College Week: First Week On Campus;

August 25, 2011

Since I'm just finishing up my first week of classes, here are a few inside tips on how to make your first week on campus a successful one!

*Map it Out, Then Walk it Out
Ever since Jr. High I've been that freaky girl with the overly organized color-coded schedule to match my overly organized color-coded map of the class. I was so afraid I'd get lost in my huge high school that summer before 10th grade started I visited the school three times to find my classes, walk my route, and get acquainted with the surroundings, so that on the first day I wouldn't look like a lost puppy.

My advice to you once your know you're schedule is to write it down and get familiar with it. Start memorizing the times you have to be places and don't be afraid to make copies to keep on hand. Obtain a map of your school and find each of the classes on the map. Gauge how long it will take you to get from place to place. Then, take some time out of the day before classes begin to actually walk to each building (you don't necessarily have to physically go to each classroom, but knowing where the building is helps so much). Depending on how many classes you have and how far apart they're space, it should take thirty minutes of less to walk to each one.

*Be on Time
Basic enough right? Punctuality is one of the best traits a college student can have. The first week of class make sure to leave your dorm a wee bit earlier than normal. Get to your class with five to ten minutes to spare. Being early is being on time. Come to class prepared to learn (that is what you're at college for despite popular belief)! Being on time, even a little early, will allow more one on one time with Professors, allow you get settled in and focused in on the class, ask any questions you may have, and will ensure that you don't miss a word of lecture.

*Attend Everything
By no means am I saying to go and overload yourself. Everyone must have priorities, but Welcome Week, Back-to-school, or Freshman activities are sure to be in full swing this week no matter where you go! At my school there was a day where all the different shops and places in town convened in the Union. Free t-shirts, stickers, pens, and cup cozies were in abundance! There was free pizza, ice-cream, and a local radio station blasted the latest hits. There was club day, where all clubs and organizations on campus set up. I explored like a mad-woman! College is the one place where you can find almost any kind of club! Underwater basket weaving? Heck to the Yeah!

We also had a Poster Sale, Movie Night (Inception on the main school lawn at 9 o'clock beats out doing nothing any day), an Ice-Cream Social (free ice-cream sundaes? count me in!), a Luau, and an event called Friday Night Live where there was music, paintball, volleyball, and more. Tonight is the Freshman Pep Rally and I can't wait to put on my school pride! Take advantage of all the different events going on even if it seems silly! You'll meet so many new people and get plugged in faster than the speed of light. Also, free food and discounts on local places don't hurt either! I've managed to score discounts on every pizza joint, fro-yo place, and gym in a fifty mile radius!

Also, strive to attend all of you dorm/floor/hall meetings! Getting to know your RA's and the people that live around you is essential to having a really amazing college experience/dorm life. There is a lot of activity going on on my floor usually. There's movie nights, watch-parties for popular TV shows, ping-pong, and ruthless games of Apples to Apples! If activity is lacking on your floor, be the first one to suggest something or start a tradition (like a True Blood Watch Party or Friday Pizza and Movie Nights).

*Expect the Unexpected
I thought I had come to college more than prepared. I had packed my bags carefully, ordered all the right books in advance, stocked up on my supplies, and visited the book store more than once just to make sure. After my first two days of classes, I was overwhelmed with how unprepared I really was. I needed hangers, things to fill my fridge, and all sorts of class material.

My 2D Design teacher required a whole set of course notes I didn't know how to purchase and a supply kit that felt wildly out of my budget ($144). I had just spent $120 on my Drawing I supply kit and about $100 on all of my books. By the end of the week I had spent nearly $400 in getting the right supplies I needed. For World Civ I had to purchase two small books and a pack of blue books, I had to purchase a 2D Design supply kit and course notes, and a Psych book. My Psych professor had not listed a required textbook until I went to his class (or else I would've pre-ordered it). After class I went to the book store. There were no more used copies or rent versions of the book. I was stuck buying a brand spanking new Psych book at full price. I wanted to die.

*Branch Out
Strive to meet new people this week! Everyone is feeling a little lost, missing their friends/family back home, and adjusting to the new environment. It is not just you! Be open and friendly. Even if you weren't an outgoing social butterfly in high school (I certainly wasn't) the new people you meet won't know that! Take every opportunity and chance to meet someone and run with it. Why not be a little spontaneous this first week? Speak up in class, be the first to introduce yourself, and smile with confidence (even if you're somewhat terrified on the inside). It's everyone's chance to start anew. I'm trying my best to embrace my inner social butterfly. It's hard, but I've forced myself to meet new people and be a little fearless this week and it's been a good experience.

Have a great first week of school everyone! 

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