2013 Survival Guide: What I wish I knew when I first came to TU
A new school year is upon us once again, which means it’s time for freshmen and transfer students to get their first taste of Towson University.
Students have come from different states, even different countries, while some have only needed to travel a few minutes to get to campus.
In order to make the transition to Towson life easier, The Towerlight asked current students what they whish they first knew when they came to Towson.
From traveling off campus to basic services on campus that were once easily accessed at home, these current students hoped to make a new students’ first few days, weeks and months at Towson that much easier.
“There is free printing on the fifth floor of the CLA”
Update: The writing center is located on the fifth floor of the CLA. Students who set up appointments to use the writing center are allowed to use the printing services. However, students who do not have an appointment are not authorized to use the printers in the writing center.
For the average college student living in a residence hall, printing can be a constant struggle.
Between the rising cost of ink and the lack of space in rooms, bringing a printer from home can cause some problems.
Thankfully, there are a number of printing options on campus fro students, some of them free.
The fifth floor of the College of Liberal Arts building is home to a lab with free printing. Labs in the Media Center and Stephens Hall also have no-cost options available.
The Stephens Lab is only accessible to Honors College students and asks for a 5 cent donation for each copy, and Media Center printers are only available to classes or students who have lab time signged out.
For students who don’t have the time or resources to use these free options, Towson is implementing a new wireless printing system called “WEPA.”
Students are able to upload their files to the WEPA cloud servers using their student ID numbers and can log onto stations placed throughout campus.
A single-sided black-and-white print costs 10 cents per copy.
“We wanted to make it more convenient for students to print and WEPA seemed to be the most flexible printing solution,” Director of Marketing and New Products and Services in Auxiliary Services Ralph Valle said in an email.
“Students can submit black and white or color print jobs not only from lab computers, but from their own computers and smart phones. Then, they have 96 hours to go to a kiosk to pay for it and pick it up.”
The new stations also offer the option to print documents off of USB flash drives as well.
Although there are places that students can print for no cost, Valle said using these options will eventually cost students.
“There is no such thing as ‘free’ printing because there is always a cost for ink, paper and maintenance of the printer,” Valle said. “Some departments choose to charge extra lab fees and some departments set aside funds within their budget to cover printing.”
“You can use your retail points at tons of places off-campus like 7-Eleven, gas stations and fast food”
Although most students think of using their OneCards at on-campus dining halls, the card can also be used in a number of locations off campus.
The University has established agreements with restaurants, gas stations, drug stores and grocery stores to accept the OneCard’s retail points.
Some locations include two Qdobas in Towson, Seasons Pizza and Mobil gas on York Road.
With the retail points combined with dining meals and points, Acting Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services Robert Campbell said the OneCard is the most versatile card a student at Towson can have.
“The OneCard is tremendous if you look at all the things it can do,” Campbell said. “If you look at the other cards in your wallet, it does some of the things the other cards don’t do.”
Retail points can also be used at vending machines on campus, as well as the laundry services offered in residence halls.
The newest addition to the OneCard’s abilities is the link to the new WEPA wireless printing system, which will be available in most academic buildings on campus.
For new students, especially freshmen, Campbell said using the points on the OneCard responsibly is important to establishing positive financial habits.
“This might be the very first serious financial instrument you’re going to have in your life,” he said. “A lot of students might just be opening up their first bank accounts. I would encourage students to use it and learn responsible use of the card, budget your financial life and take responsibility of their card. If they can do that, it’s going to serve them well in life when they get additional financial instruments such as loans and credit cards.”
“That I should join a sport club”
We may not be all Division I basketball players, but that doesn’t mean students don’t have the opportunity to get involved in other sports on campus.
There are two kinds of sports to get involved with: intramural and club.
Intramural sports can be created by any group of students, and even individual students can enter some sports as a “free agent” to join an already-created team.
Although there is a fee to sign up teams, the more players on a team the cheaper the fee becomes per player.
The only newcomer to the intramural circuit this year include Ultimate Frisbee, according to Assistant Director of Competitive Sports in Campus Recreation Services R.J. Canning, but CRS is offering new one-day tournaments that students can enter in sports such as cornhole, wiffleball, 3-on-3 basketball and kickball.
Other intramural team sports that occur over a two-month or so span include volleyball, 5-on-5 basketball, softball, soccer and flag football.
