14 things you need to do your first week on campus

woman on a college campusYou might want to spend all your time in your dorm unpacking or talking to family and friends on the phone the first couple days. But there are a few things you can do to make your transition much easier:

Go to as many first year activities as you can. This is a great way to meet people and these support systems won’t last forever.

Check out fliers and emails for clubs. The beginning of the year is the best time to join clubs, though you could probably join at any time of the year. If there are any that interest you, attend their first meetings to get more information and decide how involved you want to be.

Be friendly. Everyone is pretty friendly the first few days and this is the best time to meet people. Remember they’re just as nervous as you are. Get to know your dorm or ask people that you met in orientation to go with you to dinner, club meetings, or to walk with you to class.

Minimize phone time with friends and family at home. The first couple of days are the best time to meet people. If you spend all of your time connected elsewhere, you’ll miss out on this opportunity.

Lay out the ground rules with your roommate. If you don’t say anything at the beginning, anything goes. It’s better that they’re aware of your bedtime, smoking and socializing habits upfront.

Map out your classes. This will help make your first days go smoother. If you can, take a walk around campus to find out exactly where your classes are. Especially if you have to take a bus or shuttle to get to some of your classes, it’ll help to know how much time it’ll take you to get there and where the stop is.

Find your mailbox. It always surprises me when halfway through the first semester people still don’t know where your mailbox is. You’ll get more than letters from home in your mailbox - you might get announcements for events on campus, paychecks, and returned papers or exams from your classes.

Set your phone message. All the phones were probably reset before you got to campus, but you’ll want to personalize your answering message. If people don’t have your cell phone number, this will be one way they’ll contact you.

Find a quiet place to study. You’ll probably have a very tiny room and you might get a crazy roommate. It’s important to find a place you’ll enjoy going to other than your room. This could be a cozy spot at the library, a corner at the café, or a bench on one of the campus lawns.

Visit the gym. For some, this might be a stress reliever. They might offer free personal training or non credit classes like kick boxing, rock climbing, or pilates.

Locate Wi-Fi spots. If you’re looking for a quiet place to study, this might be an important factor. It’ll also be useful when you’re meeting for group projects.

Find a local grocery store. There’ll probably be times when you’re hungry and the cafeteria isn’t open or you just don’t want to walk there. If you have a few snacks or noodle bowls in your room, you’ll be prepared. If there isn’t a grocery store close by, at least find a spot where you can get extra food on campus like a vending machine or your bookstore.

Get to know your library resources. Chances are you’ll have at least a handful of libraries available to you. You’ll want to find out the hours and locations of all the libraries. Some will have books or movies on reserve for your classes and others may offer 24 hour computer labs. There are other things libraries can offer such as renting out computers (great for group projects at the library) and movie rentals (academic or just for fun).

Buy your books. This is the time to check out bookstore prices, check the libraries, order books online, and see if other people are taking the same classes.


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