posted 2012-02-16 16:46:13

Surviving Your First Semester At Hunter

What every new Hunter student needs to know, now.

Tara Bohensky

Contributing writer


I know how you feel. Last fall, I was you – a new student at Hunter. I crashed and burned on the first day. Five minutes before my very first class, after running up and down ten flights of steps and four escalators in three buildings, I realized I was truly lost. I asked a security guard for directions to my classroom. He began his response with, “Take the train to...” I was on the wrong campus. Being the new kid is never easy. However, if you take my words to heart, your confusing first few weeks will run a lot more smoothly than mine did.


You will, and it's going to happen sometime before the month is over. Don't deny it, and don't try to hold back. Embrace your tears. Surprisingly wet cheeks and a runny nose can be cathartic. Just don't do it in public because people will think you're weird and they will avoid you.

Make Friends

At Hunter, friends are the key to survival. In a University with a student population of over 20,000, sometimes that community feeling is hard to find. Friends, who are hopefully veterans of the Hunter system, will be your only dependable source of information regarding all things Hunter related. When you make friends, you can create a social environment to enjoy after stressful classes.


When I searched a potential professor on the site and read some negative reviews, I made the mistake of assuming that bitter slackers who had previously failed the class wrote the reviews. I registered anyway, and ended up with a biased, self-centered egomaniac professor. So take the ratings seriously­–except for the hotness pepper.

Get a Job

Right about now, you are most likely more stressed than you've ever been in your life, and pretending to smile while serving coffees and soups to snooty business people is definitely not on your to-do list. However, it's a necessary evil. Textbooks are expensive. Pocket change and eighteen years' worth of Grandma's birthday presents wont cover books, transportation, food and a social life too.

Decide Now

Pick a major today, and stick with it. Find out exactly what is required of you to complete this major successfully, and within a reasonable amount of time. If you experiment, you'll never graduate. You'll be just another unfortunately old undergraduate student at Hunter (trust me, I know about twenty).

Take Summer Session

If you're free, do it. They are much easier. The professors don't want to be there just as much as you don't. This means less work, more open book tests and relaxed enforcement of attendance rules. The one downside, related to the menopausal nature of the Hunter College campus buildings, is that the air conditioning may not actually work, so BYOF (Bring Your Own Fan).


If you're able, live on campus, or at least in Manhattan. Anywhere else is a schlep. Long Island residents need to rely on the exorbitantly expensive, and ever unreliable LIRR. If you live in Brooklyn, you will soon learn that there IS such a thing as train traffic, and there's lots of it. If you must take trains, try and surround yourself with well-groomed folks, because more likely than not, you will spend the better part of your ride crushed against the chest or belly of one of your car-mates. Good luck with the apartment search!

It may not seem so, but this semester will eventually end, giving way to a summer vacation full of sun and sleep. It's hard now, but in a few weeks it'll get better. You'll stop getting lost. You'll meet new people. The massive influx of friend requests on your Facebook page will be good for your ego. You may even get a few A's in your classes. So, welcome to Hunter.