Friendly Advice to New and #FutureBadgers

Why listen to Ann Marie Steib?  She is a UW-Madison senior studying journalism and political science. This Milwaukee native is an avid giggler, writer, and drinker of chai. Ann Marie currently works for the Center for the First-Year Experience (CFYE) as a communications and social media intern.tumblr_inline_mvhnnasAzf1rtsyaq

“You’ll often hear me say that I did NOT utilize campus my freshman year. I stayed in my dorm and mostly hung out with my high school friends. I think I passed by a lot of missed opportunities, so I’m especially passionate about my work at CFYE and make sure students that come after me don’t make the same mistakes.”

So what would I tell my 18-year-old self to put on my #BuckyList? Let’s start here:

Study somewhere besides the library. A lot of coffee shops are open until 11 p.m., and bubble tea will be your Nirvana.

Get out of bed to actually go to the Farmer’s Market before 1 p.m., so you can get the best stuff.

Run to Picnic Point – weekly. Then you won’t have to cross the freshman 15 off your #BuckyList, too.

Explore Madison’s music venues. The Orpheum Theater and Majestic Theatre are awesome, and High Noon Saloon and the Barrymore Theater are only a bus ride away. Which brings me to my next one:

USE YOUR BUS PASS. It’s free. Our public transportation system is one of the best in America. Don’t be afraid of the bus.

Not everyone’s #BuckyList is the same as yours: you can sign up for as many Ultimate Frisbee leagues as you want, but if you didn’t like it in high school, you won’t like it now, either.

Eat cheese curds. Now. You can thank me later by buying me some.

The Division of Student Life is here to help you. That’s why it’s called Student Life. You are a student. Find out what it can do for you. If you got into UW-Madison, you are smart enough to Google it. No whining about how you don’t know where things are or what they offer. Otherwise you’ll just have to cross off “Being Lazy” from your #BuckyList

Don’t go home too much when you’re a freshman. I did.

BUT–senior year is a good time to cross “visiting your parents” off your list every once in awhile, too. The serenity of being home can put you back on track to study.

The best is when you can cross “Have your parents visit Madison” off your #BuckyList – and not just because they’ll be nice and buy you groceries. Participate in Parent’s Weekend at least once.

Some of the best food in this city is NOT just on State Street. The Capitol is not that far. Neither is Monroe Street. Start walking and then make up all those calories you burned eating new and delicious food.

Food carts, food carts, food carts. I can’t stress it enough.

Land an internship. I’m on my third right now, but if I hadn’t been such a bum when I was a freshman, I might have crossed five of them off the list.

“Eat 3 a.m. Qdoba” has no place on your #BuckyList – but you’re going to do it anyway.

Find a major that fits your needs – not just academically and professionally, but mentally as well. For me, the Journalism School  feels like an ultra-competitive and stress inducing, yet super-motivational family… so it feels like family. You’ll be so glad you put in the time and effort.

Apply to be a Visitor and Information (VIP) Tour Guide. It looks like so much fun! How come I never did that?

Study abroad. I never went and I regretted it, plus I studied Italian for basically no reason. (Correcting Olive Garden’s menu does not count.)

But on that note, take a language off the beaten path! Even if you don’t use it in your professional career, I can guarantee you it will open you up to a diverse world you didn’t know existed. After learning Italian, my thirst for travel cannot be quenched. I plan to backpack around Italy after I graduate.

Spend a lot of time with your friends and fellow Badgers. Make sure you can cross “laughed often” off your #BuckyList.

And finally, the obligatory and cheesy (but true) final thoughts:

Get involved! As a member of Alpha Phi Omega, I’ve done service projects all over Madison, traveled to Los Angeles, Kansas City and New Orleans, and have made friends from all over the country. A group I joined on a whim my freshman year has become a major networking opportunity and a support system of lifelong friends.

Get to know your professors and advisors. They get paid to teach you, so make sure you’re going to office hours. If you end up with a C and think you deserved a B, a professor who saw you every week is a lot more likely to take your extra effort into account. Make yourself noticed. It’ll be worth it.

Don’t stress out too much. College is supposed to be hard, but it’s really fun. Use common sense, do your homework, get a decent amount of sleep and don’t eat too much pizza. You’re gonna be fine.

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