Four survival tips for SMU freshies

By the Freshmen Experience 2015 Exco

Calling all incoming freshmen – your SMU journey is just around the corner, and we promise it’s going to be a great one!

From the team that’s bringing you the SMU Freshmen Experience, here are some tips that will help you make the most of your first semester.


1. Come for the freshmen camps 


Maybe you’ve spent the last two years in the army, you’re joining us from another country, or you’ve just been a virtual hermit since you left JC/poly… it’s time to make some new friends! The good news is that even before school officially starts, you’ll have a jam-packed summer of the SMU experience, all thanks to SMU’s student clubs.

Your journey in SMU kick starts with the Freshmen Team Building (FTB) Camp. Get ready for an adventurous time with our Divergent-themed camp, at a “5-star resort” away from the bustle of the city. There, you’ll build lasting bonds while competing among your factions until one emerges victorious. Come prepared with an open heart and mind and we promise that this experience will be a hugely memorable one!

Other than FTB, there’s a huge variety of other camps organised by the schools, CCAs, and community service programmes. These are a great way to get to know new friends through fun activities, late night suppers and bonding sessions, and also provide you with an introduction to the various aspects of life at SMU.


2. Step out of your comfort zone

In SMU, there are many opportunities for you to venture in and explore. This is the best time for you to try new things, so jump right in and join all the CCAs that interest you. Our CCAs are a great way for you to pick up a new sport or hobby, and it doesn’t matter at all if you have prior experience or not.

If you’d like to explore your artistic side, join our Arts & Culture Fraternity (ACF) community, with CCAs where you can learn to host, dance, sing and act to your heart’s delight. Or if you’re more of a sportsperson, check out our SMU Sports Union (SSU) CCAs and join them as they train hard and fight hard (and party hard!). Adventure sports can be found in the SMU Xtremists (SMUX) family, which organises regular diving, kayaking, trekking, biking and skating sessions with occasional XSeed opportunities in the realm of alternative adventure sports.

There are many other new experiences to try in the CCAs within our Special Interest and Community Service Sodality (SICS), such as gourmet meals, wine tasting and e-games. You can also contribute back to society by joining one or more of SICS’ community service clubs.

Be sure not to miss Vivace 2015 – our signature CCA event – to find out more about what each CCA has to offer!


3. Conquer BOSS bidding (aka WW3)


Every SMU student simultaneously looks forward to and dreads BOSS bidding, which is the process of bidding for each semester’s modules. For freshies, it can feel a bit like flying blind when you have no first-hand experience of the system, the modules and the profs.

Pro tip: the seniors whom you’ll meet during your camps are a great source of inside information, so ask them lots of questions before your first BOSS bidding session. To spend your e-dollars wisely, do your research and plan your bids well in advance so that you’ll have a head start before bidding opens. If there are any modules you want to take together with your friends from freshmen camps, include them in your planning process. Remember to bid for your compulsory Finishing Touch workshops, too.


4. Survive the REAL Hunger Games

As a city campus, we have plenty of food choices around our school. However, our wallets tend to start experiencing a starvation diet when we opt for meals that are on the expensive (aka ‘atas’) end of the spectrum. The real challenge: keeping our bellies filled and happy without overspending!

Here are some popular cheap and good meal options, and if you don’t know where to find them, feel free to ask a friendly senior:

1. Leong Yeow chicken rice – Waterloo St Coffee Shop
2. Isle Eating House economic mixed rice – Parklane Shopping Center
3. Parklane wanton mee – Sunshine Plaza
4. Thai Gold Food – Sunshine Plaza

You can also check out BizCom’s website for deals and promotions that are exclusive to SMU students. And every semester, SMU’s Gourmet Club has a Restaurant Week promotion where you can enjoy set meals at the nicer restaurants at lower prices than usual – perfect for dates and gatherings!

And when all else fails, we have Koufu, Tea Party and 1983 right here on campus…

If you’re starting to feel the pinch from various food and non-food expenses, have a look at this post on tips for getting by on less than $50 a week. If you’re worried about the dreaded “Freshmen 15” phenomenon, rest assured that there are a good many fitness facilities and activities available on and near campus!


Do you have any questions about getting the best experience out of your first semester? Leave a comment and we’ll get back to you with additional survival tips!