You just finished unpacking and decorating your dorm room, you’ve met your roommate, and you’re registered for classes. Now what? Going into your freshman year at any college can be a huge adjustment, but keeping an open mind and working hard will get you into the groove of college life in no time. Keep reading for 11 ways to adjust your freshman year at CU Boulder.
1. Get to know your roommate.
Let’s face the facts. Your roommate might not become your best friend. You might not even like each other very much. But, you will be living together for at least a year and they will be the first person you really talk to on campus. Having a good, civil relationship with your roommate is key to feeling at home in your dorm. While it’s important to be kind and respectful of all people in your life, keep these attributes at the front of your mind when getting to know your roommate.
2. Be organized.
Transitioning from high school to college can be tough. All of a sudden you get to choose whether or not you attend class and you’re quickly figuring out that you actually need to study. Try to make the switch smoother by being organized when it comes to class. Print out your schedule and a campus map and make sure you know how to get to all your classes—it’s no fun to be searching for the CHEM building when you have 5 minutes before class starts. When your teachers hand out the syllabi they spent hours creating, honor it. Write down the due dates for all major assignments, making sure there are no surprises in the semester to come.
3. Go to the Welcome Week events.
The Welcome Week events are there to do just that—welcome you. From Ralphie’s Cooking Basics to Greek Fair to outdoor yoga, you’re sure to find something you enjoy at welcome week. Use this time to meet some people with similar interests and get out of the dorm. Not only will you be able to be fully initiated into the Boulder scene, but you’ll also learn about all the great clubs and organizations right on campus.
4. Explore the Norlin Library.
Avoid stress by getting to know the ins and outs of the Norlin Library before finals week. While CU Boulder has a reputation as a party school, knowing when to buckle down and study will ensure that you’re happy with your academic record in addition to your social life. Although you likely have a desk in your dorm room, knowing how and where to study at the library will allow you more peace and quiet—and therefore more effective studying—then your dorm ever could.
5. Take advantage of the CU Rec Center.
The CU Boulder Rec is seriously decked out. With a Buff shaped pool, rock wall, gym, and tons of classes to choose from, you’re sure to find something you like. As we all know, exercise releases endorphins, and endorphins make you happy. Take some of the stress out of adjusting to CU by working up a sweat. Grab your roommate or a friend and explore the gym to get an extra boost of happiness.
6. Scope out the Boulder Foothills.
Adjusting to college is about more than just harder classes and new people—many freshmen are living in a new city without parents for the first time. Go outdoors and hike some of the many trails around the Foothills to get to know the Boulder culture a little better. With the outdoorsy, get-up-and-go attitude in Boulder and at CU, you’ll surely have no shortage of people willing to go with you. Alternatively, take the trek by yourself to clear your mind and have a peaceful day-long getaway.
7. Talk to your professors.
Professors at CU are required to hold office hours, so take advantage of them. Definitely go in if you have any questions on the material, but even if you don’t, go in and just talk to your professor. Don’t know what to talk about? Ask about their research. They’ll love talking about what they’re doing and they’ll appreciate that you’re expressing an interest in their field. Whether you’re in a large lecture class or a small honors course, you’ll be glad to be a familiar name when you oversleep on the day of the final and have to ask for another chance.
8. Get involved.
As cliché as it sounds, getting involved is the easiest way to make friends and feel at home. While browsing clubs at Welcome Week, find 4 or 5 clubs or intramurals that you’re really interested in and sign up. Go to the first meeting of all of them and narrow it down to 2 to 4 so you’re not spread too thin. While joining all of the clubs seems like it will be a good idea during orientation, you’ll be glad to be able to fully commit to a couple clubs throughout the semester rather than having too much to do and stressing yourself out.
9. Take care of yourself.
Along those lines, try to keep your physical, mental, and emotional health in check, particularly during the first couple months. CU Boulder makes this easy with the rec center and surrounding hiking trails as well as health resources such as nutrition seminars and therapy. Build a manageable schedule and find the time and place where you have the easiest time studying. While the C4C can be tempting with buffets upon buffets of delicious food, try to eat balanced meals and pay attention to what you’re putting in your body.
10. Check out CU’s student resources.
The resources CU Boulder has on campus are there to help you. Beyond advising and the Office of Victim Assistance, CU Boulder has resources to help you find a job, keep up with your physical and mental wellness, and even make sure you get home safe at night. Explore the Student page on the CU website to find tons of great services like CU NightRide, Student Affairs, and Career Services.
11. Adjust your expectations.
Maybe you thought your roommate would quickly become your best friend, maybe you don’t love your major after all, or maybe you just don’t feel as at home as you thought you would on campus. Whatever it is, let it go. College is rarely what we expect it to be, but it often turns out to be okay in the end. Throughout this transition, keep an open mind as to what CU Boulder will bring you and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the relationships and opportunities that come your way.