Towson Survival Guide

How do I use the Towson shuttles?

Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight

The Towson University shuttles are a great way to move around campus and the surrounding Baltimore area. These FREE shuttles can be helpful to freshmen looking to enjoy what the city of Towson has to offer, off-campus students trying to get on campus without the cost of a car, and all students maneuvering around a campus that can be difficult to park at. Taking the Gold route can move you around campus quickly as it runs every 30 minutes, seven days a week. The Black Express Route operates on-campus every 10 minutes between 7:20 a.m. and 3:14 p.m. Off-campus shuttle routes, which require you to swipe your One Card, can take you to downtown Towson (Tiger in Town), and the nearby areas of Timonium/Cockeysville, Loch Raven, Goucher, Kenilworth, and Rodgers Forge. You can learn more about the Towson  shuttles, including schedules and maps, by visiting towson.edu/parking/shuttle.

How do I join The Towerlight?

Joining Towson University’s student run publication is easier than ever! The Towerlight offers an opportunity for students

Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight

to work in a friendly environment while learning the skills of writing, editing and meeting deadlines while experiencing everything Towson University has to offer by covering the latest in News, Arts, Sports, and the Opinion stories around our campus. There are multiple ways to join The Towerlight family. You can visit The Towerlight’s office inside room 309 of the University Union, where we always have paper applications on hand. You can also reach out to the editing staff by emailing editor@thetowerlight.com.

How do I pick classes?

Registering for classes can be a stress-inducing time for all students. However, there is an easy, stress-free way to pick your classes and get the schedule you want every semester. The first step is staying up to date with your advisor. By meeting with your academic advisor, you can receive the advice necessary to stay on track with your goals of graduating on time. Once you meet your advisor, take advantage of the Academic Plan option on Towson Online Services (PeopleSoft). This section allows you to lay out your entire academic career at TU, making you fully prepared to pick the classes you want when your registration window opens. Finally, know the exact time your window opens. Have your classes in your enrollment cart beforehand, ensuring that your desired classes do not fill up before you have a chance to register yourself. Follow these steps, and you will take every class you want while at Towson.

How do I buy/rent textbooks?

Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight

As someone who has spent too much money on college textbooks, the first step I want to tell you is to wait until your class starts. Many teachers post textbook requirements because they feel required to by their superiors, and then on syllabus day, they tell you that you don’t need the book to succeed in class. Once you learn that you do need the book, there are two primary options. You can utilize the Towson UStore to rent or purchase your books, or you can go to Amazon.com to do the same. I strongly recommend renting over buying, it is more affordable than purchasing and selling back your books and you rarely have a reason to keep your book after the class ends. You can print a list of every book you need by going to the Student Center on Towson Online Services (PeopleSoft) and clicking “Purchase Textbooks” on the right-hand side of the screen.

How do I cope with homesickness?

 Moving on to campus is a big environmental change, and may lead to homesickness.

“Homesickness […] can lead to experiences such as crying for seemingly no reason, feeling lonely, socially isolating, low motivation, [and/or] thinking about home” said Alessandra Pieraccini, a staff psychologist at Towson’s Counseling Center.

Pieraccini recommends personalizing your living space, practicing self care, and getting involved at your own pace. 

 “Students with pre-existing mental health conditions may notice symptoms they typically have under control returning or worsening.  And even students who have never experienced mental health difficulties before may notice increased anxiety or sadness as a result of this change.”

Towson’s Counseling Center has therapists that offer free, confidential short-term individual and group counseling to students for a wide range of concerns. The Counseling Center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and appointments can be made by calling (410-704-2512) or by walking in. 

How do I avoid the freshman 15?

Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight

Kerry Ballek, a registered dietitian and advisor to the Towson University Nutrition Club, offered some advice on making healthy decisions in Towson’s dining halls.

“Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits, ¼ grains – whole grains if available, and ¼ lean protein sources [such as] baked chicken, turkey, beans, eggs,” said Ballek. 

She highlighted the fact that first time students may find themselves snacking or forgetting to eat as they rush between classes. Waiting long intervals of time for the next meal can actually lower one’s metabolism, thus leading to weight gain.

