First few days

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Guerilla Guide to making an approximately 10ft X 10ft square room appear to be a penthouse apartment in the sky.

Note: this page incorporates text from the File:Hampshire Survival Tips.pdf, by Andrew Schwerin, Elana Jacobs, and Rebecca J. Grossfeld. [Amherst, MA:] The Logo, Fall 1996.


Little known fact of the first day

The standard room set up is not optimal for spatial efficiency. Several things can be done about this.

You can move your mattress frame up (or down)

The beds can be reconfigured to store boxes, suitcases, hide fridges, create caves to study in, and generally be the basement to your dorm room. It is also possible to loft the beds and create space under it or bunk them, provided you have two. Lofting can happen a week or two into the semester – and requires some help from the house office (you need certain pins and extra bed frames). Moving the mattress frame up and down is a multi-step process:

  1. Recruit a neighbor, friend, orientation leader, or parent.
  2. Put on hard shoes.
  3. Remove the mattress from the bed frame turn the bed upside down.
  4. Kick the metal frame down in the corners with your heel.
  5. Recruit help to heighten an lower the bed at will, keep in mind that your mattress and bedding will add about 6 inches to the top of the metal bed frame.
  6. Push down hard so the metal is locked in place.

Move your furniture

Move your desk or bed to the window so that the two of them make an “L” shape, and then play with your book shelves

  • Students have lofted their beds on top of their desks on one end and on half of an extra bed frame on the other, then put their mattresses coming out of their closet, under their desk, or eliminated the desk and the bed frame. Go with whatever seems most desirable.
  • The desks are simply a bunch of different, modular components that can be moved around and reconfigured until you're sick of moving. Bookcases can be turned different directions, long way's up or longs way's sideways. The shelves move, and can be removed and placed elsewhere to create a shelf outside the bookcase. Remember basic laws of physics when stacking.

Whenever there is a room inspection (between semesters), everything has to be a certain distance from the wall with the radiator, which limits a room's arrangement. But as the radiators never get very warm, that fire safety rule can be ignored without impaired conscience or at least with a sense of decor that goes beyond a psychiatric ward.

Guerilla Guide suppression of the LNHF (Late Night Hunger Forces)

As Saga closes at 7 and the average student is a nocturnal being, the following is a guide to local order-in dining based on time cut off. On campus dining is available too (at the bridge) but it takes a bit of time for them to get up and running at the beginning of the year.

Until 10PM Su – Th, (10:30 F/Sa) Delivery Express is a service that will bring you food from all over the valley for a 3 or 4 dollar (depending on how you pay) charge. They have a $10 minumum, so expect to pay at least between $14 or $15. A full list of what they deliver can be found on their website.

Until 11PM (Sun til 9 PM) Sibies Pizza is down the road and will deliver for free. They have good pizza’s that run around $12 as well as calzones, subs, and other delivery restaurant staples. Delivery normally takes about 30 -45 minutes. Check out their website for a menu.[

Until 2AM DP Dough is a calzone shop in Amherst that has a 2 calzone ($11) minimum charge for delivery. Delivery is sometimes slow, sometimes great, and sometimes never arrives! Nonetheless they are open until 2AM. More infromation on their website.

11PM - around 2AM Mon-Sat The Night Truck can often be found in the SAGA loading dock. Created and run by a Hampshire Student, the Night Truck offers a variety of cheap and delicious food. For more information on the menu, pricing, and hours, check out the website.

Last call, open until 3AM Domino’s is the standard cheap, last minute pizza supplier. The nearest branch can be reached at 413-256-8911, and their menu is online at Kathy's Diner, located just pass the train underpass in Northampton, is a very affordable, very friendly diner that is usually open until about 3 or 4 every night.

24 Hours Have a car (or a friend with a car)? The Route 9 Diner is open all the time, and though a little more expensive, most of the food is pretty good, and they are open 24 hours which is a big plus. Also, the Hess station down 116 is open 24 hours a day, you can get frozen foods, etc there.

Guide to Choosing Amazing Life-Changing Classes and Getting the Most Out of the Ones That Aren’t

Like every school, Hampshire has some amazing professors, and some that don't do it with some students. To help you get the most of your first semester at Hampshire and plan for an even better second semester, ReRad has the following advice (in no particular order).

