Tag Archives: cars

Unofficial Orientation Series 2016: Getting There From Here

This is a repost of my 2015 update of daniphantom‘s 2014 update of her 2013 post. Ha!

Yes, this is from Björk's video for "Triumph of a Heart."

Yes, this is from Björk’s video for “Triumph of a Heart.”

This is part of our 2016 Unofficial Orientation Series. A quick reminder that you can check out the welcome post here and past years’ series here.

If you have a car — lucky you. Most of today’s installment doesn’t apply to you, except that we’re all very jealous of your ready access to transportation. If you don’t have a car, consider making friends with someone who does.

As any current Wes student will tell you, one area in which Middletown is seriously lacking is its ability to help you get out of Middletown (not that you would ever want to, of course). The closest train station is in Meriden, though your best bet for getting out of town is to go to Union Station in New Haven or Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks (near Hartford). Getting there, though, is quite the challenge. At one point there was even a campus organization strictly dedicated to improving transportation. Lucky for you, we at Wesleying, along with our friends at the Peer Advisor Blog, have attempted to compile a list of the car-less ways to get to Connecticut’s two main transportation hubs to make your lives easier.

BREAKING: Car Parked the Wrong Way on Home Ave For Freakin’ Ever

Anonymous Person ’12 sends in this handy graphic to illustrate the situation at the scene of the crime. In brief: CAR. PARKED BACKWARDS. MANY DAYS. HEAVY PARKING FINES. AP ’12 adds:

car parked on home avenue the wrong way: just writing in about a car that has been parked the wrong way on home avenue for the last week or so and is accumulating heavy fines. not sure if this is a wesleyan car even, but just thought i would try and send this in. Massachusetts license plate, first three numbers 828.

Fun fact: there is a Wikipedia page on “Parking,” but the neutrality of its “Economics of Parking” subsection is disputed. I can’t really imagine a better way to procrastinate than by editing it. But really, what is up with this vehicle?

Vassar Embezzlement Scandal

Vassar has found itself embroiled in quite the legal morass(…er) — now that you’ve been sufficiently nauseated by that, you might be interested to learn of the comparably reproachable actions of former Vassar employee Arthur Fisher and his wife, Jennifer Fisher, who were arrested last Friday in connection with the embezzlement of approximately $1.9 million from Vassar College.

The good people of Mads Vassar have provided excellent coverage of the developing legal situation so far. For those of you not inclined to venture far afield in the blogosphere, here are the central details of the case:

  • Fisher, a construction project manager at Vassar, ostensibly managed to leech the money from the school’s construction capital budget under the pretense of funding a nonexistent project over the course of his five year tenure, which concluded last December.
  • Financial inconsistencies found during an examination of project reports tipped off administrators to Fisher’s withdrawals (no word has yet been issued on the precise methods used by the defendants to accrue the cash money flo’).
  • A search of the Fishers’ Ossining home turned up five vehicles whose total value hovers around half a million dollars, several Rolexes (appraised at around $50k), and perhaps most disturbingly, a staggering cache of unregistered firearms and forged government identification.

Links to further reportage (Washington Post, Huffington Post, Poughkeepsie Journal, Associated Press) can be found here.

[Photos credited to the Poughkeepsie Journal]

Gas Prices Affecting College Classes?

A recent NYT article reports that the high cost of gas has caused college students to opt for online classes more and more. Unlike students at Wesleyan,

The vast majority of the nation’s 15 million college students — at least 79 percent — live off campus, and with gas prices above $4 a gallon, many are seeking to cut commuting costs by studying online.

For the most part, this affects community colleges, which offer a lot more online courses. However, the article takes it a little extreme when the president of a community college in Florida expresses concern that mounting fuel costs could force some students to drop out of college altogether, especially since only a fraction of courses at most colleges are offered online.”

Also, the article recognizes that online courses do exclude certain categories of people, mainly those students who live in rural (and to add, poor inner-city) areas:

“The infrastructure doesn’t exist to give all rural students clear online access,” said Stephen G. Katsinas, a professor at the University of Alabama. “Rural America is where the digital divide is most dramatic.”

It appears that this is more of an incendiary piece to fuel the dreaded gas-scare uproar, but maybe for once Wesleyan’s on-campus living rule can be appreciated.

Holly and Xue’s Dorm Living FAQZ!

