Small town survival guide

Many a new Coug will be taking the same perilous first step: the heady transition from big city to small college town. The transition from thriving culture, comfort, and ready access to all wonderful retail outlets and chain restaurants will disappear. It can be painful, disconcerting and shocking. However, the new WSU student has the experience of many who have come before. So read on and learn how to survive the small town.

First, strategically plot out how to get those errands done.

Dissmore’s may be close and relatively convenient, but it is expensive. They consciously mark up prices for their close proximity to campus. Therefore, go to grocers farther out. Take the bus, carpool, rent a U-Haul if you must. Most importantly, take lots of bags. However, that extra time spent on an excursion to Walmart and Safeway will save the pocketbook. Stock up on non-perishables, and plot out menu plans for the week. It will pay off on the long run as extra cash appears for coffee dates in the afternoon and those weekend nights out.

Second, remember shopping online does exist. This is the 21st century, so that means Ikea, Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Macy’s, Nordstrom, J. Crew, and Banana Republic all ship. In fact, online often has more choices than the outlets. Just have a decent sense of your sizes, what you need, and how urgently you need it.

On this note of technology, seriously consider investing in a Netflix account on your own or as a community depending on your living situation. Binging all the time is never recommended, especially during a school year. However, this does not preclude those weekend marathons with popcorn and pizza.

Third, take advantage of any and all campus activities, freebies, games, BBQs, film nights, concerts, shows, etc. WSU is the beating academic heart of Pullman, so it will end up being the center of social life and activity. Join clubs, make day trips, and participate in artistic, recreational, and social activities. Get the weekend ski passes during the winter season. “Take advantage of everything you already paid for,” says Samantha Hege, Assistant Director of Enrollment Counseling in the Officer of Admissions. “Take advantage of the residence hall, and make the most out of the first six weeks of school.”

Fourth, make friends who own vehicles. Not everyone will have a car, and that’s okay. Insurance, petrol, and maintenance all cost money. However, there are those who have the means and will to have the automobile. Therefore, find those wonderful people who will lend a ride in exchange for a plate of cookies, sharing in the gas money, or a drink at the Coug.

There are plenty of ways to share and make things even. Jeff Reed, junior and orientation counselor, says, “Make friends in your residence hall, and go to club meetings. I had never thought of going to things like the International Business club before WSU.” Clubs are great ways to make friends with whom you will share all kinds of experiences.

Fifth, remember this region of Washington has more than Pullman. Moscow is a fifteen-minute drive away, and banking on success in step for you and your friends could truly make the most of the local area. Expand your horizons beyond the urban jungle to bask in the true uniqueness that is the Palouse. Go camping, white water rafting, and skiing (or snowboarding) season permitting. Remember: this is the opportunity to expand horizons and take in more than you are used to. Make the area your playground.

Sixth, look to join specifically recreational clubs. This means intramurals, fitness classes at the UREC, and even club teams. “I had never done baseball or softball before coming here,” said Reed. The more ways you can look to fill your time, the better. That means taking those empty hours on Saturday and Sunday mornings or afternoons to work out. Your body, mind, stress level, and even significant other will thank you.

Finally, never let “it’s a college town” be an excuse for anything. If your house yard looks atrocious, get some experience in yard work. It will help down the road, and your landlord might thank you for improving property value. Keep a garden. Pick up the glass. Mobilize your friends to make your street beautiful.

A lot of locals are proud Pullmanites, and you should learn to be one, too. Never settle for inferior standards of living, service, or manners simply because “it’s a college down.”

“Pullman is unique because you have the ability to connect so many people and don’t have to go far,” said Hege. Make being in this college town the best it can be, and remember you are now part of a giant extended Cougar family.