BYU secrets: The tidbits every new student needs to know

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While wandering hopelessly around campus searching for one of too many buildings starting with “J” abbreviations, new students find themselves in a common situation — lost on campus.

Knowing the campus layout is one of many things that becomes second nature to BYU veterans but is still a mystery to most new students. Students and faculty reflect on the things they’ve learned during their time at BYU that are unknown to most new students.

The important tidbits BYU students gain often take time to realize. New students with friends at BYU have an advantage. [Photo taken by Chris Bunker]
Incoming students with friends or siblings at BYU are at an advantage and often have help in preparing for school and in navigating their first few weeks. (Photo by Chris Bunker)
According to Mallory Rutter, a student assistant in the Office of First Year Experience, finding oneself lost on campus is a common occurrence for new students.

“Probably how to get around on campus, I think that’s their number one concern,” Rutter said.

The layout of BYU’s campus includes many hidden secrets, or at least secrets to new students. For example, Mikey Caplin, 22, a sophomore at BYU, remembers discovering seemingly simple things as a freshman and being amazed by them.

“There’s underground parking in between the library and the JFSB. It blew my mind when I found that out,” Caplin said.

Many students are also unaware of time limits on faculty lots. Students are able to park in staff lots after varying times in the evening, allowing them to avoid the dark walk to campus at night. It’s simple tidbits like these that students realize over time that make their experiences much easier.

Some of these “secrets” might even help students perform better academically. Caplin’s outlook on the BYU Testing Center changed significantly after learning more about its policies and procedures.

“You can bring snacks and drinks into the Testing Center. When I found that out it made it so much less stressful for me,” Caplin said.

BYU has many additional resources available to students that make navigating the undergraduate experience easier. Some of these include the BYU Signature Card and its many uses including printing, taking tests and even grabbing a vending machine snack. Caplin has tapped into some of these extra resources and finds himself at an advantage because of it.

“The BYU app is amazing. It maps out your classes and you can even schedule your classes on your phone,” Caplin said.

Outlets and resources have been put in place to help students academically as well. Some of these include counseling services, writing fellows, preprofessional advisors and easy access to reserving study rooms.

Kelly Patterson teaches American Heritage at BYU, a class many students take during their freshman year. Patterson is surprised by how few students meet with him and other professors during their office hours.

“Freshman don’t believe that faculty are really all that interested in talking to them, but nothing could be farther from the truth,” Patterson said.

Students can increase their understanding of all things BYU by meeting with Freshman advisors who have a wealth of knowledge to pass along. [Photo by Chris Bunker]
Students can increase their understanding of all things BYU by meeting with freshman advisors who have a wealth of knowledge to pass along. (Photo by Chris Bunker)
Upperclassman often build great relationships with professors, leaving BYU with incredible mentors who are more than happy to share advice and are genuinely interested in students’ futures.

Guest lectures are another important source of knowledge on campus and a great place to network as well. According to Patterson, students who take the time to attend additional lectures will benefit greatly.

“There are some great lectures that are brought in by various departments and institutions. They’re just fantastic. There’s nothing better to round out your education than these guest lectures,” Patterson said.

Professor Patterson also mentioned some of the experiences unique to BYU that every student should have.

“Freshman should be able to name the kind of music the library plays at the end of the day to chase everyone out. That’s one of the memories that everyone should have,” Patterson said.

These experiences and insights create the unspoken bond between BYU students and alumni. Students shouldn’t be afraid to share their favorite university secrets, especially with new students who don’t have the advantage of one or two years under their belt yet.

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