Looking to earn a little extra cash? CRS also offers the paid opportunity to be a referee for intramural sports.
For the more competitive student, sports clubs may be the way to go.
Clubs require tryouts, and travel to other schools to compete. Canning said Towson is creating two new club sports: women’s ice hockey and power lifting.
“The sport club program is geared toward participants who thrive on the extra level of competition,” Canning said. “Teams range from extremely recreational to extremely competitive. We have club teams such as surf and skydiving who go on a few trips a year, to clubs such as men’s rugby and equestrian who competed last year at a national level.”
No matter the level of competitiveness, Canning said the 2,000 students who compete in either in an intramural or club sport end up benefiting from the experience even after all the competition.
“Both Intramural Sports and Sport Clubs are great opportunities for Towson students to get involved, stay active and be healthy,” he said.
For a complete list of intramural and club sports, visit www.towson.edu/campusrec.
“Just get to know as many people as possible”
If there’s one thing sophomore Alex Crenshaw wishes he knew before he began at Towson as a freshman last fall, it’s that he needed to put himself out there.
“I wish I knew to go to more events my first few weeks,” Crenshaw said.
The same goes for most freshmen. By attending events and joining activities like club sports, you can meet people with similar interests.
From August 24 – Aug. 27 Towson’s New Student Programs hosts “Welcome to Towson.” From carnivals, to cupcake challenges, to laser tag, the events held are meant for freshmen and transfer students to meet their peers.
The best friendships are the ones that take time and are forged over common interests, not the ones that are made overnight, sophomore Courtney Colson explained.
“I wish I knew not to make friends with the ‘friendliest’ people,” Colson said. “They usually end up acting really fake and rude.”
“How to balance my time”
The transition into college classes isn’t an easy one, according to Sheila Graham, assistant director for outreach and diversity at the Counseling Center.
But, learning proper time management skills can ease the transition and enhance your college experience. The first step is to identify your problem with time management.
“Some people lack the big picture,” Director of the Counseling Center Gregory Reising said.
If your problem lies within planning for the semester at a whole, Reising recommends creating a master calendar. This includes deadlines for assignments like papers and readings, exam dates and also important events.You then break each deadline down into manageable steps.If your problem is getting started on individual tasks, Reising said that recognizing that you are procrastinating helps a lot.
“If that isn’t enough to help you get over the hump to really get something done, sometimes you have to break the task down into bite-size chunks so that each chunk isn’t too anxiety-provoking,” Reising said.
Another issue that college students may have with balancing time is adjusting to a less structured schedule than the high school day. Unlike high school, in college, you don’t have a full day of school and a set time for homework.
“One of the things that I encourage students to do is to try to think of their day as a work day,” Graham said. “If you have free time in between [classes], you’re going to the library or using that time productively in whatever way is helpful to you.”
While you are planning, Graham said that it is important to also include rewards.
“Whatever kind of things feel rewarding, that’s going to help bring energy and can be used as a motivator but also as a celebration for whatever task you accomplished,” she said. If you are unsure of your specific problem with time management, the counseling center offers individual sessions to help students identify where they most need help. They also offer workshops throughout the semester to help students learn to better deal with stress, relationships and time management.
But, the most important thing, Reising said, is finding how to enjoy your time in college.
“Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that even though it’s a lot of work and stuff to be in college, it should also be fun, it should also be rewarding,” he said.
“I wish I understood rebate checks”
Rebate checks are a hot topic among Towson students.
Some are waiting for theirs to be dispersed, others find theirs a happy surprise.
But all can agree that the process is a bit confusing.
But Thom Ruby, director of the Bursar’s Office, said that it’s simple.
Here’s how it works:
Students can go online to their TU student account and find out if they are eligible for a rebate check. If they are, the finances section will show the dollar amount.
The student will be notified that they can pick up the rebate check once the Bursar’s Office receives the check from the Treasurer’s Office of the state of Maryland. The notification will come to the student’s TU email.
At this point, students need only to stop by the Bursar’s Office in Enrollment Services Room 336 between the hours of 8:30 – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
A federal ID is required to pick up a rebate check.
If a student is unsure why they are receiving a rebate check, Ruby said that it is easy to find out.
“They can talk to the Bursar’s office and we can give them an explanation of why they are getting a rebate check,” Ruby said.
