Being a Bobcat: Essential Tips for a GREAT Texas State Experience
By Andrew Osegi
To the incoming freshman, the transfer student, the misinformed undergrad or the curious prospect, Texas State University can be a maze of hills, stairs, majors and student orgs. To help you navigate that maze, you need some essential insider knowledge.
With input from a few fellow students, I’ve compiled the following tips to help you make the most of your Texas State experience. These secrets can greatly impact your time at Texas State. Remember them, and you’ll do just fine.
Know your shortcuts. Although the Texas State campus is renowned for its beauty, the hills it was built upon can be unforgiving. Learn the quickest routes to your destinations or suffer the consequences in the Texas heat.
Utilize the school resources available to you. Organizations and departments dedicated to students are here to help you, so take full advantage of them. The Writing Center in Flowers Hall, the Bike Cave located in the Colorado Building and Career Services in the LBJ Student Center are just a few examples of the organizations that provide services to students in need. You are paying for these services through your tuition and fees, so use them!
With great swipes comes great responsibility. Newly renovated, all-you-can-eat dining halls Harris and Commons are the ideal spots on campus to fill your belly and your hollow leg. They offer a variety of food options for even the pickiest of eaters. If you’re not interested in the cafeteria experience, visit The Lair in the LBJ Student Center or The Den in ASBS. These food courts offer smoothies, sandwiches, burgers, and the best chicken strips on campus from familiar restaurants like Blimpie, Starbucks and Einstein Bros. Bagels. If you’re on a meal plan, budget your swipes and Bobcat Buck$ so you’re not starving at the end of the semester.
The early bird catches the Bobcat Tram. Texas State buses are an undeniable asset to the student community, but they do get packed during peak hours (8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.), so get used to it. The earlier you get to your stop the better. And, if you’re a guy, give up your seat to lady when it gets crowded.
Choose your schedule wisely. Make sure you craft a schedule that fits your personality. You’ve paid for the classes you are taking, and you have the freedom to add, drop or change classes to your liking. The PACE Center can help with that. If you’re a night owl, avoid 8 a.m. classes. If you need an open day to study or work, build your schedule with Fridays off.
Attend at lease ONE athletic event. Texas State Athletics just moved into the Western Athletic Conference, bringing the Bobcats into the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and elevating our level of competition in all 16 NCAA sports. We are pumped for this upcoming year! Show your Texas State pride and frequent the sporting events. Don’t miss out on tailgating season!
Find the best places to study on campus. It’s hard to define the perfect study spot, but there are plenty of contenders around campus. Alkek Library – which offers study rooms, computers with printers and stellar views of San Marcos – is a hot spot during finals week. Local coffee shops and cafés present suitable study environments for students who want to break away from campus distractions. And, if the weather is right, a good bench on the Quad or a grassy knoll by the river can provide a needed escape from your desk.
Aim for the Honors College. The Texas State Honors College provides intellectual exploration dedicated to creating a more holistic academic experience for their students. The unique courses offered at the college stimulate academic insight and are taught by professors who use innovative teaching methods. That’s not to say other Texas State departments are any less valuable, but the word on the street is the Honor College at Texas State is something very special, indeed.
Stay connected with your university. Don’t be that person who doesn’t know what’s up with his school! Stay connected to Texas State via its student-run media, such as The University Star and KTSW 89.9, for up-to-date Texas State and San Marcos news. If you live in the 21st century, follow your university on Twitter and like it on Facebook.
Don’t mess with Texas State parking. Be mindful where you park unless you welcome the possibility of being ticketed or towed. The university offers a parking map, and Parking Services can help with permits.
Get involved. The Texas State experience just isn’t the same if you don’t join a student organization. There are dozens of groups to choose from, and the chance you’ll find something that’s for you is fairly high. However, it is recommended that you join an organization that suits your career path – ASG for political science majors, or H.E.A.T for the non-profit, environmental volunteering experience. Interested in joining a fraternity or sorority? Texas State lays claim to an impressive Greek community as well.
Try new things. As a college student at one of the premier universities in Texas, it’s recommended that students of all ranks explore their opportunities on and around campus. Go check out downtown San Marcos and see what’s new. Experiment with the variety of local restaurants and food trailers around town or go on a camping trip through the Outdoor Center. There’s a thriving music scene here in San Marcos. Visit the river as often as you can and discover in your own way what makes San Marcos and Texas State so special.
Hopefully this small list can help those yearning for the ultimate Texas State experience. If you have any other tips or advice worth mentioning, feel free to share them with us!
Andrew Osegi is a junior in the School of Mass Communication and Journalism at Texas State University. He is a reporter for the University Star and a social media coordinator in the Office of University Marketing at Texas State. Connect with him on Twitter by following @AEOsegi.