Bateman: The University of Pittsburgh from A to Z

By Oliver Bateman

When you’re new to campus, college can be rather daunting. What’s with all of these boring… When you’re new to campus, college can be rather daunting. What’s with all of these boring lecture classes? Do those delicious pizzas really cost a mere $5? What are some cool “hipster” things that you should know about?  What’s the best way to hardgain a quick freshman 15?  Who’s the most talented baller in the NBA? Which franchise player should be drafted first in a fantasy football “keeper” league?

Fear not! Although we’ve answered a lot of these questions in previous advice columns, we’re now going to take a page from second-century encyclopedist Sextus Pompeius Festus and survey the Pitt experience from A to Z.

America, United States of. The country you leave when you study abroad, America is notable for its mediocre bakeries, remarkable levels of human and feline obesity and the best core group of Madden NFL gamers in the entire world.

Beer pong. If you’re over 21 and looking to get frosty and smash-faced, beer pong is the game for you. Nothing says good times quite like a shindig where five beer pong games are taking place simultaneously and everyone in attendance is too drunk to even speak.

Centre Avenue. Quite possibly the finest stretch of real estate in Pittsburgh, this scenic boulevard is Pittsburgh’s answer to Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile.” Strolling from Centre and Craig to Centre and Millvale on a breezy spring day is an unforgettable experience.

Downtown. The part of the city where even angels fear to tread, “dahntahn” Pittsburgh consists of a series of gloomy gray skyscrapers where sad men and women in ill-fitting blue suits with ’80s hair go to engage in marathon rounds of data entry and Internet browsing.

Easy, taking it. One of the goals of any well-planned class schedule is a slate of “cake” or “blow-off” classes that don’t have attendance policies. Once you’ve got four of those beauties in place, you can focus on what really matters: taking it easy.

Football, fantasy. Perhaps your best opportunity to keep track of a series of meaningless statistics, fantasy football has imbued the careers of NFL also-rans like Kellen Clemens, Willis McGahee and anyone on the Bengals with tremendous significance.

GPA. If you’ve played your cards right, you’re in line for a 4.0 GPA. But what if your rogue instructor fails to recognize the inherent genius of your Wikipedia summary and gives you an A-? Then that person deserves a nasty write-up on “He was totally a jerk and totally unfair plus also an unfair jerk AVOID.”

Hat, baseball. Nothing says “very cool, very hip, very with-it” like a baseball cap with the original decal still on it, cocked slightly askew. When others see you sporting this fantastic look — and hopefully you’ve complemented it with loose sweatpants and that one hoodie you never wash — they’ll recognize that they’re in the presence of fashion royalty.

Injustice. This is something you’ll want to consider fighting, especially if you’re planning to study abroad. There is so much injustice out there, and saying that you support top causes like Hurricane Katrina, Darfur and ending the fracking is one of the quickest ways to help make the world a better place.

Journalism. Almost like a career, except largely unpaid.

Keeping it real (also, “kicking it”).  A great way to answer the oft-asked “sup” when you’re engaging in a spirited round of texting. E.g.:

urfriend: sup

u: nm jus keepin it real u

urfriend: nm kickin it u

u: nm jus keepin it real u

Laziness. Two or three years into your undergraduate career, you’ll attain a level of utter lethargy that you probably won’t reach again until you hit retirement. Treasure this period, because you might never get to sleep straight through Sunday and into Monday ever again.

Mount Washington. The perfect place for a Facebook photo op. If you place your hands at the top and bottom of a building, it will look like you’re holding it. Isn’t that just the most original idea for a picture you’ve ever heard?

News. Best obtained from reputable sources like The Daily Show,, and

Oliver Bateman. President and founder of, your one-stop shop for all the latest campus goings-on.

Public transportation. Crowd in alongside all the other miserable people on the jam-packed 61C, but don’t give an inch when any poor sap or handicapped old lady tries to exit. Plus, it’s good for the planet!

Quitting school. If your beer funds have dried up, this kind of threat — usually accompanied by a stated desire of “finding yourself” — is a good way to get the ‘rents to cough up an extra $500 or so.

Registration. A once-in-a-semester chance to sign up for thrilling gen eds that were recently awarded a grade of “D” in an assessment conducted by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. If you don’t know about hot topics like “9/11,” “Freud,” “1492” and the “Founding Fathers,” you will soon!

South Side. If you enjoy hanging out with awful people, wearing striped club shirts, “macking it” and crossing rivers, this is the neighborhood for you.

Thought, political. An ideology that’s well-suited for most undergraduates is libertarianism, which encompasses a host of relevant positions ranging from 420-friendliness (“Legalize it!”) to dispensing with that nuisance of a drinking age.

Undergraduate, seventh-year. A way of “finding yourself” without actually quitting school. Keep those checks coming, mom and dad!

Vaccination, flu. Sure, getting vaccinated might be good for public health and could possibly even prevent you from catching the flu, but why bother with that nasty needle when a solid case of the flu can give you a legitimate excuse for missing five weeks of class?

Wedding. Something for boring old 23-year-olds and England’s beloved Prince William to worry their pretty little receding hairlines about.

Extra credit. Offered in every class, so keep nagging the instructor until he or she gives it to you. If that person writes on the syllabus that there’s no extra credit, it really just means it’s “secret” extra credit.

Youth. Prepare to spend the next four years of your life losing it.

Zambelli fireworks. Offered at the conclusion of some Pirates games in order to alleviate the pain of another dismal home-team loss. When accompanied by a performance from a supergroup like Collective Soul or Huey Lewis and the News, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.