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From date spots to study tips, Chronicle staff answer frequently un-asked questions for first-years

Editor’s note: As advice for the Class of 2022 has piled up in recent weeks, The Chronicle staff took it upon ourselves to answer all the most important questions first-years could have. Here’s some advice that has been battle-tested in the most last-minute exam cram sessions and tallest Pitchforks haystacks.

Best study spot on campus?

The lower levels of the Bryan Center are very underrated places to get work done. For someone who can’t endure the suffocating atmosphere of a library, the comfortable chairs and couches of the BC provide enough seclusion to focus on your work along with a steady level of din to give you a sense of vicarious freedom. Nathan Luzum, senior editor, junior

If it’s a nice day, the wooden tables behind Perkins (next to the steps leading to the Engineering Quad) provide a different ambiance from the library. You have a beautiful view of the chapel and can enjoy the weather! Sujal Manohar, photography editor, junior

As a first-year, the best place to study during daylight hours is Gilbert Addoms’ basement (GADU). It’s spacious and there’s almost no one there from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Just don’t go at night or early morning, because you’ll be surrounded by drunk freshmen coming back from Shooters or a Cosmic run. Isabelle Doan, news editor, junior

On East Campus, the basement of Bell Tower has open classrooms and study rooms that are quiet and have natural daylight (a big plus when compared to poor lighting in Lilly Library). If you live in Bell Tower, Trinity, Blackwell or Randolph, you should especially take advantage of these spaces. Also, if you use the study rooms during week hours, you can get free tea or hot chocolate from the Oasis! Lexi Kadis, senior editor, junior

What’s your go-to food option for a late night in Perkins?

I wish I had known about Pitchforks (Cafe Edens, but no one calls it that) when I was a first-year. You can go and eat all the greasy food you want, literally any time you want (it’s open 24/7). Nothing like a grilled cheese and fries to get you through a long night. It is a bit of a walk from Perkins, but it’s great to take a break and sit down and eat there with a friend. Ben Leonard, managing editor, junior

The circulation desk at Perkins where I work sometimes puts out free snacks like cupcakes and pizza during finals season. Sometimes stress eating helps while you’re pouring over your orgo notes at 2 a.m. Alan Ko, editorial board chair, senior 

During weekdays, the cafe in Perkins is open until midnight. Highly recommended for healthy quick snacks like carrot sticks or for satisfying a sweet tooth with brownies during a study session. It’s also a perfect spot to load up on caffeine without having to leave the library. Sydney Roberts, editorial board chair, senior

Hidden gem: dining edition.

Panera is high-key slept on. I went there every Friday with my friends freshman year. Cheap, close to East, and they have incredible mac n’ cheese. Ben Leonard, Managing Editor, junior

Not a lot of freshmen know about brunch at the Nasher Museum of Art on the weekends. It’s on food points, it’s delicious and you can explore the galleries for free afterwards. Get the ham benedict. Christy Kuesel, Recess editor, senior

Study tips?

Don’t take freshman year seriously. It’s really early in your experience and you should focus on exploring your interests and getting settled at Duke—not making sure you get a 4.0. Ben Leonard, Managing Editor, junior

If you really have to study for an important exam, then Perkins probably won’t be the best place to study because it can get really crowded and noisy during midterm and finals season. Gather up some study buddies and pot of coffee, and find a nice, relaxing place—like maybe one of the lecture halls during the evening—and go from there. Alan Ko, editorial board chair, senior 

Study early and move often. Last reading period, I spent around an hour in one place until my mind began to wander and I moved to another building—the change of scenery allows you to focus better by getting your blood flowing and clearing your mind. Nathan Luzum, senior editor, junior

I’m a firm believer in thorough study guides. While they can be a bit tedious to make, they’ve been key to acing midterms and finals for me. Start exam preparation early and write out important elements of each lecture and summaries of required texts. It gives you a structured way to review notes intentionally, helps you retain information by writing it out by hand, and provides an end product that is easy to revisit as the exam gets closer. Sydney Roberts, editorial board chair, senior

Best place to cry on campus?

The biggest power move is crying in your advisor’s office. They have to be nice to you! Frances Beroset, opinion editor, senior

Bathrooms on the bottom floor of the Brodhead Center by Au Bon Pain, for sure. Shagun Vashisth, senior editor

Even though Counseling and Psychological Services has gotten some mixed reviews, definitely seek professional help if you’re feeling like you’re going through a rough time here. Duke is a pressure cooker, and taking care of yourself mentally should be a priority. Alan Ko, editorial board chair, senior

Fun date spot?

If you have access to a car, the beaches at Jordan and Falls Lakes are great. Ben Leonard, managing editor, junior

Local shows at the Pinhook are my go-to, but be sure to check that it is not a 21-and-up show first. If the music scene isn’t really your speed, try out the Carolina Theatre. Every once in a while they have showings of some great cult classics as a part of the reoccuring Retro Films Series. Sydney Roberts, editorial board chair, senior

When I was a first-year, my high school boyfriend would come visit me and we would routinely walk to the Dollar General, buy juice and argue quietly the entire way there and also back to avoid disturbing my roommate by arguing in the dorm room. Romantic AND inexpensive. Frances Beroset, opinion editor, senior

The Washington Duke Inn dining room is probably one of the nicest place to go on an actual date. Of course, unless you’re dating a senior, it’ll probably put a dent in your wallet. Alan Ko, editorial board chair, senior 

Favorite food when you’re missing home?

Cosmic is always the go-to, any time, anywhere. It’s close to East and you can get it on Postmates. Nothing like queso to make you feel better. Ben Leonard, managing editor, junior

I have yet to find a decent Korean place near campus (and no, Ginger and Soy doesn’t count). Sometimes, the best alternative for my Korean palette are soggy Shin bowl noodles that my parents mail me. Alan Ko, editorial board chair, senior 

How do you survive the first-year meal plan?

You are forced to eat at Marketplace. There is no surviving it. My condolences. Ben Leonard, managing editor, junior

Find a rich upperclassmen with a Plan E dining plan to mooch off of once you run out of food points at the end of September. Alan Ko, editorial board chair, senior 

Enjoy it. This might be an unpopular answer, but I always felt that people bashed Marketplace because it’s the in-vogue thing to do. Although the food may get repetitive, the buffet-style meals will fill you up and the Marketplace breakfast/brunch remains unrivaled. I also ate a late breakfast and 5 p.m. dinner to avoid spending food points on lunch, so I had hundreds of points near the end of the semester—this is a feasible way to win friends and influence people. Nathan Luzum, senior editor, junior

What’s something I absolutely have to do off campus?

Explore downtown Durham—especially restaurants like Bull City Burger, The Parlor and Gonza!

Sujal Manohar, photography editor, junior

Carolina Theatre, Pompieri Pizza and the Saturday morning farmers market! Christy Kuesel, Recess editor, senior

What’s something I absolutely have to do on campus?

Chapel climb! It’s a view of Durham and campus that can’t be beat. Bre Bradham, editor-in-chief, junior

Attend a basketball game and visit the gardens in spring! Sujal Manohar, photography editor, junior

Complete your graduation requirements. Ben Leonard, managing editor, junior

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