Q: How are the dorms furnished?
A: Depends on your dorm. All rooms have a bed, desk, a chair or two, and some sort of dresser/closet. Most, but not all, also have shelving, whether it’s a separate bookcase or planks stapled to the wall.

What your room WON’T have: A garbage can. See the facebook group “They Took Our Trash Cans So Fauver Could Have Fucking Plasma TVs.”

Q: “Are there floor plans I can look at?”
A: No.

Q: …Er…So…where AM I living?
A: Well, Reslife decided to do it a little differently this year. See the e-mail they sent out to current students here.

Q: How do I get shit to stick to my walls?
A: Tack. Double-sided tape. Generally speaking, anything that doesn’t ruin your posters won’t stick to the cinderblock. The lucky fuckers in Fauver are again the exception, as they have drywall.

Q: How big are the freshman rooms?
A: Also depends….here are our personal sizing estimates:

  • Clark: You will share a small room with another person.
  • Fauver: You will share an even smaller room with another person.
  • Butts: If you are lucky enough to have a single, you have the potential to be a wesleyan sex god. However, if you are in one of the triples they have recently created, god help you.
  • Nics: Single? See butts single. Two-room double? Not too bad, either. One-room double? Ehhh…It’s doable.
  • Westco: You’ll be too stoned to give a shit. (Or you can read Christine’s comment at the bottom of this post to see what Westco rooms are really like.)
  • 200 Church: An ’08 student says: “Normal-ish in most all ways including size but the walls are so fucking thin you can hear people next door breathe. But geez, you can’t beat the location.”

Some kids will have pitifully small rooms; others could (and do) hold band practice in theirs. In the past some students have had doubles to themselves, though apparently since they’re squeezing freshmen into triples this year, that appears unlikely. Though if you meet someone who has a double-sized single, it’s totally okay to kick them in the face. They’ll understand.

Q: Really?
A: No. You kick someone in the face and they’ll throw you out of school.

Q: HOLY SHIT, THERE ARE JUNIORS IN MY DORM!
A: Don’t be surprised if there are sophomores or even juniors living in your dorm/hall. It happens, this year especially because of a housing shortage. Be nice to them. Beg for food (they have all-points!). If anything, use them to go on liquor runs.

Q: How big are the beds?
A: Too big for your sheets and too small for imaginative sex.

Q: OMG I HATE MY ROOMMATE. Can I get rid of hir?
From here:

“A room freeze is in effect for the first two weeks of each semester. The third and fourth weeks of the semester are designated as a room-change period. Residents who wish to request a change in room assignment may do so during this time by obtaining a room-change form from any residential life staff member or from the Office of Residential Life. Students are required to follow the procedures outlined on the form to request the change.”

Psst–Reslife can still switch you out after the room-change period, but only if you have a damn good reason. But no matter what, remember that you don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, or even friends at all–Just be sure to communicate and 99% of conflicts can be resolved.

Q: …’Hir?’
A: “Hir” and “ze” are gender-neutral pronouns used in place of “him/her” and “he/she”, respectively. There are people on campus who prefer to be addressed using gender-neutral pronouns. They’re also useful when you’re unsure of a person’s gender (i.e. referring to a previous poster on the ACB. Confused? Don’t worry, it’ll be explained during orientation.

Q: What’s with the gender neutral bathrooms?
A: Simple: In most of the dorms, you pee with the other gender(s). You’ll get used to it.

Q: What’s this Network I keep hearing about?
A: See here.

Q: What are the fire hazard rules in my dorm? Will I get in trouble for bringing my psychadelic blacklight tapestries?! Fuck man!
A: You can read all about the fire code here. Fire inspections are performed once or twice a year, but they don’t check every room, or even every dorm. Most people disregard the fire hazard policies entirely, but be careful–From someone who nearly burned down my room freshman year, the regulations are there for a reason, so be careful with your george foreman. And people *DO* get fined. Quite a bit.

Q: Can I paint my room?
A: Yes, if you think it’s worth the risk. They’ve gotten stricter about room painting every year. Before, as long as you painted it back to white at the end of the year you could do whatever you wanted, but last year the RAs were told that inhabitants could be fined even if at any point during the year rooms were painted or otherwise defaced. And the fine is hefty–For a complete list of all the ridiculous shit you can be fined for, see here.

