By Seth Culp-Ressler | Features Editor
This new school year sees the class of 2020 joining the Duquesne ranks. A warm welcome to all. Many new students will be as unfamiliar with Pittsburgh as they are with the college experience, and even those already acquainted with the Steel City still have to learn the ins and outs of campus. With that in mind, here are 16 things for the fall 2016 term that all members of the incoming freshman class should make sure to do. Think of it as a personal to-do list, and do what it takes to “catch ‘em all.”
Go to a sporting event — Pittsburgh is, above anything else, a sports city. That fervor can be found on Duquesne’s campus as well, so make sure to join in with the cheering squad at least a few times this term. You don’t even have to understand the rules of the game — just show up and make some noise.
Watch a sunset from the grotto — This one is another relaxing way to de-stress. The grotto can be found by Old Main on the very tip of the western side of campus, which just so happens to be the perfect place to watch the sun sink behind the south hills. It’s a sight to behold.
Scale the South Side Steps — South Side is home to shopping, a movie theater, restaurants and all manner of entertainment. The only barrier to enjoying all the fun is the few hundred steps leading down to the 10th Street Bridge. Take some practice runs to acclimate to the challenge, but be careful. The steps are known cause injuries.
Get a late-night cookie from the market — This one is pretty simple: every night the Campus Market in Towers sells fresh-baked cookies. Take advantage of this. Eat many of them.
Take a walk — If, or when, the stress of school becomes a little too overwhelming, stop and take a stroll around campus. Sticking to the perimeter of the Bluff will provide nice views and twenty minutes of some much-needed solitude.
Scope out free food — One of the most valuable skills to have in college is the ability to find free food. There are too many options to list in this article, but keep an ear to the ground, an eye out for posters and free meals will follow.
Write for The Duke (or get involved anywhere else) — Obviously the best use of extracurricular time is to write for this fine publication (113 College Hall!), but we understand if the calling comes from elsewhere. Just get involved.
Go to class — Look, just do it. Trust us.
Enjoy the parks — The most popular downtown green space is undoubtedly Point State Park, but any of the various options are great for studying, hanging out and experiencing those precious few days of perfect weather we’ll get this term.
Eat at Primanti Bros. — Yeah, yeah, this one is as cliché as they come. Still, Primanti Bros. is a Pittsburgh staple, and any self-respecting resident of the city has to go at least one time. Might as well do it now.
Ride an incline — Another common suggestion, but there are few better ways to see the wonderful downtown skyline. Either of the two south hills options will work, and just think of all the inevitable likes any Instagram picture will get.
Explore downtown — Some of the best times to be had in the city consist of wandering around the various less-traveled streets lining the Peninsula. Try to get off the beaten path and see what there is to find. Then, if it’s interesting, write an article about it for us (once again, 113 College Hall folks!).
Go to the giant toy store on Smithfield St. — Being in college doesn’t mean you have to let go of your childish side. SW Randall Toyes and Giftes is amazing in name and in selection, helped by that fact that it is way bigger than it looks like from the outside. Bask in the wonders of childhood, we won’t judge.
Buy fresh food in the Strip District — Weekends are when the Strip District explodes with fresh produce that’s amazingly affordable. Get out of that Towers Dining Hall rut and pick up some fresh fruit and veggies to balance out all those Oreos from last night.
Do a Gallery Crawl — Four times a year all of the museums and entertainment venues in the Cultural District open up for free to all. It’s the perfect opportunity to live the downtown life without dipping into an already light wallet. The next one is on September 23. Be there.
Get away from Downtown — Grab a bus, Uber or citibike and explore the city outside of what can be easily walked to. Pittsburgh is a vast and wonderful place, but at Duquesne it can be easy to avoid seeing everything on offer. Don’t hole up in some personal bubble and miss out on the chance to experience it all.