“The whole idea around a healthy lifestyle is balance and consistency,” said Jaime Kaplan, staff psychologist and coordinator of eating disorder services. “The best thing to do for a healthy lifestyle is to change your diet, not go on a diet. Changing your diet might mean incorporating more fruits and vegetables throughout the day or ensuring that you are eating at least three balanced meals.”

How do I get along with my roommate?

While the idea of spending every day with your friends may seem like a blast, everyone needs some space to decompress and reset. If you don’t establish basic rules, such as how things will be shared, what study time means for you, or even when lights out should be, you may find yourself building resentment towards your roomie for making time in your room more frustrating than relaxing.

Communication is key. Any time something is bothering you, it’s best just to have a conversation with your roommate to hash out any arising issues. You’ll find that as roommates, it’s easier to respect one another when you have constant open communication, and your relationship lies on honesty- but not nitpicking.

 What really matters to you? it’s much easier to get along when both parties are willing to make compromises, instead of nitpicking everything the other does. 

How do I make friends with people on my floor? 

When I lived in the dorms, our R.A. hung a poster up inside of our common area that allowed floor members to write their Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter handles, so that everyone could add one another on social media. I recommend doing this! Everyone on the floor quickly started adding one another, responding to one another’s stories, and chatting.

 One night in our Tower D, floor 11 suite, my suitemates and I decided to have a game night. One of the girls posted the event to her snapchat story, and quickly the room began flooding with other floor members who wanted to join in. Game night became a tradition, and my floormates and I became very close! Suddenly living in that dorm went from feeling like separate apartments, to feeling like one big penthouse of friends.

Take the initiative to organize floor events and reach out when you see groups start hanging out!

How do I get a jobs or internship?

Towson University offers a ton of job and internship opportunities on campus each semester. One of the best ways to check out what opportunities the university is offering every semester is by visiting the Part-Time Job and Internship Fair, which will be hosted on Aug. 29 in the West Village Commons Ballroom from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information visit the Career Center page on Towson’s website. 

Another way to reach out to employers is through Handshake. Handshake is a service available to all Towson University students which allows you to build an online resumé, and submit applications to multiple employers, all in one place! Think of it as the ‘Common App’ of the job world.

 If you’re on campus, you can also stop by any office you’d be interested in working or interning for, and just ask what opportunities they have available! 

How do I stay fit?

Towson’s fitness center, inside of Burdick Hall, is a great place to workout in the morning or destress after a long day. While

Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight

the gym has plenty of machines for everyone’s individual workout routine, it also offers a ton group fitness classes that you can do individually or with some friends. These classes are free, and are open at many different times everyday. I have taken a couple yoga classes and cycling classes, which always leave me feeling like I’m getting a great workout. While you can walk into any class, I recommend booking your spot beforehand, that way you are guaranteed a spot in the class. It’s super easy to sign up for a class, just go to TU Campus Rec Portal and select Group Fitness. From there you are able to select the class of your choice!

How do I decide on a major?

After changing my major four times throughout college, I realized that I wasn’t crazy at all, but exactly where I needed to be. 

If you’re a freshman in college and don’t have a major, fear not! That is completely normal. My biggest advice is to accept where you are in your life and follow the opportunities that interest you. If you’re confused, think about what you enjoyed doing as a kid. Write a list naming your strengths, weaknesses and what brings you the most joy. Don’t be afraid to join groups that interest you. Put yourself out there, it’s never too early to network with others. 

Towson’s Career Center offers both in-person career counseling, as well as online resources to help you identify your strengths and goals. Understanding your own capabilities can help you achieve the certainty and confidence you need to decide on a major.

How do I get good grades?

One key to getting good grades is scheduling study time. Prioritizing study time to review your work from each class, to keep the content fresh in your mind, helps tremendously in being an active student in class. Sitting closer to the front of the class, raising your hand, and actively engaging with the professor’s lecture will help your grades too. When a teacher notices you trying, they may help you with your grade later. Also, being an active participant will help you absorb information better too. Using  an academic planner to keep track of all of your assignments, meetings, tests, and important dates is an important piece to being a successful student, too. I strongly recommend buying an academic planner and writing down your work from each class every day to help you keep up with all of your assignments.

