RMU Freshman FAQ


Entering your freshman year of college is one of the most exciting times of your life! We know it also can be one of the most stressful – we’ve been there!  There’s so much uncertainty surrounding this new chapter in your life, and it can get very intimidating very fast.

Don’t fear though! Upperclassmen from RMU Sentry Media, Social Media Editor Leah Fleischel and Arts & Entertainment Editor Eddie Sheehy are here to guide you through a few of the more specific questions you may have about entering Robert Morris University this fall!

What do I need to pack that I’m definitely forgetting about?

L: Follow the sheet that they give you, but you know yourself better than anyone. If you need decorations to make your room feel like home, then decorate away (you can find the best ideas on Pinterest)! My biggest mistake was packing a whole bunch of summer clothes, then needing them for about two weeks. You’ll be dressing for cooler weather 85% of the academic year, no matter how optimistic you are about the weather in Pittsburgh. Definitely pack a few professional outfits, you never know when you’ll go to a career fair, networking event, awards ceremony, etc. If you live in a dorm, storage is everything, so buy those storage totes and you’ll be fine.

E: There’s definitely a few things you are only going to realize you need when the situation arises. When that happens, it’s absolutely no fun, so I’m going to try and help you out the best I can now. Things you’re going to need that nobody told you about include, and get ready, this is one hell of a list — A screwdriver, batteries, wrinkle release spray, a small sewing kit, an extra pillowcase, plastic ziplock bags, a fan, a can opener, an ethernet cable (there is wifi in all dorms but ethernet is so much faster and more reliable), and a rug for in front of your bed. I think that’s everything. Now another thing you’re going to want to bring, and I’m sorry to do this to you, is at least one pair of dress pants, a set of dress shoes, a nice shirt and a tie. If you have one, a suit works even better. I know that’s probably the last thing you want to pack next to your Batman poster and PlayStation, but trust me, there will come a point this year when you need it, and already having one hanging in your closet is way more convenient than needing to go home to get one, or worse, buying one. If you’re a girl, just do the girl version of what I’m talking about.

Extra ItemsMatt Merlino

I got put in a room in Yorktown, is that good or bad?

L: I’ve never lived in Yorktown, but Eddie is going for round two, so I’ll defer to him on that one.

E: I was really hoping that living in a hotel was going to be as cool as The Suite Life of Zack and Cody told me it was, but alas that’s not the case when it comes to Yorktown. Don’t get me wrong, Yorktown’s a great thing for Freshman and even Sophomores. Bigger beds, your own bathroom, a cafeteria just a few floors away, it has a lot of benefits over traditional dorms, but I wouldn’t go as far as calling it paradise. If you don’t have a car, you’re going to have to resort to taking the shuttle to and from campus or bumming a ride off your friends, and just the fact that it is away from campus can make it a little inconvenient, especially on days like homecoming. You’re also going to need to supply your room with a few extra supplies that your fellow dorm-dwelling peers won’t have to worry about. You’ll need to bring toilet paper, bathroom cleaning supplies and I’d even suggest a shower curtain (They provide you one, but I didn’t want to feel like I was showering in prison so I changed it).  At least there’s no Mr. Mosby in Yorktown.

What do I do if I don’t like my roommate?

L: Try your best to work it out, but there are just some situations that are going to require you to move. I changed roommates after my first semester, and it was pretty much not an option for me. Having a tough situation in your room is hard – especially if you can’t go home because you live far away like me. My advice is try to be civil and really take refuge with the new friends that you make. One bad semester will NOT define your college career, and you’ll hardly remember those times at the end – trust me!

E: You definitely need to give your roommate a chance. You’re not going to see eye to eye about all things at first, but it will get easier with time. Also, as you make new friends, join clubs and start attending events, you’ll find yourself spending less and less time in your room anyways. If they’re really unbearable though, you can always go talk to reslife at the end of the semester and try and get a new roommate!

Should I join a sorority/fraternity?

L: That’s up to you, and it really varies person to person. You’ll hear a lot of great stuff about Greek Life: the community service, members have an average GPA that’s higher than most students, you’ll make lifelong friends and how involved everyone is. Trust me when I say that you do NOT need Greek Life to do any of those things, but if you think it will help then by all means, give it a shot. I actually considered rushing for a split second before I found out about the costs. I used that money instead to study abroad in Ireland and for me, it was definitely the right choice. I have friends who love Greek Life and gained a lot from it, but I know people who regret it too.

E: While I’m not personally in a fraternity, I can  tell you what I know about them.  They are absolutely not for everyone. There’s a good bit of pressure to join one, and while we do have a great Greek culture on campus, you really have to decide if it’s for you. I have a ton of friends who have really loved their time in their fraternity/sorority, so if you think it may be something you’re interested in, you definitely should give it a shot! The same goes for all campus clubs and activities too! If you think you may be interested in something try it out, who knows you may love it. College is afterall, a time for getting out of your comfort zone.

Greek LifeMatt Merlino

Is there stuff to do on campus during the weekends, or is it dead?

L: It can be dead, and that’s the thing I wish someone would’ve told me going in the most. Especially during freshman year, people will go home A LOT and the fact is that most people live about an hour away from campus, give or take. If you’re like me and are 5 hours away, then you’re going to have to stick it out! Find some people who are in similar situations, or make a pact with your new friends to try to stay on campus – even if going home feels easier. You can find some parties if you know the right people (or choose to make one with your friends), which I’m probably not supposed to say but this is all about honesty, so just be safe and smart.

