In honor of Homecoming this past week, I decided to write about my beloved school, BYU. If you are a BYU cougar yourself, you might find this useful. If not, you still might find it useful. If not, oh well. Go cougs!
Brigham Young University is enormous. With over 30,000 students, it’s easy to feel like you’re just another head in the cattle herd, plodding along. It’s also hard to stay on top of everything and feel like you’re successful, especially when everyone else also worked hard to get here and is academically talented.
However, since it’s such a large university, BYU has a lot going on. You never stop hearing about clubs, sports events, arts performances, academic programs, chances for free food, other activities, etc. that can be fun to participate in/watch. And one of my favorite parts about BYU is that every department, building, and organization is full of “secrets” that can make your experience awesome if you know what they are. Here are just a few of my personal favorite “secrets” (that aren’t really secrets, I’m not exactly a detective).
1. Free New York Times/Wall Street Journal
Did you know that in the HRCB (where the Kennedy Center is) you can pick up a free copy of the NY Times every day? You can also have free access to it and the Wall Street Journal online as long as you are logged in on your BYU account. Guys, even if you don’t care about the news, this is something that millions of people pay for that you can have for free.
2. Sensory Lab
On the first floor of the ESC you can get paid to eat food. Is there are more ideal situation in life? The nutrition students are always doing taste-test studies and need panelists. You can sign up online here.
I’ve only gone once, but I got paid $5 to eat a bunch of different types of mashed potatoes and rate them according to taste, texture, appearance, etc. So basically, you get paid to eat, you feel super official, and you get candy. Win-win-win.
3. The BYU App
Not only can you see your schedule, your ID card, and all that other boring stuff, but the BYU app is your gateway to all kinds of vital information. You can see where the closest microwaves, bathrooms, and vending machines are. You can see what is stocked in each vending machine, too (you’ll understand how important this is if you’ve ever gone to get your vital pre-test chocolate milk and there was NONE LEFT in the vending machine!!!).
There’s also a feature that lets you see where the open-access computers are on campus and how many are available in each place. No more awkwardly scanning the library and trying not to make eye-contact with that one guy you hoped you would never see again after freshman year.
4. Open Mic Night at The Wall
If you ever want a free, entertaining musical experience, head over to The Wall on a Tuesday night at 8 pm. People just show up, write their name on the chalkboard, and play one or two songs. Sometimes you discover great local bands, sometimes you hear rappers in kimonos, and sometimes there is even a rare stand-up comic. Anything can happen at open mic. (Plus, The Wall has Italian sodas, soooooo).
5. Free Pizza . . . Free Pizza Everywhere
If you’ve been going to BYU for more than approximately 2 days and you haven’t gotten free food yet, you’re doing it wrong. Any day of the week you can find free food, especially pizza. If you even go to a meeting about volunteering for NSO, you get pizza. If you go to basically any club opening social, you get free pizza. Or donuts. If you go to institute, there will be food.
There’s even an app to tell you where to find it at all times—it’s called BYU Lunchbox.
6. Free T-shirts . . . Free T-shirts Everywhere
Just like food, there are always t-shirts being given away. I’ve gotten two within the first couple weeks of school alone—one for downloading a free app, the other for posting something about BYUSA clubs night on Instagram.
You can also get one from Women’s services this upcoming week if you do their 10-day challenge (uh, probably just if you’re a woman, though). More info here.
8. Student Wellness Website
Guys, admit it, college is stressful! Life is hard, things happen, and even though we pretend to have it all together, things just fall apart sometimes. BYU’s student wellness website is full of resources. They have a lot of great stress-relief exercises and reminders, things you can print out to keep your mindset healthy, relaxation recordings, and much, much more. You can also get free counseling if you need it (though I think they get pretty full during the semester and that’s why they have so many online resources). Even if you think your problems aren’t severe, it doesn’t hurt anyone to do relaxation exercises. Visit the website here.
If you ski or snowboard, you absolutely need to be a member of Freeride Academy. They do a free showing of TGR’s movie every year, you can get discounts on season passes, sometimes you get discounts for waxing or ski merchandise . . . plus the t-shirts are always cool (not free, but cool). I love skiing so that’s usually the only club I really participate in, but there is probably a club for one of your interests. I know you think you don’t have time for that sort of thing, but sometimes it’s worth it to be involved in something outside of just school. We aren’t meant to be zombies who only study all the time, and it’s also good to participate in things that will only be available to you while you’re at BYU. You can see all the clubs online here.
10.The 100 Hour Board
This website is so entertaining. You can ask any question, and one of the writers will answer it within 100 hours. People ask everything from advice about classes, confusion over church doctrine, and random activities that happen in Provo. It’s really fun to read some of the popular questions from the past. Plus, if there’s something you absolutely can’t figure out, this is the place to get an answer! Check it out here.
Well, there you have it. As if you needed some more things to compete for your time, here you have a few more ideas. If you have any great BYU best-kept “secrets,” let me know and I’ll include them in the next one!