How should I study?

An important aspect of studying is your environment. I’m a big nature person, so I usually head to the Glen Arboretum to do my homework. When I’m there, I don’t let myself check social media, or view anything that isn’t directly related to my work. Finding spaces on campus where you can achieve different things, may help you stay focused and productive. Staying in your dorm with distractions can likely make it harder for you to study. Go to the library, go outside and find a quiet bench or secluded, shady tree, go to the Liberal Arts building and find a lounge chair in front of a window. I find that studying in these places helps me complete assignments at a quicker pace, whereas phone usage can drag assignments out for hours. Develop your own plan, stick to it, and you’ve got a good shot at keeping your grades up. 

What should I do if I get sick while at college?

Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight

Moving onto any college campus for the first time is an adventure full of new experiences, new friends, and new germs. Did you wake up feeling sick? No worries, we’ve got a health center right on campus! The Towson University Health Center is located in Ward & West Hall, right off of University Avenue, next door to the Residence Tower. It is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is staffed with health professionals who are ready and willing to help you. Walk-ins are allowed depending on availability, but most students who have visited the Health Center would recommend you make an appointment to avoid long wait times. This can be done either through the Tiger Health Portal, found on the University’s website, or by calling 410-704-2466 during business hours. With the Health Center’s help, you’ll be back to class in no time.

How do I get involved on campus?

Towson offers a lot of ways for new students to get involved with campus life. With it’s over 300 clubs and organizations, you are sure to find something that lives up to your dreams. Students can partake in activities that range from academic and professional to Greek life. Towson’s website organizes its clubs by topic so you don’t have to scroll through an endless list looking for something to do. Once you find something you’re interested in, more information can be found through Involved@TU. TU also gives students the opportunity to talk to club members at involvement fairs throughout the academic year. If you don’t find anything that suits your needs, you can start your own club. The best way to start is by finding five friends and a professor willing to advise your new organization. After that, you have to create your groups constitution and email it to Chris Rindosh, TU’s Coordinator for Student Organizations. From there, he will help you get all set up and ready to go.

How do I stay safe on campus?

Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight

In the Towerlight’s April 9, 2018 issue, students were reported to feel safer on-campus than off. There are a few ways you can stay safe no matter where you are. There is safety in numbers. Traveling with friends and staying in well lit areas can increase your safety and make you less of a target for crime. If you’re going somewhere alone, stay aware of your surroundings. This may seem to be easier said than done, but it can be as simple as using one headphone instead of two. When on-campus you can find blue lights anywhere you go. They’re visible at night and can be used to get in contact with TUPD if you feel unsafe. Towson also offers the Safer Mobility phone app, which connects to TUPD when you’re on campus. Off-campus users will be connected to the nearest 911 dispatch center.

How do I use my OneCard?

Moving onto campus can be tricky, but your OneCard can make life much simpler if you know how to use it. It is the key to life on campus, literally. Your OneCard unlocks your dorm building doors for you, gets you into the gym and dining halls, and can also act as a laundry card. You can add money to it through the OneCard portal to use at the Ustore and vending machines around campus. You can also add dining points for meals and use the money on it to print papers at the WEPA stations around campus. You’ll also need it to do late night studying at Cook Library since it lets you into the building after hours. Your OneCard can also come in handy if you like discounts. If you keep your eyes peeled, some area stores and eateries will offer student discounts to those with valid student identification. Sites like studentrate.com can help you keep track of deals in the area.

What group fitness activities does Towson offer?

If you’re looking to stay in shape but feel like using the machines alone at the gym isn’t for you, you’re in luck. Campus Recreation offers group fitness activities regularly for people who would rather eat their least favorite food than try to find space by the weight rack. From Barre to Zumba, and almost everything in between, there is a fitness class for everyone. All you need is a valid Towson OneCard, giving you access to the free classes. It’s also possible to pre-register for classes of your choice, but walk-ins are welcome as well. However, walk-ins should know that they will only be admitted if there is space remaining in the class. Schedules are posted online and around the gym. Be sure to keep your eye on them as some class details may change periodically.

