Things we did in first year that we’ll never do again

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First-year was a glorious time in which we’ve all made mistakes. Here are our most memorable:

Expensive Books

I learned the hard way in my first year that the SUB Bookstore is the least cost-effective place to purchase textbooks.

As a young, doe-eyed student fresh from high school, I made my way straight to the bookstore after finally figuring out where the textbook listing is hidden on Bear Tracks. I wanted to be sure to be prepared, so I waited in line for over an hour before classes started, anxiously clinging to my newfound textbooks. Unaware of what “Aplia” and “access codes” meant, I made sure to buy the newest editions of every book, just in case.

Much to my chagrin, I discovered that half of these expensive “required” books weren’t really “required” at all. After my first Economics midterm, I realized that there was absolutely no point keeping up with the readings because everything on the exam came straight from lecture material. I opened my Math textbook once during the course of the entire semester — to get an online access code.

Luckily by my second semester, I discovered the wonderful worlds of kijiji, Amazon, ebooks, older editions, and the used textbook page on Facebook. I also figured out that it’s a good idea to wait until after classes actually start before buying books. Profs are usually pretty good about being upfront about how important the reading material is. Now that I am older and wiser, I consistently save over $500 each semester by purchasing my textbooks from sources other than the bookstore. — Brooklyn Davidson

Language Classes

The first year decision that I regret the most is taking five classes each semester instead of four or even three. I also made the not-so-wise decision to learn three languages as well, so you can imagine the essays, presentations, and revisions I was stuck with.

Before enrolling, I honestly thought that taking 10 courses each year was the expectation and that if I didn’t, it would seem to my family and friends like I wasn’t doing enough in school. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Along with my marks, my health, confidence and motivation dwindled faster than I could say “Bonjour” and by the time I was in second year, I felt like I was done for good with university. Looking back now, I wish I knew by doing less, I would’ve done better quality work and enjoyed my classes more. I also would have had more time to do other extracurricular activities and volunteer work on campus, and not to mention sleep. — Christina Varvis


Accounts of students’ first years differ wildly depending on whether they lived in Lister Centre. Without a doubt, Lister-less first year students are at significantly lower risk of experiencing alcohol poisoning than students who take the less adventurous road and stay home. Although the temptation to partake in the debauched shenanigans embedded in Listerite culture can be overwhelming, the exhilaration of weekly three-day Duke’s benders diminishes quickly after move-out.

Rather than continue the tradition of outrageous cheap alcohol consumption for no purpose other than that we can, students feel a stronger inclination towards more easily palatable elixirs in settings more pleasant and comfortable than Knoxville’s. Saturday night goals tend away from remembering as little as possible the next morning; knowing we made good choices and valuable social connections becomes the preferable outcome. An alcohol-free evening with close companions becomes far more appealing than a sleepless night of drunken regrets.

All this being said, alcohol remains an undeniable part of most students’ lives, and although once free of Lister we find ourselves preferring to remember our adventures than forget our misadventures, every now and then we still go wild and then wake up the next morning to a painful reminder of how little fun it actually is to get sloshed. We’re still students, after all. — Riley Samson

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