Summer is winding down and school is just around the corner. For college freshmen, the upcoming year can be as exciting as it is nerve-wracking. Some are eager and others anxious–most are a mix of the two. No doubt about it, the first year of college is a big step forward (more like a leap, really).
One of the biggest fears that a freshman might have is that of getting lost on campus. Whether it’s a large school or small, it can be difficult to find the right building, floor, and classroom. Halls can become a confusing maze, buildings look different in person than they did online, or maybe you’ve walked around the quad three times and still can’t find the building labeled “Such and such Hall.”
One of the best pieces of advice any freshman can hear is straight from the title of this article: Walk your schedule before the first day. Walk out each day of your schedule until you’ve done the full school week. In fact, walk it multiple times. Familiarize yourself with the campus before things really kick off for the semester. Even just wandering around in the few days before class starts can be a big help in orienting yourself with your school.
The first day of class will be stressful enough without you panicking about finding a class in a building you’re not sure exists and being on time! Ease your stress by preparing ahead of time. Don’t be one of those freshmen running wildly across campus with a map in hand.
Don’t be afraid to ask for directions
That being said, if you are lost–whether on the first day or even a week before–don’t be afraid to ask for directions. Most students will A) Be happy to help you out and B) Know where you need to go. It’s really ok. They were freshmen too, once. They got lost just like you might.
I can’t tell you how many times a shy freshman or exchange student would come up to me and ask “Do you know where the library is?” or “Where’s MacBride Hall?” I’d give them my best directions, or even offer to walk them there if I was headed that way or had free time. This will be the case with many students on campus. Just look for a friendly face who isn’t in a rush to get to a class of their own. Upperclassmen aren’t going to bite your head off for asking for help. We promise they aren’t that scary. (Half the time nobody can tell who’s in what year anyway).
Get to know public transportation
In addition to getting the walking routes memorized, it’s a great idea to familiarize yourself with the bus system. Most colleges will have campus bus routes free of charge, that can help you get from one end of campus to the other quicker than you could walk. Plus, they are a saving grace during bad weather or wintertime.
Like walking your class schedule, take a few bus routes to see where they lead. If you have only a 15-minute break between classes, plot out a bus route to get you there faster and with less stress and sweating. If you’re confused about where the bus leads or where you need to get off, sit up front towards the bus driver and ask them questions–they’ll know.