TCU Survival Guide

by Suzanne Yost


Are you a student at TCU? A freshman? A senior? One of the forgotten grades in between? A transfer student? An out-of-stater? A scared-to-leave-the-only-place-you’ve-ever-known-so-you-just-stayed-in-Texas-er? A purple enthusiast? A small, spiky lizard that shoots blood from its eyes?


If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions you might have some questions of your own: How do I pay my tuition and not live below the poverty line? Do girls at TCU wear shorts under their long T-shirts? How long can I survive solely off of coffee from Union Grounds? Questions like these and more are all valid and relevant for any TCU student. And maybe, if you keep reading, you can find those answers below. (Although, more than likely, you won’t find them here).


So, whether it’s your first semester here or your last, here’s just about everything you need to know to survive (because Seniors, we all know you haven’t really figured it out):


Class Enrollment

“Small class sizes,” they said. “It’ll be great,” they said. Yeah, OK, it’s pretty great…once you’re actually in the classroom. Getting there? That’s a whole ’nother story. If you’re not one of the lucky masses to be in the Honors College, you will likely have to fight to the death, gladiator style, to get the courses you want when your seniority-rules-based class registration date rolls around. There are, however, a few ways to get the edge on the rest of the student body clamoring for the same 20 spots in that Underwater Basket-Weaving class you so desperately need to take to fulfill your Core and graduate only three semesters late.


One thing to do is fill your shopping cart ahead of time. No, not your Kroger one. The one that is impossible to find on the new myTCU (can someone please let me know where that is now?). Just pretend you’re online shopping on Amazon or filling your cart with that jean skirt you don’t need that’s coming back for some reason and a knock-off pair of those snazzy white and purple pinstriped overalls the cool people wear at the football games. Try not to think about the hours of coursework ahead and the thousands of dollars you’ll waste every time you oversleep.


Another way to ensure your success in enrolling is to simply hire a hacker. Or make a friend in IT, perhaps.


Eating on Campus

You have three options: Chick-fil-a, the BLUU, or your microwave. Hiking to BLUU 2 is definitely not an option most days. Our campus is already so spread out that they have to give us buses to get from point to point. (Although honestly, are we actually supposed to use those? Do they even run? How much am I paying for these again? Actually, never mind. I don’t want to know).


Your safest option is probably the Holy Grail of chicken-themed fast food: Chick-fil-a, located a mere frog’s leap from the Mental Health Center. (Sometimes I wonder if they did that on purpose.) So, when you’ve finally reached the end of your classes on that rough day that started at 8 am and finished with a three hour lecture at 9 pm even though you did everything in your power to get the 10 am section of your 8 am and told yourself you wouldn’t take another night class but somehow your advisor tricked you into it and so you’re miserable, but praise the Lord, Chick-fil-a is open to the glorious hour of 1:30 am (except on Sundays) and every meal plan has an unspendable amount of Campus Cash so you really have no excuse NOT to waltz in and get a 12-count of nugs, waffle fries, and a massive chocolate milkshake. Look at you: you are thriving.


The BLUU is another jungle. I would never, under any circumstance, recommend eating at the BLUU at noon. Either wait 20 minutes or just don’t eat, because the chaos present there will drive even a person without anxiety to curl into the fetal position between the salad bar and the smoothie line. But if you do dare brave the BLUU during the lunch rush, my recommendation to you is to head directly to the colloquially named “Rejection Section” just past the dish return. There you’ll find an oasis for other awkward humans like yourself to breathe in some stale AC and sit away from prying eyes. This is an especially good spot for those Saturday nights when your friends are all out on dates and you’re left to fend for yourself. Scoot on into one of those nice, tall-backed booths, pop some earbuds in, and you’ve found your sanctuary.


There are also ways to spice up your eating game at the BLUU if seeing another plate of mashed potatoes, carrots, and dry chicken before you is making you lose the will to live . (oOnce my carrots had cinnamon on them. CINNAMON! I kid you not. I don’t joke around when it comes to food, friends). Fool others into thinking you’re a hipster with a smoothie bowl. Or be that person who makes a quesadilla in the griddle/panini press type contraption that’s for the bagels and toast so that the person behind you who wants to warmly smush their bagel gets it covered in nice globs of sour cream and pico de gallo . (gGuy from three weeks ago, you know who you are).


But sometimes, your microwave is what you must live by. Searching for mug recipes online or in pictures you took out of the recipe book at the bookstore (I won’t tell) will level up your microwave game. Honestly a life-changer.


Greek Life

The first week I was at TCU was the week before classes started my Freshman year. You know what that means: Sorority Rush. Except my first week in Texas was spent alone in my dorm room, where I, a Northerner, sat alone and confused as to why so many people wanted to be Greek. And I had no hate, one of my best friends from home was Greek—Greek American, that is. So you may understand my confusion when people began spouting Greek letters and I began to wonder if knowing Greek was maybe a prerequisite for coming to TCU that I hadn’t known about. (But if you’ve been at TCU for very long at all, you know my assumption was correct). I have since been enlightened about the many wonders of the (non-ethnically or geographically) Greek world. Which is apparently a pretty big deal at TCU, if you didn’t know.


Here, friends, is my carnal sin confession (you might want to make sure you swallow your water first): I, a TCU student, am not a part of Greek Life.


Wow, shocking, I know. If you’re looking for a way to survive Greek life, I don’t exactly know how to help you other than say maybe you should consider expatriation and join our small ranks in the land without dressers full of 3000 free T-shirts from your Big. But for those of you who are like me and are severely lacking in Greek letters to put in your Instagram bio, you have a few options:


1)      Assimilate. One of the easiest ways to do this is to try and dress like you’re in a sorority or fraternity. For the girls, make a friend in Greek Life, secretly raid her closet and start wearing some of her lettered XXXL T-shirts around campus. She probably won’t even notice a few are gone because, as previously mentioned, she’s got more than a couple lying around.

2)      Hide. Anywhere will do. In your dorm room. Between the stacks in the basement of Club Lib. Under a rock. There really isn’t a trick to it.

3)      Confuse (this one’s my personal favorite). Then next time someone around you starts throwing around those ever-popular Greek letters in your presence, start talking about your sorority Alpha Apple Pie or your fraternity Sigma Feta Cheese. This will certainly turn around the conversation, whether they don’t catch your slight alteration and start asking you about how you like your brothers, or they do and quickly pivot and run away from the crazy, non-Greek person you are.