VCU orientation leaders like Wilder School student Essence Palmer get lots of questions from new Rams. Here are her answers to some of the most common.
by Elinor Frisa
What is the best place to eat on or near campus?
Essence Palmer: If you are a student with a VCU ID, you get free RamSafe rides. RamSafe is how you get around campus [after hours], anywhere within distance, and you just do that by the Ride Pingo app. I use RamSafe a lot – RamSafe is my best friend. I don’t care if I’m literally going up the street, at night time, I do not like to walk. … I recommend RamSafe because they’re always happy to pick us up.
How do you stay organized during the semester?
I stay organized with my iPad. … I use the GoodNotes 5 app, and they have different templates for your calendars and stuff like that. I do a daily to-do list, but I also do a weekly to-do list. So the things that I do that are minor, I do that with the daily. And the major assignments that I have, I do that for the weekly, and any clubs or events or meetings that I have as well.
"I say throw yourself out there, be vulnerable. Everybody wants to make new friends those first couple weeks of school. Nobody has their cliques just yet." – Essence Palmer
How do I stay safe on campus since it's in the city?
For me, the best way to stay safe is honestly the buddy system. Go anywhere with your friends. I know with my friend group, we share locations with each other. So even if we’re not with each other, if we’re going out, we’re like, ‘Hey, girl, look at my location.’ …Typically on campus you’re safe – there’s always going to be VCU [Police] somewhere, or there’s always going to be someone walking. … But the buddy system is the best solution to me.
How do I make new friends?
I say throw yourself out there, be vulnerable. Everybody wants to make new friends those first couple weeks of school. Nobody has their cliques just yet. So if you’re in the Chick-fil-A line, say hi to the person in front of you, give them a compliment on their hair, on their clothes, something like that. And then also social media. We are a very social media-savvy generation, so on those Instagram page, “like” the VCU 2026 page or the VCU 2027 page, the pages with your year. You’ll meet people who are coming in as well, and they are able to relate to you.
This is an abridged version of a story that originally appeared on VCU News.