Finally, the time has come. You’re headed off to your new college campus, excited about beginning a brand new chapter in your life. It’s normal to feel anxious, scared, shy, or even ridiculously happy. In fact, you’ll probably feel all of these emotions at some point!
Since this is likely to be one of the biggest changes you have ever experienced in life, it can be easy to become swept away by emotion and overlook something. Remember to do these things during your first week, and you can set yourself up for an easier transition to campus life.
Have a chat with your roommate. If you’ve been assigned a roommate, living with a brand-new person can feel challenging. Ask them to talk candidly with you, inquire about their living preferences, and agree to a few basic “ground rules” that make you both feel safe and happy.
Scope out the good food. If you’re living on campus, the nearest dining hall might be your regular haunt. But most college campuses include more than one eating option, and even the dining halls can vary in their offerings. You’ll want to know when the taco bar is offered, or where the biggest salad bar is located. Search your school’s website for online menus, or check out different locations in person. Look for small vendors around campus, too. This information will come in handy when you’re craving a latte or a smoothie.
Check out the library. You will be surprised what is offered through the library (other than books, of course). College libraries are often hubs of information on campus programs, such as free writing workshops or math tutoring.
Visit the bookstore early. Renting your textbooks is almost always a cheaper option that purchasing them. But there’s a catch: Supplies of rented books are often limited. Get to the bookstore right away to keep your book bill as low as possible.
Get to know your resident advisor. If you’re staying in a dorm, your RA is a valuable resource. This is the person who can help you with various aspects of dorm life, so go knock on his or her door and introduce yourself.
Pick up a copy of the newspaper. Your college newspaper will keep you in touch with happenings on campus.
Learn the bus route. Particularly large campuses often offer free transportation, but it won’t do you much good if you aren’t familiar with it. Print out a copy of the bus routes and schedules, and keep it in your backpack for handy reference.
Get connected online. Follow your school on social media. You might even check to see if your department or interesting organizations also operate Twitter or Facebook accounts. Populate your news feed with information that is relevant to your new life.
Seek support. Everyone has different needs. Perhaps you already know that you will need a math tutor. Some students experience difficulty with stressful changes. Others aren’t natural social butterflies, and need help getting involved. Identify your particular needs, and seek out the support services offered by your campus. It’s better to line up help now, than wait until you’re experiencing trouble.
Check each syllabus carefully. On the first day of each class, you will receive a course syllabus. Often these will include test dates and deadlines for papers and projects. Enter each item onto your organizer or smartphone app, so that you won’t forget anything important. College professors often do not issue numerous reminders the way that high school teachers do!
Mix it up. During the first week of the school year, almost every club and organization on campus will sponsor parties and events. Take advantage of these opportunities to make friends and learn about your new school.