to a class and someone from the program office is there to stop people from getting in late, turn around and leave. Do not start arguing with them about how you paid for the class and have a right to do what you want. No upside to this kind of behavior.


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