Ok, first-years. Let’s get one thing straight. You are first-years, not freshman. Now that might seem inconsequential but teachers, other students, and administrators WILL correct you and you WILL feel, look, and sound ignorant. So. First-years. Hello and welcome! Contained in this article are some of the things you need to know in order to survive St. Mary’s without any of those embarrassing moments you would otherwise feel post-graduation while looking back on your time at St. Mary’s.
1. The Lanyard
Hide it, burn it (but not in your dorm), keep it in your pocket, but don’t wear a lanyard around your neck, especially if it has your OneCard on it. You will be immediately pegged as a first-year and you will look back at pictures of you wearing it and feel that slow burn of humiliation as you realize how ridiculous it looked. Keep your OneCard in your wallet or in a wristlet (they sell both at the campus store if you don’t already have one).
2. St. James
It’s a five-minute drive or a 10-15 minute bike ride (depending on how in shape you are/whether you are biking pre or post pizza). Read the food review in the Arts and Entertainment section and you will understand why ordering food for delivery is expensive and usually just not worth it. That being said…
3. Food for Delivery
There are a couple places in Lexington Park that deliver, particularly Papa Johns and Hunan Wok. Papa Johns is easiest to order because you can do it online at www.papajohns.com or over the phone at (301) 863-8252. They are open for delivery from 10:00 am to midnight and are decently priced. Be sure to check the specials section before you order. Hunan Wok is your typical greasy Chinese food place with excellent lo mein. Their phone number is (301) 862-7554, their entire menu can be accessed online, and they are open everyday from 11-11. Sometimes (particularly for large orders), when the drivers at Sake or Thai Inter are happy, you can get some awesome Japanese and Thai food delivered to your door. Their numbers are (301) 863-7222 and (301) 866-1880 respectively. Both have a website but Sake won’t deliver to the campus if you order online.
4. Nearby Restaurants
There are some awesome restaurants that are only about 20 minutes away from campus. Depending on your tastes you can go to Teariffic, Asahi Japanese Steak House, Sake, Bollywood Masala, Thai Inter, Niko’s Pizza, Coffee Quarter, Linda’s Cafe, Panera, Noodles and Company, Texas Roadhouse, Longhorn Steakhouse, Chipotle, and so many more. Just notice the places you drive by the next time you’re on a Target run and check out the menus online or ask around. St. Inigoes General Store accepts debit from your OneCard, as does St. James.
IHOP, Walmart, and Sheetz. Make a night of it.
If you see a store on Shangri-la Drive called Books (with the words “newspapers” and “magazines” underneath) and you are with your parents, DON’T GO IN. Despite its blah title, this store is the most well-known sex shop near SMCM. They have a little section in the front that has some old books, which are not for sale, and an employee in a speakeasy-esque booth where they check IDs before allowing people into the back (and best) part of the store. For all your dildo, porn, and fuzzy-handcuff needs, go to Books. For your book, magazine, textbook, and newspaper needs (although why would you need another newspaper when you have us?), go to the campus store or Amazon.com.
7. Point Lookout State Park
Boasting a haunted Civil War-era prison, Point Lookout State Park is right on the tip of the Maryland peninsula, about 20 minutes from campus. Make sure, at some point in your St. Mary’s career, to be there at sunset.
8. Daffodil Valley
A little trail in historic St. Mary’s leads through the woods down to Daffodil Valley/Beach/Gulch, a beautiful little area with a small beach that is only blooming with daffodils in the spring. Try to skip some stones while you’re there.
9. Historic St. Mary’s
Definitely walk around historic. St. Mary’s students have free admission so take advantage of that! Try to get on the Dove (but not after hours) and make sure you see/listen to the cannonball fire at 1:45 on most days.
10. Chancellor’s Point
Home to Bottom County Festival in April, Chancellor’s Point is a waterfront park off Rosecroft Road only a couple minutes away from campus by car. Also a good place to go for a short bike ride.
11. St. Mary’s Traditions
St. Mary’s, as you are probably realizing at this point, is a quirky yet wonderful place. And, like most quirky and wonderful places, we have our traditions. In order of appearance, here are some of the key ones that could effect you this year. Hawktoberfest is when all the parents come for family weekend; there are sports events, boat rides, and tours. Hallowgreens is usually the weekend before or after Halloween and is a campus-wide Halloween celebration when everyone storms the Greens in full costume. Many of the houses on the Greens open their doors and invite people in, usually with bowls of candy and/or condoms at the front door.
Mardigreens is the weekend before Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), and is a similar celebration to Hallowgreens, but with everyone wearing yellow, purple, and green and handing out beads instead of candy or condoms. The Natty Boh Hunt takes place the weekend of Easter and involves seniors hiding pastel-colored spray painted cans of Natty Boh all over campus. Students other than seniors get spray painted when they leave early for the hunt, which “officially” starts at the midnight leading into Easter morning.
World Carnival is a festival that celebrates different cultures with musical and dance performances, alumni bands, and a special, professional guest performance. Craft and food vendors are always present, along with face-painting and other ways of general merry-making. May Day is May 1st, and is the townies’ favorite day of the year. Many seniors streak through campus in various states of nudity (and sometimes body paint) and ultimately wind up jumping in the water by the docks. The eventual slow walk back through campus is truly a sight to behold.
St. Mary’s is an extremely safe campus and your stuff will almost never go missing. Unless you forget to lock your bike. That thing will be gone in a matter of hours. However, several St. Mary’s students engage in what is called “bike borrowing,” where they take an unlocked bike and simply ride it to their destination and leave it there. Yeah, it’s a douche move, but it’s better than taking your defenseless bike and ripping it apart before selling it for parts. Another note about bikes and their riders. They will whizz right by you without notice and curse at you for not sensing their presence and moving out of the way. If a cyclist does warn you that they are coming up behind you, move the heck out of the way.
13. North Woods
Behind Waring Commons, there is an entrance to the North Woods, a beautiful forest area that is home to multiple fire pits, abandoned cars, and student-made river huts built with logs, branches, and leaves. Only go with other people when you go at night! It’s not dangerous in the sense that there are murderers lurking in the woods, but you could trip on a branch and twist your ankle and need to hobble back at 2 in the morning without help to Caroline, which is halfway across campus. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. But seriously, North Woods is beautiful and incredibly fun to explore (there is even a bike path), and you will usually hear around campus when someone is planning a bonfire because everyone wants to go and party in the woods.
14. St. Mary’s Time
Here at SMCM we run on a clock that is 15 minutes late. If you ask someone to come over at noon, expect them at 12:15. If you plan to meet friends in the Great Room when dinner starts, you guys will all be present and accounted for at 5:15. The main exception will be your classes, which usually start about 3-5 minutes late, but your professors generally will note it if/when you are late; even if it doesn’t directly change your grade, it might change the way they think about you (which in turn could effect your grade).
15. Keep St. Mary’s Weird
Don’t take yourself too seriously and remember that everyone here had a first day. Don’t stress about making friends and remember that you don’t have to be best friends with your roommate(s) and that you don’t have to glom onto the first people you meet and be their best friends for the rest of college. Relax. Be yourself. Take an intro class in something you’ve never heard about. Try out for a play or an a cappella group. Join a club sport. Pick up a minor or another major. Join some clubs and just generally put yourself out there. Write for The Point News (hint, hint). You will find your niche, just breathe. And most of all, keep St. Mary’s Weird.