Move in day has finally arrived, you are finally moved in to your dorm, have slightly conversed with your roommate, and your parents have gone home. Now what? You are finally alone on campus with your class schedule and a weekend full of events before the semester begins.
My first piece of advice? Attend all events. It may seem cheesy to go to the freshman dinner, or the welcome bonfire, but these events are very crucial in your social life at college. I don’t mean this as a threat, but these events are designed to get you involved, to help you meet new people, and most importantly make you feel comfortable.
The first semester of your first year is a little bit scary, and no one blames you. You are away from home, at a place you’re not familiar with, with people you don’t really know. But you must keep in mind the university, faculty and staff and older students are fully aware of this and are willing to help if needed.
As a student who once went through this process, I have some golden advice that will hopefully ease your mind and make the semester as easy as possible.
Right off the bat I suggest you take your class schedule and try to map out your classes. Although USD is not a huge campus, there are many buildings and it is easy to get lost. The last thing you want is to walk in to class late the first week.
The first week, often referred to as “syllabus week” may seem like an easy week because homework isn’t usually assigned. With that being said, you do not want to be lazy during this week. This week is also meant for students to attend events, get their books, and other activities to make the experience enjoyable.
After surviving the first week you will have a semester of firsts. First test, first midterm, first group project, and first finals week. Keep in mind that while it will get stressful, it isn’t the end of the world. If it helps, make friends with older students and listen to their advice, they were once in your position after all.
Vermillion is a small town but there is plenty to do at night or on weekends. There are over 150 student organizations, and a daily calendar online to keep students informed and busy. The hardest part is finding a balance, but this is part of being independent.
It is important to stay healthy. Keep in mind that while you have the total freedom to eat what you want, stay up as late as you want, and hang out with who you want, you are always at risk of getting sick. Unfortunately, by living on campus you are at a higher risk of getting a cold because of the close living quarters. Don’t let this fool you however, because as long as you take care of yourself you should be able to get by, and even if you do at least you have a room to sleep it off.
My final piece of advice is to try to make good choices. One of the biggest mistakes first year students make is over testing their independence. Just look at past issues of The Volante, every year the university police department issues a huge number of underage drinking citations. While you are away from home, your parents, and anyone else who might judge you for your choices, you have to keep in mind you have consequences. Legally you are an adult, which means you are held completely responsible for the choices you make, so be careful.