  • Look up your professors: Google them or use, and take what you read with a grain of salt. After you arrive on campus, talk to older students
  • Know your own learning style: If you don't like production classes, don’t take four of them at one time. If you like lectures, seek out the professors that often do them. You get the drill.
  • A good professor and a dubious class subject will always trump a bad professor with a subject you enjoy: Sometimes it's best to diversify with that in mind. Trust me, a bad professor and a subject you love will only be frustrating and sad. Really need/want a particular course, but the professor is supposed to be awful? Check out the Five College Consortium offerings (and follow the "look up your professors" advice above).
  • When you don’t like a class because of the Prof, don’t take it out on the assignments: Stick it to the Man; do the reading anyway. You’ll get more out of the class discussion if only by osmosis.
  • If you really want to get into a class, but you're on a waitlist or there are pre-requisites: (that you feel you fulfill without taking a Hampshire version of them) talk to the professor. Show initiative and willingness and they tend to be helpful. Despite that, if they don't think you know enough and you're confident you do (don't be an ass), do something to show them you're capable, impress them with some piece of your work.
  • If you hate a class: DROP IT. Though everything may seem wishy-washy in the first days of the semester, they are also the days to  switch to other classes. With most classes, it's that first week of school, but be aware:  any class you jump into is likely to have had assignments already--professors don't consider the first days optional, and they assign work.
  • Look into doing an independent study, taking a student-led EPEC class, and taking off campus classes: For independent studies, you'll need to convince a professor to monitor your independent study, which may be impossible in the first days of the first semester. However, if you'd really like to do a project that's ideal to do independently--a lot of individual work, no class offerings elsewhere in the consortium, a stimulating professor you can work one-on-one with, and your own interest will be sufficient to last you through a semester--look around for a professor as soon as you can (October, November, December). Professors at Hampshire generally have too many other obligations to be willing to commit to a first-year student's independent study, but if you're perseverant and able, keep trudging. In other news, it's even more difficult and nearly contradictory to try to fulfill Div I requirements with an independent study; contradictory because those requirements are aimed at widening your perspective, not deepening it. Which isn't to say that you also can't widen it, but doing independent work at Hampshire requires a professor, and as was said, professors do independent projects with students who are knowledgeable. If you aren't interested in a professor, you can do it truly independently, but then, the contradiction is why you need a school at all. (For more information, see Guidelines for an Independent Study) To take an EPEC course, check out their listings online here or by going to Unfortunately, EPEC courses have fallen out of fashion with the increasing emphasis upon traditional professor-led courses - so make sure to go out and start one yourself! To take an off campus course, go to The Consortium to learn more!
  • Get to know your advisor: An advisor you can talk to is a valuable one. Problems, questions, existential quandaries, an advisor should be helpful in whatever you're curious about. If they aren't, you can switch advisors, but try to make it work before switching. A good advisor can suggest professors, resources for classes, opinions about the other 4 colleges and Hampshire, and give you advice on Hampshire's learning system. They've been here longer than you, and they know Hampshire from a standpoint you won't have.
  • Get to know faculty who AREN'T your advisor: Networking is an important thing to learn at Hampshire, and having some other friendly faculty-faces around campus can be really helpful if you are having trouble with your advisor, or if you need advice on a subject outside of your advisor's specialty. Most Hampshire faculty love talking to students, so go ahead and introduce yourself!

Other survival tips



  • Get enough sleep at night.
  • Eat well - no matter how tempting it is to eat ice cream for dinner every night.
  • Spend as much time as you can outside in the fall, because it gets cold fast.
  • Remember that your well-being should come before academics.
  • Finals week is intense. Prepare and get things done early.
  • Get to know the good folks at Community Health and Health Services.
  • Pee before going to class.


  • Communication is important. If you're having a problem, talk about it with your hall/mod - don't let it fester.
  • Get to know your housing intern, ASAP. Don't like your intern? Get to know another one. Interns are wonderful sources of information and support.
  • The noise designations are "Very quiet," "Quiet," and "Semi-quiet." Realize that this translates to "Fairly quiet," "Kinda quiet," and "Loud." If you live in a "Very quiet" hall, please respect the noise designation (otherwise your neighbors will hate you.)
  • Campus-wide quiet hours are 11PM-8AM Sunday - Thursday and 2AM-8AM Friday and Saturday. These do sometimes actually get enforced, so be mindful.


  • Be careful about whom and what you talk about in the dorm hallways (Mods too)--everyone in their rooms can hear every word.
  • Depend on yourself and not on your whole hall.
  • Clean up after yourself! Don't leave a mess in the hallways/lounges/bathrooms for physical plant or your neighbors to deal with - they will be very unhappy.
  • The doors in Dakin marked "exit" are actually bathrooms. Don't panic! They are not out-houses.
  • On a similar note, Dakin bathrooms are the only hallways connecting halls. It's uncomfortable at first, but I promise you will get used to it.


  • Mod living teaches you to grow up much faster than dorm living. You have more responsibilities and you have to have really good people skills.
  • If you are going to move into a Mod, try to move in with friends. Your life and your roommates' lives are much more intertwined in the mods than in the dorms.
  • You are technically not allowed to store things in the Enfield nooks and landings. Make sure nothing is there during inspection weeks, or you will get written up.
  • Trash bags and toilet paper are available in the house offices. Stock up early and often.