Q: My clothes smell funny. What should I do?
A: Febreeze.

Q: I tried that.
A: Ok, well, if you’re going to whine about it, there are washing machines all over the place. No, they don’t take quarters, so don’t bother–They take Middletown Cash, which you put on your WesID card with a credit card.

Q: WesID card? Middletown Cash? Points? WTF?
A: Your WesID card is your lifeline. You’ll get it during orientation. Do not lose it or it’ll cost you money. You need it for food, mail, and to laugh at your ID photo when you’re a senior. Points are the default meal plan monopoly money; Upperclassmen are on all-points, but frosh (and, starting this year, sophomores) have a set number of “meals” and then a handful of points. Middletown Cash is different from points. You can use them at certain restaurants in Middletown as well as for laundry, and they carry over from year to year (Points don’t.)

Q: So where do I eat?
A: We had a guide to eating and drinking things at Wesleyan, but it’s horribly outdated since Mocon is gone, the new campus center is opening and we’re switching food service providers. Feel free to read it, but don’t expect any of it to be accurate come next year.

Q: What’s up with the new campus center?
A: To be honest, we don’t know. For people who run a blog specifically about life at Wesleyan, we know shockingly little about it. But you can here us speculate here.

Q: How do I register my car?
A: Good question. Bring your insurance, registration, and $50 to the Office of Public Safety (on High Street). You will then get a sticker that you place in the rear window of your car designating that you have registered your car. On the sticker, it will indicate what year you are and thus the appropriate parking lot you should be in. All Freshmen must park their cars in the V-lot, next to the tennis courts on Vine Street.

Q: I don’t have a car! What do I do???
A: To quote Droz from PCU (the movie everyone knows is based on Wesleyan and won’t shut up about it): “Will you have a car? … Someone on your hall will. Find them and make friends with them on the first day.”

Q: HOW DO I GET HOME TO MOMMY AND DADDYZ?!
A: The most local airport is Bradley in Hartford. The most local train hub is Union Staton in New Haven. There is an Amtrak station in Meriden. How you get to and from these places will largely depend on how many people you know with a car and/or the shuttle services that Wesleyan offers during break periods.

Q: WHAT?! THAT’S IT?!
A: There was a ride board in the campus center, but who knows what it’ll be like next year with the new building. You can always exploit student group listservs. There is also a facebook group dedicated to the same thing, and now you can facebook message and post marketplace ads.

Q: How far away is New York and/or Boston by car?
A: Shut up. You’ll never go.

Q: No, seriously.
A: Ok, well, New York and Boston are about two hours away each. Hartford is about 30 minutes away and so is New Haven. Maybe, I’m just guessing. Like I said, you will probably not go to these places on a regular basis.

Q: Should I bring a bike?
A: Yes and No. Bikes are really useful to have around on campus, especially to get to Middletown, but chances are you won’t need to go to Middletown often except for banking and maybe groceries (though the advent of the grocery section on amazon.com may change that forever). Also, since the campus is pretty small, a bicycle really isn’t necessary. However, the Wesleyan Outing Club often sponsors bike rides throughout the area that are a lot of fun, and if you need to go from the Butts to the CFA in a hurry, a bike really comes in handy. However, make sure you bring a lock–While it doesn’t have to be a super duper indestructable one, you still don’t want to leave your bike unlocked for any length of time (Holly had her bike seat stolen her freshman year and has never forgiven the perpetrator, and Xue had an unlocked bike swiped from the front porch). As for bike safety; well…If I were a responsible human being I would tell you to bring a helmet and wear it always, but the truth is that most people on campus do not wear helmets. So, your call.
Wesleyan also has a student-run bike club, Legit, that fixes bikes for free or just the price of parts.

Q: What’s in Middletown?
A: Quite a bit if you stop bitching about how it’s not New York or Boston. Here’s a nice list.

Q: Can I bring my dog/cat/bearded dragon?
A: No, sorry. Two years ago, Reslife overhauled the housing contract to exclude all incoming pets with the exception of fish. Before this institutional change, Wesleyan students were allowed to have small caged pets such as hamsters, iguanas, gerbils, etcetera, etcetera. Despite the efforts of some noble pet-owning warriors and a petition, only returning students may bring pets to school as part of a grandfather clause.

However, this does mean you can bring awesome FISH to Wesleyan.

