Your Indispensable Back-To-College Guide

18 Things Every Wildcat Should Know

Welcome to some tips about shit that matters for you back-to-schoolers, straight from three current Arizona Wildcats—Tucson Weekly staff reporter Danyelle Khmara and unpaid interns Eddie Celaya and Hailey Freeman.

Listen up to their advice and remember to work hard, play hard and do your homework.

1. How To Get Good Grades

Wanna get those A’s, have your pick of any grad school and generally kick college’s ass? Well here’s some tips from a master.

First: Go to class and take notes. I don’t care if everyone around you is staring at the phone in their laps or bra shopping on their laptops (Yes, that happens), if your prof is talking about stuff that you need to know, write it down.

Second: Study for your tests. My favorite way to study is making flash cards. It’s a bit time consuming, but just the act of making them will practically ensure you an A. And then you can study them anywhere—while riding the bus, walking to school, laying in bed, whatevs.
Third: Get a good planner and stay on top of it. (My recommendation: Passion Planner, It’ll help you sleep at night). Write down all your assignments and do them. You don’t have to get A’s on all your test or work hard on every assignment to get an A in the class. Get a 90 percent in every class, and you still got a 4.0—easy peasy.
—Danyelle Khmara

2. How To Go the Entire Semester Without Buying Books

I once had a geography instructor at Pima Community College call the college textbook industry “an organized extortion racket.” Seeing the price of books for your first semester of school is likely to send sticker-shock down the spine of even the most financially prepared freshman.

Happily, there are options at the modern broke-college students’ disposal. First, never buy books BEFORE the semester begins. Always attend at least the first lesson bookless. There will be many a class that lists a required text, only to have the professor (read: TA) throw it out Day 1.

Second, if you must use the campus bookstore and don’t want to pay $400 dollars for a textbook that comes with 3-D glasses, see if there is a used-book or rental option. These options are usually sold at a reduced price, and although you won’t be able to resell that book (aka dorm-coaster), you’d only get like $5 anyway.

If your professor isn’t cool, and physically seeing your books and taking them off the shelf to a cashier is still your thing, there are a myriad of off-campus, private book vendors. They almost always beat the prices at the book store, and you’ll have your books right then.

Of course, the internet is a thing. Sites like Chegg,, and others offer new and used options, again at better price points than the book store. You’ll have to have these mailed to you, but that’s what your parents’ Amazon Prime account is for.

Also, while it’s known more for finding hookers, Craigslist moonlights well as a textbook exchange. You can arrange to meet the person, pay for your books and leave. Or negotiate a consensual act between adults, where no money is exchanged for services, but donations and/or used textbooks are accepted.

Then there is the Kronzian Route. My friend “Kronze” is a fan of downloading books off torrent sites and printing them off. This is illegal but much in the same way jaywalking is illegal in Tucson. So, don’t do it, please. Hey, please. Please.
—Eddie Celaya

3. How to Get on Your Professor’s Good Side Without Resorting to Seduction

This is admittedly probably not the ideal topic for yours truly. As an older-than-the-TA-and-most-grad-students, tall-dark-and-handsome returning college student, professors and recent divorcées fall more in my dating range than incoming freshman.

That said, there are some platonic routes to getting to know your professor and getting a passing grade. Email them in the first week, let them know who you are and that you’re looking forward to the class/semester. In the first month, make a point to walk up after class and introduce yourself. If you’re a real overachiever, visit their office hours occasionally.

While you’ll be busy adjusting to learning to binge-drink (responsibly!), waking up to an alarm instead of mom’s voice and being rejected at a near constant rate by the opposite (or same) sex at parties, you’ll want to find time to attend class. Trust me, more than anything else, going to class will save you when you’re lobbying for that last percentage point to push you into D range.
—Eddie Celaya

4. How To Get an Incomplete or Withdrawal When You’re Skidding Toward Failure

Let me tell you a story. I cannot confirm or deny the story is true, a work of fiction, or the half-remembered ramblings of a longtime stoner.

There once was a freshman who was struggling in his math class. Though he was doing well in other classes that semester, the semester before he had finished with a Blutarski-esque Zero Point Zero Zero GPA. To avoid possibly being asked to leave school, he’d need to withdrawal from class.
But the withdrawal date was well past. So, the student concocted a plan. A horrible, awful, white-privileged soaked plan. Instead of telling the probably very reasonable TA the truth, the student decided to play on her sympathy in a sickening, well executed plan of deceit.

