Welcome to campus, baby Badgers.

Your parents packed themselves into the family Nissan Rogue and fled these lands, leaving you stranded in a daunting whirlwind of mysterious faces. Your rowdy new roommate might have head lice and your dorm room is packed with hundreds of Ikea futons. Stay calm!

Your Badger pelt is new and silky; the city of Madison an unexplored marvel before you. As you begin your freshman year, don’t stand out as a clueless newcomer by avoiding these tragic freshman missteps:

  • Take that red Wisconsin lanyard off.

A bare neck says, “I am not a freshman, I have been here for thousands of years. I am a seasoned student and I am older than time itself.”

  • Don’t wear that free bookstore t-shirt.

Donning one of these ubiquitous shirts is a billowing cotton flag marking the wearer as a wardrobe-impaired freshman. Avoid ridicule by burning the shirt and burying the remains.

  • Quit traveling in packs.

While useful for deterring predators, walking in enormous herds will infuriate your older classmates and clog the narrow sidewalks of Madison.

  • Get off Google Maps on your way to a party.

Keeping your eyes on the illuminated rectangle before you casts a spotlight on your face that highlights you as a stranger to these lands. Seasoned Badgers travel in stealth.

  • Don’t arrive thirty minutes early to class.

Arriving early to the party is a luxury enjoyed only by the likes of A$AP Rocky. Ideal arrival time hovers around five to ten minutes before the class begins, allowing ample time for settling oneself in without appearing obnoxiously eager.

  • Leave your personal planner at home.

A spiral-bound, colorful planner is a helpful and engaging accessory for a fourth grader. Unless this applies to you, it’s best to keep your personal itinerary digitized.

  • Wait a while to sign a house or apartment lease.

Every landlord in Madison has a lying snake tongue, and will try to convince you that you must find shelter for next year by late October. There is living space available year round, and rushing for a lease could soil your next year with a rotten home full of people you stopped enjoying a year ago.