Fish We Recommend:
– Barracuda
– Pirana
– Sharks
– Stingrays
Candiru

Q: Where can I find liquid refreshment?
A: If you’re smart enough to get into Wesleyan, you’re smart enough to figure this out on your own within the first 48 hours of stepping onto campus.

Q: What about other…sorts of…err…
A: It will be offered to you. Don’t worry. If they aren’t offered to you, get cooler. See our guide to being cool (work in progress).

Q: I’m straight-edge/don’t drink/smoke. Will I be left out?
A: Not at all! You’ll be offered all kinds of things out of goodwill and the spirit of sharing. Just say no, repeat, and people will remember.

Q: What happens if I get sick?
A: First of all, get rid of that mindset and change that question to “What happens when I get sick,” because it WILL happen. Sorry. The most common illnesses that go around campus are the common cold, the flu, and mono. Unfortunately, you’ll just have to tough it out, though if you’re really ill, it’s worth it to e-mail your professors and usually they’ll grant you an extension or understand if you skip class (Really! They’re nice people!) Weshop sells an assortment of cold remedies, and if you go to health services, they’ll give you a little cold-care pack of ibuprofen and cough drops.

Other rarer inflictions: You will sometimes hear people refer to “The Gastro”. This is because there was practically a gastroenteritis epidemic two winters ago, a.k.a. the two-day shit-and-vomit extravaganza. Also, the foss hill dorms had somewhat of a bat problem, leading to a flurry of rabies vaccinations and the infamous Argus Weekly Bat Count.

The health center also offers gyno exams and tests for every STD imaginable, though you have to pay for those. They also offer Plan B and Orthotricyclen-Lo for ridiculously low subsidized prices. Medical emergency? Call P-safe and they’ll send a nice officer to escort you to the Middlesex Hospital. Super-duper medical emergency? Call 911.

Estrella Lopez ’07 adds: It’s not a bad idea to bring some of the stuff mommy would give you if you were sick, because trekking to the health center when it is snowy and you are sick just to get some advil is not fun.

A thermometer might be a good investment, too. Tea, honey, and cough drops are also your friends.

Q: Do I have to pay for my own condoms?
A: NO! Weswell, an office on the second floor of Davison Health Center has an entire room of sexual health information, including a wide assortment of condoms, lubes and other items. You can visit it at any time the health center is open and pick up what you need. Please don’t rely on your RA stocking the bathroom with condoms as the one big idiot on your hall will take them all and turn them into water balloons leaving you sexually stranded come Saturday night.

Q: My neighbor is hot. Should I…
A: NO! Hall booty is bad booty. You will hear this many times at Wesleyan throughout your career as a freshman. You will spend huge wads of time with the people on your hall for the first couple of months as you cling to each other for social warmth. This is all well and good and we all do it, but a warning:

DO NOT BY ANY MEANS SEX UP YOUR NEIGHBOR!

You share a bathroom with them. Your friends are their friends. You will see them in the hall every day. Every day. No exceptions. When you break up, you will see who they’re bringing home on Friday nights. They will see who you’re bringing home on Friday nights. They will see you not bringing anyone home on Friday night and playing the Sims alone in your underwear.

It’s just not a good idea. I’ve seen hallcest end badly, very, very badly and it ruins the entire hall for everyone.

Now, I guess, Dormcest should be addressed. Dormcest is not the same thing as Hallcest. I’m just going to say that and drop it. Thanks. Ok, bye.

Q: Do I really have to attend everything in the packet that’s required during orientation week?
A: You’re in college. Nothing is mandatory anymore. That said, it’s still highly recommended–The orientation staff has worked hard all summer putting these events together, they’re fun, you’ll meet people, and you might learn something in the process.

Q: How do I earn money?
A: If you’re on financial aid, go here and look at the job postings. Not work/study? Go look at the job postings anyways. Most of the time they will still hire you; they just can’t pay you as much. Science geek looking for a lab to call home? Find a faculty member that interests you, read a bit about their work, and then set up a meeting. Want some non-Wesleyan-affiliated monies? A lot of students sell their used textbooks on half.com or ebay.

Q: What are these mythical tunnels?
A: See here, here, and here.

Q: Is there Greek life on campus?
A: Yes? Sort of? See here.

Got questions? Get answers. E-mail us or leave a comment and we’ll see what we can do.