  • Don't stay in a class just because you preregistered for it. You'll learn more in a class you can stand.
  • Don't stop going to classes if the reason is: "it's embarrassing or intimidating". Stick it out, and you'll learn and grow a lot...
  • Don't talk in class just to hear the sound of your own voice. People will love you if you hold your peace until you've got something intelligent to say.
  • Individualized doesn't mean individualistic. Many people find collaborative learning to be the best kind. Do this through independent studies (with just you and a faculty member, or with multiple students) and EPEC courses.


  • Really work to build strong faculty ties. When you get to Div II and Div III it will be invaluable to have committee members who know you and know the work you've done over time and aren't strangers.
  • It's also useful to have faculty you can talk to who aren't directly involved in your area of study. Their perspective and support can be very helpful.
  • When choosing Div II and Div III faculty to work with, consider personality as well as area of specialty. You want to have someone on your committee who you communicate well with and feel comfortable talking to.
  • You can do anything if a faculty member will help you.


  • Lose the "I know everything" attitude ASAP...
  • Do what you want to do! Not what the "invisible" structure of Hampshire wants. Take charge of what you can do, and just start doing it.
  • Don't slack off. If you've had trouble with self-discipline before, this is the time to get good at it.
  • Do your work! No really, you'll feel shitty if you don't...



  • Bring a car, better yet...Bring money to bribe people with cars to take you places.
  • Don't miss the bus, it only comes every half hour (less often on weekends). Also, the 39 (Smith/Northampton bus) is often late.
  • If you need a ride to any of the major cities close by and you hate the bus/prefer driving with someone else there, you can look for other travellers driving there on the Western mass Craigslist rideshare Board or check the rideshare board next to the Hampstore.


  • Beware of tables in front of the library with vultures bearing kit-kat bars. Do not sign up with the first credit card that gives you a candy bar. Go for the credit card that has no annual fee and a low interest rate like 10 percent and a grace period.
  • Food from Mixed Nuts typically costs less then the Hampstore.
  • Did you get workstudy? Great! Start looking for a job ASAP because the good ones go fast. Not sure where to work? Stop in the various offices on campus (School offices, CASA, Central Records, CORC) and ask if they are hiring.



  • Act mellow for your first year and make friends.
  • If the shit hits the fan, don't expect everyone to help you mop.
  • Remember: people can be evil.
  • Make an effort to be social, especially in the first few weeks when everyone is trying to find friends.
  • ...but don't stress if you don't find a group you fit perfectly in to right away. There are plenty of opportunities to make friends after orientation.

Don't be afraid to eat with people you don't know in the dining hall.


  • Explore the Hampshire woods! Look for the Zen Garden, the trampoline, and other weird structures out in the woods.
  • Play Frisbee. It's the best thing to do at Hampshire College. It provides physical and emotional release...
  • OPRA rocks! Go on OPRA trips.
  • Student Groups are a great way to make friends.


  • Don't smoke or do drugs...
  • No matter what people say (eg. "96% of this campus smokes pot, izm, chronic, weed, ghanja!" etc) there really isn't too much pot here. If you want it it's there but if you don't want it it's not oppressive.
  • Alcohol cannot replace water.
  • When in doubt, call the EMTs.
  • Think your or a friend might have a problem? The folks at Community Health Collaborative can give you advice.
  • Though there are designated sub-free halls in the dorms, you can't really keep people on substances out (due to the open nature of the dorms). If you are worried about really keeping your environment sub-free, try to get in to a sub-free mod.
  • Read and understand the Medical Amnesty Policy.


  • Go away on the weekends if you can. Don't stay here the whole time. If you have a car use it. Go into town. Go to Springfield.
  • Don't expect to be able to move (dance or breathe) at a Hampshire party... Remember: Boston is about an hour-and-a-half, New York is about three, Providence is about 2, and Montreal is about 4. Get some friends, a car, and a destination.
  • Want a quiet place to study during the weekend? Check out the library Kiva or the Spiritual Life Center.


  • BE SAFE. Condoms, dental dams, lubricant and sexual health information is availabe in Community Health Collaborative, Health Services, and ALL of the House Offices.
  • Don't have sex with anyone on your hall - it's NOT a good scene.
  • Don't have sex with someone you don't like, because in the morning you will have to deal with him/her.
  • Mod Bootie is Bad Bootie. For serious.


  • Don't pierce your navel just because your parents say you can't.
  • Don't believe all the conspiracy theories that you hear... DON'T BELIEVE ALL THE CONSPIRACY THEORIES YOU HEAR!

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