Welcome Week for dummies

A guide to your first few nights in Big Rapids

It may be summer break, but it’s never too early to start planning for every college student’s favorite time of the year. No, I’m not talking about Christmas (although who doesn’t love cashing checks from their relatives and drinking away the money before you can even write a thank-you note?). And good guess with St. Patty’s Day (for obvious reasons, of course). I’m talking about the one and only Welcome Week.

For those of you who are incoming freshmen, Ferris State University’s Welcome Week will be your first collegiate test. Welcome Week is a time to make friends, make memories and—for some of you—make a fool out of yourself. If you’d like to survive your first few nights on campus and make it to the first day of classes, continue reading for this seasoned veteran’s tips on navigating the Welcome Week waters.

1. Lay off Facebook for a few days.

It’s exciting, I get it. You’re finally in college! I know it’s new, but try to act like you’ve experienced something semi-exciting in your life before. Believe it or not, there’s no need for you to live tweet as you unpack your dorm room. Yes, you might really like the girl living across the hall from you, but refrain from uploading 456 pictures with your new bestie. And I don’t care how perfectly Ke$ha’s lyrics describe your life; don’t make them your Facebook status. Maybe you did wake up this morning feeling like P. Diddy and tonight you may be planning on going “hard hard h-h-hard,” but it’s posting that kind of nonsense that’s dragging Mark Zuckerburg’s creation down to a Myspace level.

2. Rock-eer before liquor, never been sicker.

The Rock is delicious, no one’s arguing with you there. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love Mongo? But chowing down on pork smothered in teriyaki sauce before a night of drinking is far from your best bet when it comes to the pre-pre-gaming meal. Not eating would be foolish, so go for a sandwich or something else you won’t mind seeing a second time later that night. If you’re hungry later (and you will be thanks to the drunk munchies), hit up Taco Bell. Around 2 a.m., it’s the hottest place in Big Rapids, and you’ll get the opportunity to see your peers in a totally different light. Seriously, the fluorescents may save you from waking up next to a total grenade.

3. Do not be the first to dance at the bar.

Without a doubt, within your first few nights at FSU, you’ll be directed to a wonderful and magical place: Shooter’s. Once the bouncer marks you with the infamous X’s, you’re free to explore its depths. But be warned, in the dark confines of Shooter’s, you’re going to lose your dignity. It will probably go missing somewhere between your fourth cranberry and vodka from the dude you met five minutes ago and puking your guts out in the handicap bathroom stall as five of your friends all simultaneously try to hold your hair back. You may find it next semester, post-graduation or perhaps never. If you’d like the possibility of someday being reunited with your dignity, stay away from the dance floor. Who am I kidding? Telling a drunk person not to dance is like telling a campus cop not to give MIPs. You can dance, but for the love of God, don’t be the first one out there. Grinding on your creepy RA makes for a funny story, but dancing alone will most likely cause irreparable damage.

4. No tears, no fears.

If you’re at a party, the last thing you should be doing is crying. Don’t be upset about that guy you met at orientation not texting you back. Grab another beer, and go meet someone new. Forget about being sad. The only emotion you should be experiencing during Welcome Week is overwhelming joy (coupled with an urge to drunk-dial). No matter what the situation is, don’t cry. You spent way too much time standing in front of the bathroom mirror you share with three other girls to ruin your make-up. The day you see me crying in public is the day Hell freezes over, Grand Valley becomes cool and I punch myself in the face.

5. If you can’t walk in it, don’t wear it.

Your friends have probably told you that what you choose to wear “out” says a lot about you, and that’s why you’ve gone to Forever 21 nine times in the past three weeks. You don’t have to admit it, but I know you’ve had your outfit selected for months now. And I’m sure that outfit includes a pair of five inch stilettos. As fun as breaking your ankle may seem, those shoes just aren’t Welcome Week material. This isn’t your high school prom. You’re not going to be able to kick your heels in the corner so you can dance barefoot until the music stop at 11 p.m. You’re in college now. Barefoot is no longer an option; you never know when you’re going to come across a smashed beer bottle. Ideally, get a pair of cute shoes you can run in. You might find yourself in a situation where you need to make a quick exit (i.e. the cops show up).

While this article certainly goes over my allotted word count, it is by no means all-encompassing. Welcome Week is a time for mistakes. Try as you might, you’re going to have regrets. You might even be someone’s regret! But that’s what Welcome Week is all about. It’s going to be sloppy, and it’s going to be scandalous. Welcome to Ferris State University.