Tips For When You Arrive At College For The First Time

College is an exciting opportunity to explore a new city, meet interesting people, have a lot of fun, learn many new things, and grow as a person.  Of course, this can be quite overwhelming and stressful, both for your academic and social life.  Here's a few tips on what you should do when you arrive.

1)  Talk to your roommates.  More than likely, the first place you'll arrive to is your new dorm or apartment.  When you arrive, you will most likely meet your roommates.  Of course you should first introduce yourself, talking about your names, majors, and interests.  Then, establish ground rules and boundaries, such as what your roommates are allowed to borrow, when you both usually sleep and wake up, as well as the kind of environment you require to study or sleep.

2) Explore your campus.  You should walk around campus not only because it is rich in architecture and landscape, but you should also find out where your classes are, so you don't get lost on the first day and arrive late to class.  In addition, you should also find out where the stores, health centers, cafeterias, and social venues are.  That way, you know where to go when you need something specific or when you hear of a cool event that's taking place on campus.

3) Learn about campus happenings.  Usually, before classes start, there is a wide variety of social events happening both on- and off-campus.  Meet people and say hello whenever you can.  They are most likely open to meeting new people as well.  Find out how you can have fun before and start feeling the "college experience," before classes begin.  This will also provide an opportunity to make some friendships that will make your transition to college a bit easier.

4) Explore student organizations.  A common regret that most college students endure is not having joined student groups earlier.  Student groups have several benefits, such as making friendships with people of similar interests, or building your professional resume.  There are two reasons why you should join clubs.  First, you should join for your own interest, whether or not it is pertinent to your career.  For example, if you wish to be a doctor, but are interested in singing, try auditioning for a musical production or an a cappella group.  Not only will you have a fun time, but you will also have a unique college experience to talk about with future employers.  Secondly, join a club for professional interest.  If you want to be a journalist, try joining the school newspaper.  These organizations will help you network with professionals for amazing employment opportunities, and you will also have mentors to guide you toward your future goals, in terms of application processes, exams, etc.

I hope these tips help you in making your transition to college a little less frightening.  Always remember that academics should always be your priority, but at the same time, it is still important to keep your passions, make lifelong friendships, and have a lot of fun!


Brian is currently majoring in biochemistry and minoring in science education at the University of California, Los Angeles.  He plans on pursuing careers in teaching as well as singing.

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