College planning can be a lot to handle. In crossing off the items you need from your checklist, there’s an air of nervous excitement in the days before you finally arrive. Although this is a new chapter in life, there are many ways to make your new surroundings feel like home.
1. Buy Some Gear
Before you even get to college, a great way to feel at home is to look like you’re a part of your community. Take the opportunity to hunt for sweatshirts, sweatpants, scarves, caps and anything that you can wear on the first day on classes and throughout the year. Spirit wear can get pretty expensive, but looking around at clearance sections for better prices is a good way to get started.
2. Go to Freshman Events
For most universities, welcome weekend is packed with random, fun-filled activities. Participating in these is great for obtaining a geographical sense of your campus, even if it’s small, and meeting other people who are in your shoes. Another great perk is that they usually give out free prizes and helpful tips.
3. Attend Floor Meetings
Although it’s tempting to skip out on floor meetings, at least attending the first one is a must to understand the logistics of occupying the space. It’s important to get a feel for what the living space rules are and what events go on in your building. This is also an opportunity to get to know the people you are living with as well as your resident assistants, who are a great resource for academic and personal questions.
4. Bond with Your Roommates
An interesting way to break the ice between the people you live with is to come up with a fun event that you can participate in together. Whether this be board games in someone’s room, movie night or a campus walk-through to map out class locations, putting in the effort to get to know these people is surely worth it in the long run.
5. Go to Club Interest Meetings
Going to interest meetings during your first semester gives you the opportunity to scan your options. Since these are generally commitment-free meetings, this is your way of gauging what your campus has to offer and what you might want to devote some of your free time to. Even if you aren’t interested in joining a club your first semester, having different choices gives you a head start for the upcoming semesters.
6. Discover University Traditions
Going to sporting events and campus-held events can help you understand traditions unique to your campus. This gives you the ability to observe the people who have already adapted to your surroundings. There could be some odd ones that you never would’ve heard about without experiencing campus events firsthand. It’s always entertaining to go home and tell your friends and family about random university stories and their origins.
7. Visit On-Campus Study Areas
Finding libraries, study lounges or coffee shops to study in gives you the opportunity to relax and remove yourself from your living space to better understand your environment. Even if these places are a little far, take a friend and walk around! You just might find the perfect spot to study in during exam season.
8. Explore Nearby Cities
If your campus is in or near a city, take advantage of the great food and photo opportunities. You’ll come out having learned something new about your surroundings. This is also a great way to make memories and take advantage of your initial free time.
9. (Try to) Keep Up with Work
The first week of the semester is generally information about how the semester will go for each class. This generally leaves quite a bit of free time in your schedule. Take this as a chance to map out your exam schedule, finish some upcoming busywork and find people to study with. This keeps you organized and gives you a head start on planning study sessions when you need them.
1o. Capture the Moments
Don’t forget to mark your memories with photos, writings, art and so on. College is supposed to be the best years of your life, so you might as well document it. Keep these reminders somewhere safe to look back on in a few months or years.