Pandora’s Box Freshman Survival Guide For The 2018-2019 Academic Year

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By Angel Adegbesan

Freshmen year is crazy. Point made.

But the year can get better with some guidance. If you missed orientation, here’s a recap. So here it is, a freshman survival guide.

Food: I remember my first day on campus. I had brought my own lunch but I could not find any seat that was not crowded. So, guess where I had my lunch? The B staircase on the 4th floor where no one could see me. Sounds extreme? For a whole semester, I survived on snacks from the vending machine because the cafeteria was always too crowded and there were no places to sit. Every vending machine charges you a fee of ten cents every time you purchase a snack with a debit or credit card.

However, times have changed. The Student Government Association has helped created more sitting places for students around the campus. So you don’t even have to eat your food in the cafeteria.

Aside from the cafeteria on the first floor, there is the Cardinal Cafe which serves Starbucks coffee on the second floor. You can buy snacks, breakfast, coffee and tea in the cafe. There are also some chain fast food restaurants outside of campus. A McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Chipotle, Panda Express, Pizza hut, Taco Bell, Applebee’s, and a recently opened Boston Market (if you are into that) are on Jamaica Avenue. There is also a food court up on Jamaica Avenue where you can get food at a relatively cheap price.  

Textbooks: York’s online bookstore, Akademos, offers you the textbooks you need for class weeks before classes start, so you have time to compare the prices on various websites (Amazon, Chegg, Akademos etc.). Akademos offers free shipping for orders below $49. One advice, wait till the first day of class to get your textbooks. You might be anxious to get your things done and ready for class, but you never know if your professor will make you get it or not. Do not let the “required” on CUNYFirst fool you. Some professors have other options for textbooks that they allow. For example, older editions (which are cheaper), e-books, pdfs, etc. Some professors, however, require the textbook within the first week. Which brings me to…

Rate My Professor: This is exactly what it means. A Website where professors get rated by students who have had classes with them. Now, with this website, take caution. Not all comments are true. You have to weed out the lazy students’ comments to find out the whole truth. Also, note the dates of the comments; professors change over time.

Computer labs: Printing your homework last minute is part of college life. The guest computers in the library are not your friends during club hours. (Side note: please don’t spend more than 15 minutes on the guest computers. Other people need them too). If you are in dire need of printing, the SGA computer lab is open to all. It is located right next to the library. The computer lab in the second floor of the Classroom Building is also a good place for your computer and printing needs. There is also another computer lab on the fourth floor in room 4C13.   

Health and Physical Education Complex: This building has many amenities available to all York students. These are a gymnasium, weight room, pool, lockers, and showers. There are also tennis courts, an outdoor running track, and a grass field for team and field sports. There are also classrooms in this building located on the first and third floor.

Library: The library has two floors- the second floor is the quietest place in the library. So if you want to focus better then head down to the second floor. This is where the books for take out are stored. It also has computers and many individual study areas. The first floor is where the IT Desk, the Reservation and Reserve desk, and the Reference desk are located. The first floor has computers, printers, scanners, individual study areas, and conference rooms. It tends to get more packed and less quiet during club hours.   

  • Reservation and Reserve: This is where you go in the library to take out textbooks that you need in class and use them for about two hours, and also take out certain books outside the library for certain weeks. This is also where you go to reserve study rooms, loan laptops and Surface Pro tablets for a maximum of two hours, and update your York College ID.  
  • Study group conference rooms: These rooms are first come, first served, but you could also book these rooms one week in advance by going to this URL: https://creserve.york.cuny.edu/.  
  • Online library: You can also use the online library on York’s website to search for books available in the library, access websites like JSTOR or Nexis Uni for peer-reviewed journals or articles for your research papers and so much more. You also have access to a CUNY wide database to look for books that may not be stored at York in other CUNY campuses.  

Collaborative Learning Center: This is the writing center. It is located in room 1C18 in the Academic Core building. York College Collaborative Learning Center aims to provide tutoring services to all York students for free. You can always find tutors to assist you in their work hours from Monday to Saturday. This is the office’s phone number: 718-262-2303/ 718-262-2494.

