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You’re fresh out of high school and just about to start embarking on a new adventure called college. You go from the top of the heap to the bottom just like that. In one year, you’ll be a sophomore and you’ll never look back on your first year again. Or maybe you will look back in a few years and say, “Boy was I stupid back then!” But for now, you’re a freshman, and here are 10 ways you just know you are at UMD.

1. Leaving the  North Campus dining hall through the side door and sounding the alarm

Just two years ago, this would not be a problem. Back then, UMD had a point system dining plan where each item cost a certain amount of points. Each semester, you would get around 1,200 points (regular meal plan) to eat at the dining halls. If you ran out before the semester was over, good luck because you weren’t getting any extra. Naturally people complained about this system and UMD listened. They switched to an all-you-can-eat dining plan in the Fall of 2016 and made it so all food had to be consumed on the premises. Unfortunately, that meant people started hoarding food so to combat that, all other doors except for the main door had alarms installed. If a student tried to exit via any door other than the main one, the alarm would sound.

2. Trying to get up on the roof of your dormitory

The UMD dormitories are all really tall… like 8 stories to be exact. A common thing freshmen try to do is to attempt to find the roof access and get to the roof. A few have actually succeeded in doing so. Nobody knows how they managed to do so especially after UMD specifically prohibited climbing on top of buildings in the code of conduct. Chaining the roof access shut seems to be a sound idea, but it hasn’t been done yet. Hey, it may be illegal, but damn everything looks so much better from up there as opposed to on the ground.

3. Drinking booze in the dorms

UMD is notorious as one of the top 50 party schools in the U.S. And for good reason, there are some really lax RAs in the dorms and a lenient alcohol policy. RAs are supposed to check for alcohol in the dorm room periodically, but some turn a blind eye even when the room inspections come and there are cases of beer in plain sight. The policy designed to get help for students with alcohol poisoning help contributes to the problem. The policy is if you get help for a friend who has had too much to drink, neither one of you will get punished for drinking. A lot of freshmen take advantage of this loophole to consume their first alcoholic beverage. As long as they don’t do it again, nothing bad will happen to them.

4. Making a mad dash to the convenience store at the end of the semester because you still have dining dollars to spend

UMD gives people 300 dining dollars included with every meal plan to spend at cafés and shops around campus. You would think it would be easy to spend all 300 dollars in one semester right? Well many freshmen don’t know about the cafés on campus. They only know about the dining halls and convenience stores. Although the stuff at the convenience stores is crazy expensive, there is only so much that can be bought at one time. And so the inevitable rush of 50 students inside of the small convenience store on North Campus has become a bit of a tradition. No one wants to leave UMD with their precious dining dollars still available so they start buying batteries and shampoo. Hey, you gotta get your money’s worth right?!

5. Climbing Terp Hill for the first and last time

There’s a steep hill on the side of the STAMP Student Union that everyone knows to avoid. Everyone that is except if you’re a freshman. The slope is around 45 degrees and it’s a straight walk up, no breaks in between. The smart people just go through STAMP to save around 10 minutes. If you’re a freshman though, you’ll probably be like, “Pssh, what hill? I can do that no problem!” You’ll regret it 10 painful minutes later when you can hardly stand up.

6. Questioning the holiness of Testudo

Yes, he is the school mascot. No, there is no questioning whether he is a god. Often freshmen will say, “He’s just a turtle. How can rubbing his stupid nose possibly bring me good luck?” Whoever told you that rumor will most certainly not be passing at least one of their classes this semester. Testudo is displeased at your lack of faith. He finds your lack of faith deeply disturbing in fact.

7. Wondering where Wallace Loh lives (for about two seconds)

Wallace Loh is the current President of the University of Maryland College Park. Freshmen usually get the invitation to an ice-cream social at his house first come first serve (it’s literally gone in 10 seconds). But where does Loh live? Is it off campus yet somewhere near? It’s a mystery to most freshmen. You might get a clue if you go to the Clarice Performing Arts Center though. Just off to the side of Lot 1 before you hit the Clarice Performing Arts Center, there is a long and winding road. It leads to a circle with a gigantic mansion in front. And that is where Wallace Loh lives. Mystery solved.

8. Not knowing the words to the Maryland fight song

Remember at orientation when your orientation guides tried to teach you the words to the Maryland fight song? Yeah, who does? It’s literally three months before you enter school. And they don’t drill the song into you after that. So imagine it’s the day of the first football game. Everyone around you knows the words to the song. And suddenly you’re the guy who tries to look like he’s singing but you’re actually just opening and closing your mouth.

9. Getting lost the first two weeks of class

Yeah, it happens. It’s really rough getting around such a large campus as UMD especially if you don’t know your way around. There’s nothing worse than missing the first few minutes of class because you can’t remember where a particular building is located. Or maybe you have found it, but you don’t know you’ve found it. And then you die of embarrassment when you ask someone and they tell you, “Dude, you’re standing right in front of it.”

10. Asking questions like “What are some stupid things freshmen do?” on the UMD Reddit page

Well, someone finally thought they would be sneaky and ask a question about freshmen which being a freshman. Why? Only a freshman could post something as silly as, “What are some stupid things that freshmen do?” The post is like a giant “hit me” sign. You’re saying, “I’m a freshman, but I don’t want to make freshman mistakes. What can I do to act like I’m not a freshman?” The answer is, first, don’t ask questions like the above. And second, don’t be surprised when everyone figures out you’re a freshman. But hey, at least you get points for trying not to make freshmen mistakes!

Ahh, freshmen, so young and so innocent. Adults by age only, and not maturity. They have much to learn regarding what they can and can’t do now that they are independent adults. No more of the hand-holding that goes on in high school. No, these professors are ruthless. Real life is ruthless. It’s a struggle to survive and only the fittest make the cut. The freshmen that survive have passed the test and will now be known as sophomores.



Computer Science student at the University of Maryland. Bibliophile and enjoys trying new things and hanging out with friends.

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