Where should I eat on campus?

To get a good meal in the dining hall, you need to luck out. Depending on the day and time you go, the menu will change. You can look at the menu on the dineoncampus.com/towson, but it isn’t always 100% accurate. Towson currently has two dining halls, in West Village Commons and Newell Hall, that have options for any diet or allergy needs. The best places for food are the retail locations around campus, and a few suggestions are World of Pasta in Patuxent Bistro and Paws Café in the Union. Fusions Grille is the most popular spot, however, beware of the possibility of long lines around 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. If you want Chick-Fil-A, be prepared for a long line, especially for fries. I recommend trying as many of the retail locations as possible and deciding what you like, there should be something on campus you will enjoy.

What should I wear to class?

Trying to figure out what to wear for class can feel intimidating. Do you dress up? Is it bad if you dress down? Honestly, the best way to dress, is a combination of both. While the summertime brings hot and humid days, Towson’s buildings don’t hold back on the A/C. Dress appropriately for the weather outside, but bring a sweater or flannel to throw on. Being cold can be a distraction in class. Furthermore, a outfit may look sloppy if you run into someone important, but wearing a super fancy outfit can be very uncomfortable to sit in for long periods of time. My trick? Pick one article of clothing that looks nice, and pair it with another article of clothing that is comfortable. For example, a flannel, a t-shirt, and a nice pair of pants. Leggings are also a great option, as they are comfortable and can be dressed up or down.

What food should I keep in my dorm?

Stocking up on snacks for your dorm room is super important. You will want to take snacks with you to eat in between classes, and you don’t want to go hungry if the dining hall closes before you make it out of your night class. To start, I recommend bags of popcorn for a warm, salty snack. Bags of trail mix and almonds are great healthy snacks to keep in your backpack for when the day slips away from you and you need a quick pick-me-up. Ramen and any other microwave noodles are perfect for the days you just don’t feel like going to the dining hall for lunch or dinner. Granola bars are perfect for a quick on-the-go breakfast before class. Fruit snacks, rice Krispies treats, and individually packaged cookies are more snack ideas for late night cravings during a long study sesh. Put these snacks in a container with a lid under your bed and they won’t go out of date for a while! 

Where should I eat off campus?

Want to go out to lunch with some new friends? Are your parents visiting and asking you where they should take you for dinner? Have no fear. Here’s some off-campus dining locations I recommend you try. Nacho Mamas is a great option for a fun environment with friends or to catch up with mom over chips and guac. This is a nice, local option to take out-of-towners who want you to show them the area, too. It’s located right in uptown and right next to the new “Welcome to Towson” mural! Other local, cheap eats include BJ’s Brew Pub (I suggest getting the pizookie!), Nando’s, On The Border, and TGI Fridays all located right near the mall. Atwtaters is just minutes away from campus, near Trader Joe’s and is an adorable little cafe perfect for catching up with friends, grabbing coffee in the drive through, or having a nice muffin for breakfast or warm sandwich for lunch. Go explore the wonderful city of Towson and find your new favorite place to eat.

How should I get along with my roommate?

Getting along with your roommate is important. You both are likely new to the University and are really wanting to make a great first impression. An important thing to do to make sure you both get along is to set boundaries and rules. When moving in, make sure you take the Roommate Agreement your RA gives you seriously. If there are any disputes or problems that occur later in the semester, it will be good to consult your agreement to make sure you both are following the rules. Although following the rules are important, so is getting to know each other. Going to dinner together every so often is a great way to get to know your roommate and check in with them on how college is going. However, don’t rely on your roommate to be your only friend. Because you will be living together, you will want time with other friends too. Have a nice balance of rules and friendship with your roommate and others and have fun.

– Compiled by Grace Coughlan, Mary-Ellen Davis, Ashley de Sampaio Ferraz, Bailey Hendricks, Meg Hudson, Jordan Kendall, Tim Klapac, Zac Soper and Suzanne Stuller

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