What to expect from Welcome Week

This is the time to meet people, get involved and load up on freebies.

Welcome Week is one of the best times to meet new people, get free stuff and enjoy life in Columbia prior to classes and homework. Expect lots of small talk and mass amounts of information. But also expect to meet the people who will become your best friends and to learn how to survive the best four (more or less) years of your life.

Most clubs and organizations will take this opportunity to pique your interest, which normally means dishing out free stuff. Visit the Student Activities Mart and other Welcome activities to pick up some swag. You need food, so you might as well eat free pizza. If you kick it old school and don’t use a laptop 24/7, you’ll need pencils too. And who doesn’t want a free shirt? Take advantage of these opportunities now, because the free stuff is hard to find once the year progresses. Plus, visiting these places is a great way to get your foot in the door and learn about some organizations you could actually be a part of someday (or now).

Before school starts, buses that normally cost students 50 cents a ride will offer free rides to popular places like Walmart.

Target is hosting an exclusive after-hours shopping event for MU students from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 19. This is a prime time to pick up the bath towel you forgot to pack, stock up on snacks for your room and spend some quality bonding time with your fellow Target shoppers. Plus, shoppers will receive free refreshments and goodie bags filled with samples.

Then, look to your activities schedule to find the Midnight Barbecue. The free food will set you on your way to a true college kid lifestyle, plus it’s a great way to meet other freshmen.

Don’t forget to paint the M. This is a memory that will stick with you forever, and it is one of MU’s traditions. Freshmen are invited to wake up early and go to the football stadium, where they transport rocks to the giant M adjacent to the field and paint them with whitewash. (Trust us, it's more fun than it sounds.) When you graduate, this gives you a legitimate excuse to take one of the rocks from the M home with you.

Speaking of quality bonding time, this week is an ideal time to meet fellow new students. You’re likely a little nervous to put yourself out there and meet people, but guess what? Every other person in your residence hall feels the same way. So open your door, and don’t be afraid to talk to the people in your hall. Sit out in the lounge and chat with the people coming up the stairs. During the rest of the year, it’s a little weird to ask random people if they want to go to lunch at noon at Plaza 900. But during Welcome Week, people will be more than thrilled to go to lunch with you at noon at Plaza 900. Make friends now, and you will have it easy the rest of the year.

The best thing you can do during this week is be open-minded and have fun. Don’t stay in your room with your door closed and Skype your friends back home. They will be there all year. Take the opportunity now to absorb as much MU as you can and get ready for the year ahead of you.

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