Hard alcohol is responsible for 90% of the embarrassing/regrettable things I've done
-Vodka, Whiskey, Rum and especially Tequila can, and will, kick your ass. One minute you’re slightly tipsy, swapping stories and laughing, generally having a good time. 30 minutes and four shots later you’re in a screaming match with your best friend, drunkenly texting your ex-girlfriend and vomiting on your neighbor’s porch. I’ve seen it happen more times than I can remember. Liquor may be quicker but there’s a lot less to fear if you just stick to beer.
-This one seems obvious but it’s so true I needed to include it. Professors will talk about what is going to be on tests in class, and listening is a lot easier than reading. (Unless your teacher is from Slovenia and has kindergartener’s grasp of English, in which case you’re screwed anyway.) Go to class, stay off Facebook, take occasional notes, (copying PowerPoint slides word-for-word does not constitute as taking notes and won’t help that much) and ask questions if you’re confused. Professors like students who act like they care and probably will be friendlier toward you when it comes to scoring the blue book. Following this template for success is harder than it sounds but it will cut down on your last-minute library time by at least 60%.
Intramural sports are awesome
-While you’re sitting in class paying attention it’s always nice to have something in the back of your mind to look forward to; maybe it’s the remnants of last night’s Dominos waiting in the fridge, maybe its tonight’s big intramural softball game against those douchebags two floors down, maybe it’s both. I’ve been on intramural teams that were ridiculously good, and teams that have been embarrassingly bad, and I had about the same amount of fun on each team. You make some friends, get a little exercise, and compete in your choice of the laundry list of sports UMD offers: Co-ed inner tube water polo, curling, bowling, ultimate frisbee, the list is pretty extensive. No matter your level of athleticism or competitiveness anyone can find a niche in the wonderful world of intramurals.
Free food is awesome
-In college I’ve devoured hot dogs, pizza, popcorn, sno-cones, cotton candy, egg rolls, cookies and many other deliciously free snacks on a regular basis. UMD is full of clubs and organizations that are always recruiting more members, and their most effective tool is the enticing lure of free food. “Oh yes, I am very interested in joining the International Yodeling Society. Is that pepperoni? Well let me grab three slices and we’ll talk.” Always keep an eye out for fliers around campus advertising free food, because every free slice of pizza you consume is one less meal you have to make (and pay for) yourself, or one less trip to the DC.
Lying and being a jerk to cops will just bring you more trouble
-Acting rude and openly contemptuous towards cops has never helped anyone. If they ask if you’ve been drinking and you’ve already played like 12 games of beer pong, don’t lie to them. They know. They dislike dealing with drunken college idiots just as much as you dislike dealing with hardheaded police. Treat them with respect and they will appreciate it, and probably go a lot easier on you. I lived in a crazy party house last year and we always made a point to cooperate with and be courteous to police and there wasn’t one minor handed out all year. Coincidence? Luck? I think not.
Don't throw parties in your dorm room
-Trust me; getting written up in the dorms is an infuriating, insanely expensive process. Every year there is a handful of ‘Night Advisors’ that are sadistic, sneaky, super-sleuths who will ruin your party and your night. If you’re gonna party, have a few pre-game drinks and get out before 11 o’clock. Or better yet, don’t drink at all in the dorms. Make a friend who lives in the apartments or off campus. Just don’t let those power-tripping nerds win.
Duluth is a beautiful city
-You chose to attend college in one of the coldest places on earth. What were you thinking? Before winter’s frigid grip of death closes in on the northland get out and enjoy all of the awesome places Duluth has to offer. Ely’s Peak, Hawk’s Ridge, Observation Rock, Enger Tower, Park Point, Chester Bowl and Gooseberry Falls are all amazing places that are within reasonable driving (or walking) distances. Go to Canal Park and watch a humongous ship pass under the lift bridge. Go for a stroll along the Lakewalk. The point is get out and do as many outdoor activities as you can before it’s so cold icicles form on your eyelashes while waiting for the bus. Duluth has no shortage of options.