31 Things I Learned About the University of Rochester During My First Semester

The first semester of my college career is finally over. Looking back, I never realized how fast the time was going by. It seems like yesterday when I moved to the Sue B residence halls, but in reality, that was almost four months ago.

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In these last four months, I have learned so much about the University of Rochester, and of course, a ton from my courses. Although I could tell you about the 101 ways to improve your writing from Dr. Schaefer or all of the amazing biology concepts from Dr. Goldfarb’s course, those would take days for me to write about. (I do highly recommend taking both courses. I felt like these two courses in particular have challenged me and contributed to my growth as a person). Instead, I am writing about the things that you will eventually find out, but it would be nice to learn about earlier.

  1. There are tunnels between Hutchison and Carlson Library and Carlson Library to the computer science building (third floor of Carlson gives access).
  2. The tunnels under the academic quad are basically rectangles (you will understand what I mean).
  3. Walking through the tunnels is almost like driving (make sure you are on the right, don’t take too many narrow turns, always make sure you have a lot of space before trying to pass someone).
  4. Eco-clamshells are a great take-out option instead of eating at the dining halls.
  5. The Pit from 8 pm to 10 pm, Rocky’s Sub Shop from 8 pm to 12 pm, and Grab-and-Go all accept swipes (the unlimited plan is a great idea for your first semester).
  6. Tapingo is a good way to save time in the morning since you are ordering food in advance.
  7. The optimal times to get pasta in Douglass without waiting is at 2:25 pm and 5:00 pm on weekdays.
  8. Danforth Dining Center has two entrances. Don’t wait in the longest line!
  9. Your student activities fee is used for student organizations, so join clubs and organizations to get your money’s worth.
  10. Student organizations are always in need of more members, so a great way to make friends is by joining student organizations.
  11. Joining executive boards for student organizations is a good way to make even closer friends and will allow for weekly socializing activities.
  12. Student organizations always have a lot of food at events, so if you ever are low on declining, these are good options (even if you aren’t low on declining, the food at these events tends to be unique from the regular dinners).
  13. You will see the same fifteen or so people almost every single day.
  14. Rush Rhees Library and Gleason Library (at the back) are in the same building but are considered two different libraries by most of the students.
  15. There is only one time during the fall semester (Halloween) where you can go to the top of Rush Rhees (the line is tremendously long but so worth it).
  16. Gleason Library has a theater room.
  17. There is a Physics and Optics Library at the top of Bausch and Lamb.
  18. There is no fourth floor in Hylan.
  19. The main elevator in Genesee does not go to the second floor.
  20. You will rarely have a lecture class beyond the second floor of most academic buildings during the first semester (at least as a biological science major).
  21. D’Lions are extremely sociable and will almost always greet you even when they seem exhausted.
  22. There are people who live on the first floor of Sue B.
  23. People live in the Gilbert basement.
  24. Lovejoy really does have first years living there.
  25. A lot of professors have extremely long office hours (Shout-out to Dr. Yamazaki for having office hours and appointments at almost any time during the week).
  26. Most of the people grading your exams are TAs who are only one or two years older than you.
  27. Being a Kearn’s Scholar offers free printing (and a lot of other services, but free printing is quite nice to have).
  28. Dry erase markers are always in high demand at libraries and in classes.
  29. Classes tend to never let you out earlier than three minutes. The class will move to the next unit even with only three minutes remaining.
  30. Do not refer to the Dean of Students, Kyle Orton, as Dean Orton, Dr. Orton, or Professor Orton.
  31. When you do not see snow at the beginning of December, and it is 60 degrees, they are not lying that the snow really comes (just wait one week).

There was definitely a lot of other things that I learned and experienced during my time. I am extremely glad for how my first semester turned out, and I am excited for the semesters to come.

About the author

Sammy Cheng

Hi! I am a member of the Class of 2021 planning to major in microbiology and minor in clinical psychology and bioethics. Being born in New York but raised in Indiana for most of my life makes living in upstate New York a very different experience. I am part of the Hong Kong Student Organization, Society of Asian Scientist and Engineers, and the Undergraduate Society of Biology. Hopefully, I can provide valuable insight into life at the University of Rochester!

One Comment

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  • I’ve been thinking about enrolling in Rochester for the past 2 years. Now i think i am ready to join it. Thanks for the article, was interesting to read.

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