The process has begun. You applied and received your acceptance to the one and only Florida State University. Everything feels so fresh and exciting, but then moving day comes. You must pack up, leave your friends and hometown behind, only to be greeted by a huge campus, intimidating classes and thousands of people you don’t know. Sounds pretty overwhelming, right? You can rest assured that it doesn’t have to be that way.
Settled in at FSU? Get ready to have an amazing first year as a Nole.
1. Attend Orientation ASAP
The quicker you get to orientation, the better your college transition. You learn so much about FSU that helps you prepare for your transition to college. On top of all the information you receive, you get the chance to sign up for classes. Class registration happens on a rolling basis, so the later you attend orientation, the fewer classes available. Putting off orientation is the equivalent to signing yourself over to the dreadful 8 a.m. classes that no one wants. Pick your classes, see the campus and meet some new college friends. “It was super comforting to meet cool people right off the bat at orientation, and just being able to walk around campus was really exciting,” said sophomore Nadia Allison. It’s time to embrace bleeding garnet and gold.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Use a Map
It seems mortifying to pull out that map in the middle of the sidewalk, like putting a neon sign over your head that flashes “Look at me, I’m a freshman and I have no idea what I’m doing!” but no one is paying attention. You can download a map onto your phone to be more discreet, but these aren’t always reliable. Chances are, you’ll end up asking someone for directions eventually. Laugh it off and try to make a new friend. Everyone on that campus has been through the freshman trial-and-error stage—they know how it feels and will be more than willing to help you.
3. Prepare for the Flood
When it rains, it pours. Out-of-state students who have never experienced a Florida flood can easily be tricked by the nickname “the sunshine state.” Afternoon showers are fairly common in Tallahassee, forcing students to trudge through the rain on the way to class. Campus rests on a slope, so some areas build up water quickly. “One day I was on my way to class and it started pouring. Within minutes, my shoes were filled with water. I walked into the book store soaking wet and bought an umbrella,” said senior Geranise Dorce. Invest in an umbrella, rain boots and a rain jacket to stay as dry for class as you can.
4. Reduce, Reuse…
Drink water. Even if it’s chilly out, you can still work up a sweat walking between classes. Staying hydrated keeps you prepared for class both mentally and physically. Reusable water bottles are all the rage right now—being cheap, eco-friendly and hydrated has never been so cool. Customize your bottle by purchasing a few stickers to place on the outside and refill your bottle at one of the several refill stations across campus. Don’t feel like a bottle is enough? People carry around full gallons, too.
5. Make Your Mark
Get involved from the beginning, even though it seems as if you have a lifetime of college activities ahead of you. Take that initiative and find your spot on campus your first semester. This encourages you to meet new people early on and help you meet your future goals— whether that be an office position in a club or giving you experience for your future career. With over 800 sports and organizations hosted through the school, you will find one that sticks out to you. If by chance you cannot, however, then start your own. All you need is a professor and nine of your friends on board and presto, you have a Recognized Student Organization (RSO).
6. Learn the Tomahawk Chop
F-L-O-R-I-D-A S-T-A-T-E! Florida State, Florida State, Florida State! Woo! Congratulations, the FSU Fight Song is your new mantra for at least the next 4 years. You cannot find a better place to display your FSU pride than at a home football game, so get ready to rumble. “The spirit, unison and feeling that I felt at my first football game was something I had never experienced before. I remember doing the Nole chop and chanting along with everyone else. I will always carry these special traditions with me,” said junior Dachely Hernandez. Even if football isn’t your forte, you must witness a game for yourself.
7. Embrace the Lecture Hall Life
The first day of class will feel intimidating for several reasons, but to make matters more shudder-inducing, a large portion of GenEd courses have 100+ students. This setting seems to discourage professor-student relationships and class discussions, but you get out of it what you put into it. Talking to a professor one-on-one seems terrifying, but they want students to excel and appreciate the students who put in the extra effort. “Being in a big class actually took off some of the pressure. I felt like if a question was raised and I didn’t know the answer to it, then one of the hundreds of other people might,” said Dorce. Once the adjustment period ends, you may even grow to prefer the large classroom setting over small discussion-based courses.
8. Take Advantage of Your Resources
College is a transition that takes an army—every student needs a helping hand from time to time. No matter the issue, reaching out to the plethora of resources on campus will get you on the right track. The biggest mistake students make is knowing about the resources available and not taking advantage of them. Don’t be that guy. You’ll find tutors on campus for every subject under the sun. Researchers in the library can help you find the perfect resources for your paper, then you can get someone to read it over at the Reading and Writing Center. Sometimes life gets hard and the load becomes a burden, but the counselors at the University Counseling Center take walk-ins and want you to thrive.
9. Remember Why You’re There
Life as a college student can get super busy. It’s easy to get caught up in your social life and lose sight of why you’re even at school. While going to the Strip on the weekends and bonding with your new friends sounds like fun, stay focused on your classes. “Take your classes seriously. One C now is going to affect your GPA for the next four years,” said sophomore Patrick Coogan. Finding that balance becomes key to keeping your grades up while maintaining contact with the outside world. It’s not impossible, but it just requires some practice.
10. Be Open
Overall, your college experience is what you make of it. Your attitude will affect your grades and opinions more than anything else, so keep an open mind. You will encounter every kind of person with every possible background when you attend this a large and diverse university. Embrace the opportunity to learn, grow and care, and you never know where it could take you.