“I wish I knew how to navigate the CLA”
Upon entering the College of Liberal Arts building for the first time, the large, clean, organized lobby may make the building seem easy to navigate.
That is, until you get on an elevator to get to your class on the fifth floor only to discover that the fifth floor apparently doesn’t exist from that elevator. But by utilizing the CLA’s resources, navigating the halls becomes really quite simple.
“The Liberal Arts building has four floors in each of the three sections,” Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Terry Cooney said.
The building is much longer than it is tall and is therefore broken up into three sections that are separated by high glass-ended galleries. The first section is closest to Burdick Hall.
The third section is on the opposite end of the building, close to Linthicum Hall. The second lies between the first and third. As for floors, the building sits on a hill, which means that the first floor exists only in the first section and partially in the second while the fifth floor exists only in the third section.
Floors two through four however exist in all three sections. Therefore, each room is assigned four digits, the first identifies the floor, the second the section of the building, and the last two identify the room number. The rooms in each section begin with 01 in the northwest corner and continue clockwise in ascending order.
The building also contains a café on the fourth floor in between the second and third sections, a quiet reading room on the fourth floor, a writing center on the fifth floor and printing kiosks on floors two, four and five.
If you still find yourself lost in the halls of the Liberal Arts building, you can always use the touch-activated “Wayfinding” screens, which provide the user with maps of the building and information on faculty locations. These can be found in the main gallery as well as opposite the elevators.
“We have also printed cards explaining the numbering system in combination with a diagram of a typical floor,” Cooney said.
“If you live off campus and use the shuttle, fuel fees can be eliminated”
Towson offers many transportation options from the on-campus shuttle that runs from the core of campus to West Village, University Village, and Towson Center to an off-campus shuttle that has several routes that run to all the major apartment complexes in the area. And for things that are further than the local area, there are Zipcar rentals. The on-campus and off-campus shuttles are free with your OneCard, Director of Auxiliary Services Pam Mooney said. Although the transportation service is a part of the $75 auxiliary fee students have to pay each year.
“You don’t have to pay for a parking pass,” she said. “[Students] bring their car and really it sits here for a majority of the time. Why pay for a parking pass, pay for insurance, maintenance and worry about all that stuff when you have all these other things.”
Zipcars are cheap and geared toward college students, Mooney said. Typically rental cars don’t allow a person to rent unless they are at least 25 years old but Zipcars allow students.
Then there is the free Collegetown Shuttle that has stops at Goucher College, Towson shopping district, Towson University, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Loyola University, Morgan State University, Johns Hopkins University, MICA and Penn Station.
“There is a place in the administration building to get food”
When touring Towson University, student ambassadors will take prospective students to the Glen Dining Hall, Newell Dining Hall, and West Village Dining Hall – but what prospects don’t see on the tour is one of Towson’s best-kept secrets. The 7720 Café, also known as the Administration Building café.
Located on the first floor of the Administration building, the Admin café is open to everyone on campus, however it’s mostly used by faculty and staff. Sophomore Bria Jackson said that during her first few weeks at Towson she didn’t realize the importance of optimizing her meal plan, spending meals unnecessarily. The Admin café offers an alternative to the more expensive options in Towson’s more popular dining halls.
“[It’s] more reasonably priced,” sophomore John Richey said. “Still over priced. But cheaper.”
Like other dining halls on Towson’s campus, students can use their OneCard to purchase food, Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services Joe Oster said in a Towerlight article last spring.
“The café has a grill, sandwich station, salad bar, soups and assorted snacks,” Oster said.
“Where to eat that was semi-healthy”
It’s easy to grab chicken fingers and fries from Paws and call it a day, but for those students who are looking to avoid the fabled “Freshman 15,” Towson does offer some healthy-eating options.
“There’s a lot of great food at Towson,” sophomore Ethan Cote-Rumsey said. “Too much. Exercise is still important no matter what.”
Each of Towson’s three major dining halls – Newell, The Glen and West Villlage – offer a grill option. While the lines for the grill may be longer, the grill is a less-greasy alternative. Each of these dining halls also offers a salad bar option.
For those overwhelmed by dining hall options, Dowell Health Center offers free nutrition counseling with their registered dietitian Kerry Ballek.
To make an appointment with Ballek call 410-704-3793.