Counseling Center: This is located in room AC-1G03. The mission of the Counseling Center is to provide opportunities for students to centralize their personal and academic goals. The counseling and psychological services are free. If interested in scheduling an appointment, you should call at: 718-262-2272 or go to the office to schedule one.

Health Center: This is located in AC-1F01. The health center is there to help you monitor your school medical records and also to help you when you are sick. According to the Health Center’s website, the center promotes holistic health, including mental health, illness prevention, early recognition of illness, and make appropriate referrals as necessary. You can also get free tampons and pads.   

York’s Website: It provides the location, phone number and emails of every single department and offices of faculty and staff at York College. Via the online library on the website, you can get a free access to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and other scholarly articles for research purposes.

York Email: Check your York email constantly. Important emails will be sent out to your Yorkmail in regards of school, classes and events happening in the school. Most of the professors use Yorkmail to communicate with you, especially if you are taking an online class through Blackboard. It has happened to me many times that a professor cancels class at last minute, sends an email, and I come to school in vain because I didn’t check my Yorkmail before I left my house. Also, check your spam and junk email folders for emails. One way to have instant access is to link your York email with your personal one so you get a notification every time you get one. The IT Desk located right at the entrance of the Library on the third floor can help you link your yorkmail with your personal email. That’s also the place to go if you want to set up your Yorkmail, but if you don’t want to travel all the way to the third floor you could set it up through York’s Website. Click on the faculty/staff tab, then click on IT Self Service and then click on the web systems tab.    

Student Clubs: There are 42 registered student clubs on campus. If you want to be an advocate for the student body at York then consider joining the Student Government Association (SGA). Student government provides a voice for students to discuss issues or recommendations with faculty and staff. SGA also hosts many events to spread school spirit and help freshmen integrate into college life. SGA will host a freshman Q&A seminar on Sept 20. from 5pm-7pm in the Academic Core building.

Pandora’s Box is also registered as a club. If you want to report and write on the latest issues going on at York and the surrounding Jamaica, Queens area then consider joining PB. Our office is located in room 2C13. York College also has an online radio station called YCRadio. If you would like to have your own radio show then head down to room 1G06 and speak with Ryan Graves, the lead moderator.

Almost every major and department at York has a student club. Head to your department and talk with professors and students to find out the name of the club and when they meet.

If you are unsatisfied with the clubs and feel like you don’t fit in none of them, you could also start your own club. You will need to go to the Office of Student Development in room 1F02A to get more information on how to start your own club.

Be reminded, a club fair will be happening in Oct. 4 in the Atrium from 12-2 pm.    

YC Cardinal App: A great platform to navigate your way around campus and school work. This app did not exist when I first got here, but it has been useful for me since it came out. You can ask questions, buy and sell textbooks, make and join groups in the app which could be useful in order to contact club leaders. Download it if you haven’t already.

Relaxing Places: There are rarely any quiet places on campus to relax. It is college after all. Zero recess time. But, perhaps in the library for a few minutes if there is nothing going on in the Atrium. Around the Cardinal Cafe are many seats where you can relax. There is a game room located in the Academic Core building in room 1F02. Students can utilize this game room to use the latest video game consoles, play pool for $1 per game, chess, various card games and family board games.

Stores around York: You don’t have to walk far to get toiletries, or take out money when you are at York. The block between 159th street and Jamaica Avenue houses many stores, a movie theater, and a Rite Aid with an ATM. There are also ATMs on York’s campus. There’s a Citibank ATM on the first floor near the Art Gallery, and there’s a Santander Bank ATM in the second floor, close to the Cardinal cafe.  

Making new friends: Everyone is your friend in an acquaintance-y way. If you notice you have two or more classes with the same people, trust me, the person sitting next to you is probably anxious too. Say ‘Hello.” It hurts no one.

So, there it is, have a great semester! If you’re interested in writing, come by Pandora’s Box’s office in 2C13. You never know, you could make a new friend!

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