College can be a tedious experience, especially as an incoming freshman who moved far away from home and doesn’t know anyone at their new school. There are some activities, however, that incoming freshmen can do to become more acclimated to their new environment and find a group of friends that suits them. Read on to find out what the key things you should know for your first week of college!
1) Walk/Drive Around the Entire Campus
One of the smartest moves to make when arriving on your new college campus is to walk around the entire campus. Or, if it is too large, drive around to get a feel for where everything is and begin to learn your way around your new school. You may have already done this during your school’s new student orientation, but it will be helpful to repeat this now that you are a full-time student. Be sure to scope out where the library is, where all the food courts are and places where you will buy necessities, like a bookstore, convenient store and grocery store.
2) Walk and Map Out All Your Classes
Walking to all the buildings that I had classes in before school even started was helpful for me and many other students for a number of reasons. Walking the campus to all your classes helps you find the best route for the in-between periods, the best lunch spots and the bus routes (if your school has this).
3) Attend All Your Welcome Week Activities
Most colleges will host a “welcome week” with concerts, activity fairs, food and performances. A great way to make friends and get to know your school better is to go to these events and get a feel for the culture of your school. These welcome weeks typically appeal to lots of people because of the diversity in events. You will be sure to find something for you and meet some cool, new people along the way.
4) Explore the College Town
After exploring your new campus, another fun and useful activity is exploring your college town. Chances are, you will likely spend a lot of your free time in your college’s surrounding town going out to eat, catching a movie and, of course, hitting the bars once you turn 21.
5) Decorate Your Dorm Room
The first week of your freshman year should be dedicated to making the campus feel like your home away from home as much as possible. This includes scouting out your campus, attending the planned social events for freshmen and decorating your dorm room in a way that suits you! Get creative with your decorating and make the room feel cozy and true to you, as you will be spending much of your time here sleeping, relaxing and studying. Some ways to make your dorm room more homey are by adding pictures of your friends and family from back home, candles, furry blankets and a cozy reading chair.
6) Make Two Friends in Each of Your Classes
Making at least two friends in each of your classes is helpful not only as a freshman, but during every year of your college career. Making friends forces you to interact with and meet new people. It will also come in handy to have the phone numbers and email addresses of these classmates in case you need information for an assignment or missed a day of class and need the notes.
7) Go To Your School’s Club/Activity Fair
Attending your school’s club/activity fair is especially smart as an incoming freshman. This will allow you to get involved on campus and meet people with similar interests as you. Getting involved on campus can make you feel more like you have a place on campus. It can also help you get a break from your classes and school work, as well as help you explore things you are interested in other than your major.
8) Hang Out With the People on Your Dorm Floor
One of the quickest and easiest ways to make friends is to befriend the people who live on your dorm floor. Many college relationships are started because of these interactions, as the people you live with tend to be people you spend the most time with and can hopefully rely on. Even if you do not become best friends with the people that live on your floor, it is best you have solid relationships with these people in case you feel homesick or need to borrow some toothpaste. These are the people that will always have your back for the nine months you are living there.
9) Introduce Yourself to Your Professors
During your first week of classes, it is in your best interest to create solid relationships and open communication with all your professors and teacher’s assistants. These people want you to be successful and learn a lot in their classes, so make the effort to show interest and a strong work ethic. You will be happy you did this when you need to miss a class, reach out for some extra help on an assignment, or even in the future when you need a letter of recommendation written for you.
10) Get a Feel For the Social Scene
Another way to get acclimated to your college campus is to get comfortable and familiar with the social aspect of your school. If you go to a Big Ten school in the Midwest, maybe the social part of your school is largely owed to the sports team. If you go to a liberal arts college on the East Coast, maybe the social life revolves around arts shows and music events. Figure out what your college has to offer in terms of a social scene, and then find a place where you fit into that. Talk to and interact with as many people as possible and join clubs or organizations that peak your interest. Sooner than later, you will feel at home with your new community.
Essentially, the best things to do before you start your freshman year are to feel out the campus and understand what makes it what it is. Try to meet as many people as you can, including students and teachers, and try to make your room feel like home as much as possible. Get involved in as much as you can, too! Before you know it, you will be running the show and easily making your way around campus in no time.