After sending a series of seemingly distressed emails to the instructor, the student asked to have a meeting. There, the student presented a letter from his “siblings,” detailing how the student had missed class time early in the semester to run to Phoenix to help them deal with their parents’ impending divorce. The letters were emotional, and thanked the student for being a great brother.
Nearly overcome with emotion, the TA signed a form allowing the student to withdrawal without penalty from the class. The scheme had worked. But the conscience of the student would not rest.
Whenever the student would pass the Harvill Building, where the math class was held, he would feel a twinge of guilt. As if struck with the gravity of what he had done, the student made a pledge: If he should ever need to withdraw from a class again, he would go about it like an adult, like a man: he would sleep with the instructor.
—Eddie Celaya

5. Dorm-Room Recipes

Sure, you could order pizza four times a week and eat at the newly opened Steak ‘N Shake when leftovers just won’t do. But that’s bound to get boring (and depending on your cholesterol levels and other factors, borderline suicidal) after a while. So here are three single-guy approved options that are quick and easy to make in your apartment or dorm kitchen.

• Steak and Eggs. Use pretty much any cut, but I prefer T-bone. Throw some butter in a hot skillet (cast iron works best, you can get away with cheaper pans) and sear both sides for just over four minutes for a medium finish. Turn heat down to medium and throw the eggs in the fat and butter to fry up. Serve for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

• Pasta Pizza Bake. Get rotini, cheap pasta sauce, some peperoni and mozzarella cheese. Throw the sauce in the pan to simmer, and throw the pasta in boiling water. After 8-10 mins, take pasta out of the water and put in a large pot in layers, laying cheese, sauce and pepperoni in-between. Cover top and throw in oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes.

• Ramen. Buy at store. Add water. Microwave. Enjoy.

—Eddie Celaya

6. How to Avoid  the Freshman 15

This is easy. However, adding fifteen pounds is even easier, so stay slightly vigilant when it comes to your fitness.

When it comes to food, remember that processed foods are always going to be worse for you than food you make at home. Even though Panda Express and Papa John’s are convenient options, your waistline will thank you if you choose to eat in a few nights week.

The other half of the equation is getting off your ass and moving a little. Activities with friends are more fun than working out, so try and get involved in intramural sports and clubs. If running, lifting or swimming is how you deal with stress, the campus Rec Center is newly renovated and offers tons of classes.

Ultimately, don’t feel bad if you put on a few pounds. Not only will nearly everyone else, but unlike 12 years ago in my freshman year, Dad Bods are trending now.
—Eddie Celaya

7. The Best Places To Work on Your Laptop

As a Wildcat myself—one who walks the fine line between hipster and over achiever—I have my fav hangouts where I can work, get good eats/drinks/booze and gel with the ambiance. I like to work at a place where I can transition from coffee to beer. As a student, there are days I have to be on the computer for hours on end, and for me, having caffeine and/or alcohol helps keep me going through the long haul (my apologies to you youngsters—simply replace the words “beer” or “alcohol” with coffee, tea or more coffee).

One great place for getting down to it is Cafe Passe at 417 N. Fourth Ave. They have a room with long tables that are rarely crowded. You can spread out and plug in for as long as you want. They have all kinds of coffee, tea, snacks and smoothies. And they have a full bar which opens at 4 p.m. (happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. except on weekends). Drinking too early is bad for motivation, but I find a beer helps keep me keep working into the dark hours. They usually have live music starting around 9 p.m. So if you hang on until then, you can catch a good show.

Another good place to post up is Cartel Coffee Lab at 2516 N. Campbell Ave and 210 E. Broadway Blvd. They make bomb coffee and have a great selection of beers on tap. They also have lots of outlets but do tend to get crowded.
—Danyelle Khmara

8. Where To Shop for Clothes on the Cheap

A little retail therapy can go a long way, and it doesn’t have to be super expensive. One of my favorite places is Buffalo Exchange. The selective used-clothes store has an urban-princess vibe with a nice selection for the dudes who like lookin’ good, too. Prices and styles vary, and you can find clothes for interviews, jobs and internships too.

Plato’s Closet is another upscale thrift store like Buffalo, but it’s cheaper. They’re not as strict about what brands they’ll take, so there’s a lot of Forever 21 and stuff like that. You can def get a new outfit for $20.

