Each fall thousands of recent high school graduates head off to begin their higher academic careers. Entering freshmen start their journey with excitement, plus a little trepidation as they encounter new experiences and embrace a new environment. There are quite a few tasks new students undertake the first few days on campus. From orientation to purchasing course books, to setting up the dorm room, to finding the way around campus, freshmen have a lot to do. Some tasks, such as moving into the dorm, are pretty stress free. In fact, it is a lot of fun to purchase college merchandise for the dorm. Items such as a university specific college lamp, a comforter with school colors, university sports banners, or hip posters for the wall make a room seem like home very quickly. Other tasks can be very time consuming. Here are a few things entering freshmen should expect to encounter the first few days on campus:
o Get ready for the long lines. One thing to count on, no matter the size of the campus being attended, there will be long lines for most everything. Whether it’s the cafeteria, or the bookstore, or the registrar’s office, or the dorm showers, get used to the wait. With so many students getting acclimated to new surroundings, it is not unusual for there to be a slow process as people are finding their way around. Additionally, as students are establishing their schedules, they are trying to find the routine which best suites them. This can create a backlog in these first few days, as more than the usual amount of people flock to one place.
o Get ready to be lost. A new campus, whether large or small, contains buildings which are unfamiliar to new students. Each new student should give themselves plenty of extra time to find their way around. Soon the campus will be very familiar and easy to navigate but the first few days can be a nightmare when it comes to getting places on time.
o Get ready for a new schedule. A university class schedule is nothing like high school class schedules. Often classes meet just once or twice a week and it is not unusual to be able to schedule classes or labs in the evening. Time management is a skill which most freshman acquire during the first few weeks of university life, when they adjust to living on their own and being responsible for their appointments.
o Get ready to meet new people. The social scene at most universities is one of the things freshman are most excited about. There are so many chances to meet people whether that be through club involvement, fraternities, classes, dining hall, or at sporting events. Special mixer events are often planned in early fall to get new students off to a fun start.
o Get ready to move ahead. Entering higher education is the beginning of adulthood for many freshman. It is the time in life when most people start taking control of the future. The chance to attend and succeed in higher academics is often the first step to a rewarding and lucrative career.