Get To Know Campus Like The Back Of Your Hand

Going away to college is terrifying for most high school students at first. The thought of not knowing anyone or where anything is can panic students, but your college experience doesn’t have to start out this way. Whether you’re planning on going to a small or large school, it’s crucial to know your way around campus before you move in.

For incoming freshman, most schools have orientation in the summer to get students registered for classes and get a feel for the campus, since this may be some students first time visiting. While this is great for learning the campus and meeting other freshman, the short period orientation is usually jam packed with activities. This makes it difficult to really explore the campus on your own. So either before or after orientation, I highly suggest visiting the campus at least two or three more times, and here’s why:

  • Avoid getting lost: While it’s comical for upperclassmen to see freshman walking around campus with maps glued in front of their faces, you don’t ever want to be that student. The first week of classes is tough if you don’t know where you’re going; but it’s even more embarrassing completing your entire route via handheld map. Walking around campus during the summer and finding where your classes are will make you look like a pro on your first day. Not only will this save you from embarrassment, but also familiarizing yourself with the campus layout will help you arrive to class on time. So many students are late to class during the first week because they get lost, and professors don’t usually give in to this excuse. Professors will treat you more like an adult than high school teachers did, so this means they expect you to know where you’re going and to be on time. Some will even call the students out that come in late, and it’s never a good feeling having hundreds of heads turn and stare at you.
  • Meet students early: If you go to college somewhere in state, then it’s likely a handful of students from your high school will go there too. But college is big and you’re not going to recognize most faces. Walking around on campus during the summer gives you the opportunity to meet other students staying there, so you won’t feel completely friendless that first week of school. Although it will mainly be upperclassmen on campus at this time, there will also be other incoming freshman touring by themselves, in groups, or with parents. If you see other students (new or old), go talk to them. If it’s an upperclassman, use this as a chance to ask any questions you have about the school. If they’re a new student, ask if they want to walk around campus with you so you can learn the routes together. Try and keep in touch with anyone you meet ahead of time so you can contact them once you move to school for good.
  • Check out your dorm: Everyone always talks about how dorm rooms are so small and not the best living arrangements. While this may or may not be true at your school, it’s always a good idea to see a room in person before moving in. This way you have a better sense of how much space there is, which helps you avoid over packing.
  • Attend a campus activity: Just because it’s summertime doesn’t mean that fun things still don’t happen on campus. Many activities and festivals take place in college towns, attracting many students. This is another good way to get a feel for the school, meet other students, ask questions, and have a good time. Schedules for campus activities can usually be found on the school’s main website, and/or the city’s website calendar.

College is a big adjustment at first because so many new things are being thrown at you all at once. There are going to be a lot of unexpected things you can’t prepare for, but getting to know details of the campus is something you can prepare for. If you live out of state or don’t have a way to visit campus before moving there, study the campus map. All schools have a map on their websites, so use that to at least locate where your classes will be. And don’t ever be afraid to ask anyone else around for help with directions.

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Jordyn Timpson

Jordyn Timpson

Jordyn Timpson is a junior at Michigan State University working towards her journalism degree with a specialization in documentary film. She designs and writes for a campus magazine and is a server at Bob Evans. When Jordyn has free time she likes to watch movies and her favorite show Breaking Bad, spend hours on tumblr, go on adventures with friends and travel.
Jordyn Timpson

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