If you haven’t been to the Tucson Thrift Shop on Fourth Avenue, check it out. This little gem is puuurfect for all your costume needs (slutty cat, slutty pirate, slutty alien...they’ve got you covered for Halloween). But, they’re also a go-to for sunglasses and tights. If you’re a tights junkie, like me, they’ve got the sexiest, silliest, raddest tights around.
—Danyelle Khmara

9. Best Inspiration for Female Wildcats

If you like the idea of watching badass women face their fears, share their dreams, expose the dark corners of their souls, and do it with a beer in hand, then check out FST! Female Storytellers. Women get on stage and tell true, tear-jerking, laugh-inducing stories from their lives.

The group is having a party for the release of their first book anthology at 7 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway. The event will feature some of the storytellers in the book, spinning their tales. You’ll leave feeling inspired, and maybe you’ll go into your own challenges a little fiercer for it.

Regular shows will continue on Oct. 11 with a theme of “act your age,” with all proceeds going to Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse. Anyone is welcome to enter a story of their own for a chance to get up on the stage. Check out their website for more info:
—Danyelle Khmara

10. Where To Get up on Stage

I’ve been going to open mic at Sky Bar for years, and I never cease to be both enchanted and hilariously horrified—from the tiny, shy woman who moves mountains on a microphone to the rapper howling about his fat stacks, clueless the beat is a pace behind him.

Nonetheless, the crowd is often supportive and engaged. Sometimes the place is dead; sometimes it’s full. So if you’ve got a tune in your heart that you want to share, head down. To sign up, call Sky Bar at 622-4300 or go in person at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays to sign up for a slot. The list fills up quick, so don’t dawdle. Whether you move mountains or mess up the lyrics and laugh at yourself, it’s all good. You do you.
—Danyelle Khmara

11. Where To See Movies That Won’t Be Playing in the Cineplex

OK, if you haven’t been to The Loft Cinema, get there. They’ve got your indie films, your cult classics, your sci-fi slumber parties—and all while, you can drink a beer. (Yes, you guessed it, I like beer). But one of my Loft favorites is Mondo Mondays. Think Mystery Science Theater 3000 but replace the witty robots with about 50 rowdy (and buzzed) desert rats.

You watch the worst (and inadvertently funny) movies of all time. Each one is introduced by Jeff Yanc, the program director, with some hilarious history and fun facts, followed by a slew of ridiculous trailers for upcoming flops. But the best part of watching a bad movie is shit-talking with your friends, and at Mondo Mondays, you can do it with some of Tucson’s glibbest jokesters. Every Monday at 8 p.m., admission only $3.
—Danyelle Khmara

12. How To Find Parking

Ride a bike! There is bike parking all over campus, and it’s a good way to fit some exercise into your busy schedule. I got a heavy, one-gear 1960s Schwinn because I wanted to get the most out of my daily slog to school. (No, not really, it’s just super cute.) Riding down University Boulevard, which is a bike boulevard, is easy and safe (although you still need to watch out for distracted drivers, bicyclists, skateboarders, walking texters, etc). And riding around campus is super fun—I think of it as an obstacle course, zooming in and out of walkers and bikers. And do yourself a favor: Pay the extra $10 for a U-lock, unless you like getting your bike stolen.

If you need to drive, parking at UA is not hard to find, just expensive. The parking garages are $2 an hour up to $8 max. There’s some meter parking on the fringes of campus that are just $1 an hour, but you can only pay for two hours at a time. There’s a map of the garages at
—Danyelle Khmara

13. How to Avoid Getting Your Bike Stolen

A counterpoint to the previous bit of advice: Don’t get a bike. Or if you do, don’t ride it to campus. There are plenty of other ways to get to/around campus that don’t involve a mode of transportation you must secure like a bank account before heading to class.

Skate boards, particularly longboards, are common, and roller blades have become more socially acceptable after being looked at like Wal-Mart shoppers in the early aughts. True ’90s kids might also bust a Razor scooter out to get from point UA to B.

If you must ride your bike to avoid paying the university even more money for a measly parking spot, try to lock it up in a highly trafficked area. That way more people can witness your bike being stolen. Someone might even think about saying something.
—Eddie Celaya

14. Where to Take a Nap

You’ve been on campus since 6:30 a.m. to finish a paper, study for your Spanish test and meet with your Bio lab group. It’s 1 p.m. and the Red Bull/Adderall is wearing off. Where can you crash until that 4 o’clock in the HLC?

When you’re close to the Student Union, try the bookstore. There is an area near the extreme south end that is somewhat secluded from the usual foot traffic and has a slew of big, comfy sitting chairs to choose from.

