As I enter my sophomore year at the University Of Maryland, I look back at my first semester in college. I think back to what it was like entering a huge college at which I knew no one, what it was like to have a roommate (or roommates) for the first time and about all of the things that I wish someone told me when I was a clueless freshman.
I cannot describe how I felt when I did not know where I was geographically on campus, the feeling of not knowing where I was going or how to get there. I have compiled some tips regarding the matter.
1. Wander around campus BEFORE classes start!
The day before classes started a year ago, my roommate and I went to every building that we knew we had classes in and took note of what room we would have to go to. We weren’t as confused when the first day of classes came!
2. Mark your map!
It is important to know HOW to get from one class to another! Try to use a campus map to mark what routes you will take.
3. Check for Apps!
The University of Maryland has a GPS-like website called TerpNav that shows the quickest routes to classes. Many schools have smartphone apps and websites similar to TerpNav that will definitely be helpful to you! If not, most campus buldings can be searched in Google and IPhone Maps.
My best friend from home and I decided that it would be a great idea to live together in the college dorms. Unfortunately, we did not get along and ended up separating. Looking back, I know that if we would’ve had the following advice, we would have probably been fine!
1. You and your roommate should always be open with each other.
My best friend and I were both keeping our problems to ourselves. Neither one of us wanted to confront the other to tell her our issues. Instead of being able to resolve our (mostly insignificant) issues right away, we both had let them bottle up inside which led to our split.
2. Remember, you are both experiencing something new.
When you are experiencing a totally new environment, it is not guaranteed that you will have tons of friends right away. For the first few days, try to go places together and make friends. At first it may be annoying always traveling with your roommate, but you have to remember that you may be each other’s most important friend in the beginning! Make sure to branch out though! Don’t think that you have to be together AT ALL TIMES. Also, don't forget that it is okay to reach out to people! The girl sitting in front of you in your calculus class may just be your new best friend, but not if no one makes the first move!
3. Be considerate!
When you are living in such tight quarters with someone else, you have to be considerate of the other person. I hate to sound like your mom here but… Take out your garbage! Do your laundry! Don’t make a mess on the floor! Always use headphones!
As I said, I wish someone would have told me these things a year ago! Everyone is experiencing something new. It may be difficult to adjust to at first, but trust me, in the end it will be amazing and in a year from now, you will be giving incoming freshman all of your tips and tricks!