E: Short answer, yes, long answer, no. While a ton of people do tend to go home on the weekends, it’s really up to you to make the weekends what you want. I’m in that boat Leah was talking about, I only live about 45 minutes from campus, but I find myself going home only once or twice a semester. Why? Because I find things to do. We’re only about 15-20 minutes away from Pittsburgh, so there’s endless opportunities there. Even closer is Robinson, which has activities that range from laser tag to bowling to the Robinson Mall. There are also parties like Leah said, or that always tempting option to just stay in with a few friends and have a netflix marathon. Anyone who tells you there is absolutely nothing to do on the weekends just isn’t trying hard enough. Use your imagination, and I guarantee you can come up with some great ways to waste away a Saturday…

Do people go to sporting events?

L: Football, no. Hockey and basketball, yes. The crowd multiplies by about 10 if ESPN shows up for our games and actually makes for an awesome atmosphere. There’s always awesome giveaways and I’m one of those people who’s into school spirit, so I would recommend going to as many as you can!

E: It really depends on the sport/day/time. Basketball and Hockey are usually pretty well attended, but it’s sometimes the smaller sports that are the most fun. If you ask me, I’d say you have to attend at least one Volleyball game, those things are a lot of fun to watch.

Will I gain the Freshman 15?

L: That’s up to you, my friends. With the food in the cafeteria and a huge meal plan, it is super easy to do – but you can prevent it! Believe it or not, simply setting foot on a college campus does not make you gain weight. If you’re into the gym or want to try it, I’d make a plan to go with a friend, or join a fitness class like Zumba or Kettlebell (I heard there might be a cool new instructor named Leah).

E: I was a fat guy when I got to college, and still am, so it doesn’t/didn’t really matter that much to me. If you’re super concerned about it, go to the gym, but I say live life to the fullest. Eat, drink, be merry is my motto. Who really cares if you gain a little weight? You’re adults now. You can do whatever you want.

How is the food on campus?

L: Eh. There are some things that I really enjoy, like the Chicken Salad at RoMo’s. I, and others, live for that stuff. Bento Bowl is also cool. There’s not a ton of options, so you’ll get sick of campus food by the end of the semester, but as far as quality it’s usually pretty decent.

E: Food on campus is another one of those things I think gets a bad reputation. For the most part, the food is good. The problem arises when you start eating the same thing over and over again. If all you eat is chicken tenders for an entire semester, yes, you won’t even want to think about stepping foot in the cafeteria ever again, but if you eat a variety of meals everyday, you should be fine. Be aware of how often you eat Romo’s sandwiches especially! They’re so tempting because they’re really good, you can eat them on the run, and it’s one of the only things you can still order up until midnight, but without a doubt, they’re always the thing everyone gets sick of first.

FoodMatt Merlino

Are college classes hard?

L: You’ve probably been told over and over how much harder college is than high school, but it really just depends on your major. General education classes are SUPER easy, unless it’s a subject you’ve always struggled with, like math, or you have a hard teacher. If you’re a communications major like me, don’t worry about classes – worry about building your resume so you actually get a job. If you’re actuarial science or engineering, you’re in for a tough few years but you’ll be making the big bucks so it’s all relative.

E: This one is really going to be up to you. Some of it does depend on your major, but the overwhelming part of it actually depends on your work ethic. Procrastination is the killer. If you can do your work early, you save yourself the biggest headache a college student can have — cramming. I’d also suggest prepping yourself for success on those dreaded finals. If you take the entire semester seriously and work hard doing things like homework and small tests, in a lot of cases you can set yourself up for a situation where you’d only need to get like a 70% on your final to pass with a “B.” That helps take more pressure off of you than you can imagine.

Should I be scared of my CA’s (Community advisors)?

L: No way! Believe it or not, people apply for this job because they want to meet and help you. They get some perks, but it’s a lot of long hours and hard work too. They won’t look to bust you for breaking the rules, but if you’re being really apparent about it (i.e. shotgunning beers in the hallway) then understand that it’s their job to do something. Be smart, respectful and friendly and I can guarantee you won’t have a problem.

E: Not at all. Your CA’s are one of the best resources you have! The important thing to remember is that they’re students too and they’ve been around the block a few times. Per my experience, and just in general from what I can gather from other people, you are only going to have a problem with your CA’s and Res-life if you’re obnoxiously and consistently breaking the rules. You don’t have to be best friends with your CA’s, but treat them with respect and you should coast by with no problems. Believe me when I say they have better things to do than to tell you to turn down the music, so play it cool and all will be well in your world.

Will I need to buy the book for all my classes?

L: In my experience, no. Your professor will tell you on your first day of class whether or not you need it but even after that – ask an upperclassman. I’ve had “mandatory” books that I never cracked and still got an A. Which is nice, but I felt dumb for spending the money. Once you know people in your class who live near you or have a similar schedule, sharing is a great way to save money! I’ve rented almost all of my books from Chegg. They’re usually the cheapest price, have easy returns and send you cool stuff sometimes like coffee, 5 Hour Energy, etc. I know they used to plant a tree for every book sold or something like that, which is cool tool! (This isn’t a Chegg advertisement, I just really like them.)

E: Buying books can get incredibly expensive incredibly fast. My advice would be to wait! I know it’s tempting to be a good little freshman and buy all your books before you even attend your first class, but the fact is you will never use some of them. Wait to see what your professor says, or ask around and see if any upperclassmen know if you’ll need that reading material. The only thing worse than buying a $200 book is buying a $200 book you never open.

Hopefully this eases your mind a bit and gives you a better start towards a happier and more successful freshman year of college! If we missed any other questions you have, leave them in the comments section below, or ask them on any of our social media platforms (@RMUSentryMedia on Twitter and RMU Sentry Media on Facebook) and we’ll be sure to get back to you!

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