If proximity to books puts you in a restful state, and you want a view to doze off to too boot, try the upper floors of the main library. Though the chairs aren’t the most ergonomically correct, they more than fill the need for a few hours of shut-eye.

There used to be a rumor that a homeless man had been arrested for jacking off on a sleeping student, but an element of surprise will help you from over-sleeping.

Perhaps the best place to pass-out is on the Mall. If you want a nice shaded area, just use your backpack as a makeshift pillow and take a load off in the Bermuda grass. Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer would be jealous.
—Eddie Celaya

15. Best Outdoor Spots

Tucson, you never looked so beautiful as you do from a top Tumamoc Hill. Park at St. Mary’s Hospital or surrounding streets, cross Anklam Road on the south side of the hospital and less than a block up, you’ll see the sign for the trailhead. It’s a paved road that takes about half an hour to climb, taking you high above the city.

Home to the UA’s Desert Laboratory, it’s only open to the public from to 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. during the week and all day on the weekends. It’s best to go after dark. And if you have a buddy, go as late as you want. A midnight hike up Tumamoc can clear the mind and the soul, though in warmer months, you’ll want to watch out for rattlesnakes.

Reddington Pass, baby! During the summer rains, these desert wilds on Tucson’s east side turn into some beachfront lounging. In some places there’s a stream; in others, there are pools deep enough to jump into. Please, people, use common sense and check how deep it is before you start jumping off the rocks. The water levels change, but you might still get some good rock jumping in if you head out before the monsoon season is totally over.

From Tucson, head east on Tanque Verde Road. It becomes Redington Pass Road after you leave the city and turns to dirt near mile marker 3. Keep going on the dirt road until you see cars, then just park and head down one of the trailheads on the east side of the road. About 10 minutes later, you’ll hit water. It’s a lovely way to spend a beach-side morning or afternoon. Oh, and don’t leave your trash. In fact, why not cart out a few empty beer bottles other people leave behind?
Too hot to hike? Head up to Mount Lemmon, and it’ll feel like a cool spring day. There’s lots of hiking-through-the-forest opportunities and camping spots with beautiful views. Head to the top of the mountain to hike, or just drive up part way. Many a random road lead to decent camping spots—roughing it, for sure, but with flat ground and fire pits ready to go.
—Danyelle Khmara

16. How to Dump Your High School Boyfriend/Girlfriend (in the Age of Tinder)

It is my understanding that breaking up has become increasingly heartless, with the recent advent of a technique called “ghosting.” In the good ol’ days, you just cheated on your significant other and waited for the inevitable blow up and blame game.

Now kids, just avoid contact after something happens. On top of being inconsiderate, it can also be maddening. Here are some quick tips to being adult about breaking up/it off with someone in the age of dating apps.

• Be Genuine. Let the person know why it’s not going to work/working out. If something they do annoys you, don’t be a dick, but let them know. “I’m sorry, I’m just not comfortable with butt stuff” is specific without being judgey.

• Be appreciative. As much as being single is awesome, sharing times with other people is what humans truly value and seek out. Even if the end is sour, thank your date/boyfriend/girlfriend/tinderella of the week for the good times.

• Keep the number. Sure, things didn’t work out now. But if you aren’t a dick or pyscho, there is always the future. Who knows where you’ll be in life five years down the line when you run into her again at homecoming and she just got out of marriage number 1? Always look for the positive, even if it’s a long game.
—Eddie Celaya

17. How To Handle Sexual Health

OK, people, there’s nothing wrong with gettin’ your bone on, but there’s no need to be an asshole about it. Here are some cheap clinics where you can get STD tests, birth control and the like.
The Pima County Health Department has two walk-in clinics, Monday through Friday, that offer birth control, emergency contraception, pregnancy tests, breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV tests, STD tests and treatment. They accept many insurance providers and charge on a sliding scale for uninsured. The two clinics: 1493 W. Commerce Court and 3550 N. First Ave.

MHC Healthcare all offers STD testing and birth control, also on sliding scale for the uninsured. They require an appointment and have 11 clinics around town. Go to to find a clinic near you.

