Column: A more honest UConn preview
Published: Monday, March 11, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 10, 2013 23:03
Since all UConn freshman applicants heard back on March 1 about whether they were accepted, the campus has been filled with tours over the past few weeks. Overhearing bits and pieces as I walk around, and also remembering my high school tour, it seems the message communicated is largely numbers: this many valedictorians, this many majors, this percentage of minorities. But what is the real UConn experience, the one that makes me enjoy going here?
Hi, and thanks for stopping by UConn! Either that or you’re here to experience the legendary Storrs, Connecticut nightlife for yourself. My name is Jesse, and I’ll be your tour guide today. As high school seniors, you are wondering whether UConn is the right college for you. Don’t be disillusioned by the weather today! For most of the school year, it’s even colder and grayer.
First, some history. UConn was founded in 1881 with only males, just like the competitors in last month’s eating contest in the Student Union. After we were founded, a bunch of stuff happened for the next hundred years until the basketball team became good. Okay, that should pretty much bring you up to speed.
UConn has six campuses: the main campus in Storrs and five regional campuses in… somewhere. I think one of them is in Glastonbury? Maybe? Easily the best thing about UConn is the affordability. Compared to Harvard or Yale, our tuition costs a lot less, our room and board cost a lot less, plus we have produced far fewer alumni who caused the economic collapse.
Official UConn promotional material you received in the mail is full of facts and figures that only your parents care about: cost of this, percentage of that. Boring! Having just finished high school pre-calculus, you liberal arts majors never want to see a number again unless it’s Parade Magazine’s annual “Celebrity salaries revealed” issue. I don’t understand how Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen made $40 million last year either.
So here are five important things you really need to know if you go to UConn.
First and foremost, the best ice cream flavor at the UConn Dairy Bar is Husky Tracks: vanilla ice cream with fudge swirl and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Some people will try to convince you otherwise, claiming that the best flavor is the Jonathan Supreme: vanilla ice cream with peanut butter swirl, and chocolate covered peanuts. These people are Communists.
UConn is a member of Boston Library Consortium, a loaning partnership of several dozen university libraries. This allows serious young academics to read and research scholarly materials located at other institutions. In four years, you will never meet anybody who actually uses the service that way. Rather, the Consortium allows you to rent DVDs of virtually any movie or show ever made, free of charge like a no-cost Netflix. In the mood for the 2000 classic “Dude, Where’s My Car?” Williams College in Massachusetts has a copy.
Eat at all the ‘theme dinners’ the dining halls ever offers. You can’t miss last year’s Harry Potter dinner in McMahon, the surprisingly-racist-but-it-actually-happened Black History Month luncheon in Putnam, or the Cinco de Mayo meal in Whitney held last May 3. Seriously. What’s next, a July 4 barbeque on July 2?
If you are ever the randomly-selected student section member at basketball games chosen to participate in a contest, ask to compete in the “Subway Shuffle.” Unlike every other contest – make a half-court shot for a thousand dollars, etc. – this is the only one requiring absolutely zero skill. Basically, on the video screen a ball is shown being placed underneath one of three adjacent cups, the cups move around for a bit, then you have to say which cup the ball is under for a Subway gift card. The cups don’t even move that fast.
Finally, important item number five: at the beginning of your freshman year, you will be given two things: a Student ID and a Net ID. For the following four years, you will always confuse which one is which.
That’s it for the tour, thanks for coming, and I hope you come to UConn next year! Or most of you, at least. I'm not sure we have enough beds for all of you.