El Rio Health also offers all the important sexual health services to people who are low-income, but they have a four-week waiting period for new patients. There are several clinics around town. Go to or call 670-3909 to make an appointment.
—Danyelle Khmara

18. How To Handle Any Sickness That Comes Your Way

As students put the final touches on their class schedules and gear up to take on the Fall 2017 semester, staying healthy is probably just an afterthought. However, there are certain illnesses and issues that University of Arizona students should become aware of as they head back to school. David Salafsky and Lee Ann Hamilton are director and co-director, respectively, of UA Health Promotion and Preventative Services. They work to educate students on the plethora of health resources available on campus should something come up. The UA Campus Health building houses medical, counseling, pharmacy, women’s health, and physical therapy services. If students require care, they can bill charges to Bursar’s. Services remain confidential on student accounts. “We really work hard to ensure that students get the best care here,” Salafsky said. It’s no wonder then, that The Princeton Review ranked UA the second Best Health Service in the nation for the second year in a row.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cite meningitis as “an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.” The swelling is generally caused by infection of the fluid around the brain and spinal cord. The two major types of contagious meningitis are viral and bacterial. Bacterial meningitis is the most serious form and is spread through saliva and spit, so activities like kissing or simply living in close proximity to others ups someone’s risk. Students living in close quarters, especially residence halls or Greek housing, are more susceptible to these kinds of the disease, according to Salafsky. Although contracting meningitis is rare, it has the potential to be deadly. That’s why the UA strongly recommends getting both meningococcal vaccines. The first protects against serogroups A, C, W and Y and may require a booster if students haven’t gotten one after age 16. The newer Serogroup B Meningococcal Vaccine protects against a type of meningitis not part of earlier vaccines. Symptoms in the beginning stages of meningitis are similar to that of the flu. However, if high fever is accompanied by neck stiffness and severe headache, students should seek immediate medical attention.


The beginning of fall semester is the optimal time for students to start thinking about getting a flu shot. Salafsky says Campus Health will have them on hand starting next month. Colds, although comprising pesky symptoms like sore throat and congestion, usually develop more slowly and are much significantly less severe than the flu. The flu, on the other hand, comes on much quicker and often causes fever, chills and sweats, coughing, headache, muscle aches, and extreme fatigue. Hamilton says “the flu just stops you” and sometimes students can’t go to school or work for a week because it is so debilitating. To reduce the chance of catching a cold or the flu, students should remember to practice good handwashing techniques and keep hands away from the face. And of course, to prevent the further spread of an illness, students should stay home if sick.


The most prevalent STDs on campus are chlamydia, HPV, and genital herpes. Bacterial STDs are typically easier to treat with antibiotics, whereas viral ones can be managed but not cured outright. To combat these infectious diseases, UA offers a variety of sexual health resources. Students can schedule Campus Health appointments for STD testing or birth control prescriptions. Free Condom Fridays take place every Friday during the semester from noon to 2 p.m. Students can also check out the weekly SexTalk column addressing real relationship and reproductive health questions. To reduce the risk of STDS, Salafsky advises using condoms, engaging in honest dialogue with sex partners and reducing total number of sex partners.


According to Salafsky, unsafe drinking behaviors are a concern during the first half of the fall semester, particularly among the freshman population. An extremely high blood alcohol level can lead to coma and death. Extreme intoxication also increases the risk of sexual assault and other unsafe drinking behaviors. Students should keep tabs on what they’re drinking at all time. And to keep BAC within a reasonable range, women should consume no more than one drink an hour, while men no more than two, according to Hamilton.


Making the transition to college can be a difficult time for college students. Not only are students adjusting to a new environment, they may also begin to struggle with anxiety and depression. Whether students need psychiatric treatment or simply someone to talk to, Campus Health and Counseling and Psych Services (CAPS) is here to help. On the prevention side, Salafsky recommends that students take opportunities to get connected with people, be social, and look into the resources UA offers. For instance, UA Stressbusters offer free, quick backrubs year-round. To help manage stress, check out some of the posters around campus that explain effective relaxation and exercise techniques. 


Lack of quality sleep can take a toll on students’ health and ultimately affect their academic performance. According to Hamilton, adequate rest is crucial for the immune system, mood, physical restoration, and success in school. Not only will insufficient sleep increase your risk of getting sick and feeling irritable, it’ll affect your memory and ability to retain information during class and study time. Yet far too many students don’t catch enough Z’s. To maximize top-notch shuteye, Hamilton says students should try to maintain a regular sleep schedule and go to bed earlier. Limiting cell phone use prevents text messages, games, and social media from interrupting sleep. Taking short power naps (no longer than 45 minutes) and avoiding caffeine, nicotine and alcohol in the later p.m. hours also helps.
—Hailey Freeman