You’ve safely landed in your campus residence hall, unpacked your suitcase, met your residence hall advisor and sifted through a number of fliers you received from the front desk- now what? As a new international student you more than likely have arrived earlier than other students so finding life on campus might be a difficult task. Even though this is the case, it’s the perfect time to settle in!
1. Your Residence Hall
Start small and walk around your residence hall, locate each exit, the community kitchen, any community restrooms, the laundry room, computer labs and any other communal areas. If you didn’t at check in, make sure you also speak with the front desk regarding when they lock the doors, what procedure you need to follow if you lose or forget your key after hours, what time mail arrives each day, your address, any items they have for rent (such as games, cleaning supplies and cooking utensils) and campus maps.
2. The Student Union/ Commons
After you’ve conquered your residence hall, next is the college campus! A good place to start is the student union, also known as student commons. Student unions are often an area where students mingle and relax between classes. There’s often coffee shops, restaurants, numerous couches, and maybe even other entertainment items including rock climbing walls, workout facilities, bowling alleys and a movie theater. See what your student union has to offer you between classes or on the weekends.
3. The Bookstore
Your next stop is the bookstore! The bookstore might sound boring, after all, you’re not even sure what textbooks you need for class. However, the bookstore has much more than books! The bookstore is where you’ll be able to purchase all of your gear that has your college logo including sweatshirts, t-shirts, ties, hats, notebooks, pens and pencils, cups, mugs and golfing gear. Before you purchase all of your souvenirs the first week of class, keep in mind that just like any other store, they will have sales throughout the year.
4. The Student Health Center
If you become sick or injured you will want to head straight to the student health center (unless it’s a larger emergency that requires an ambulance). There, students are able to receive discounted or free medical services. Before the need arises, know where the student health center is located on your campus.
5. The Library
If throughout the year you have a loud roommate, lots of group projects or simply enjoy reading, you will appreciate knowing where the library is located. Locate the library and take a tour to become familiar with all of the free resources it has to offer including books, CDs, DVDs (skip Redbox and rent for free) and a computer lab. Many libraries also allow you to rent quiet rooms for studying. If you know you will need a room to study during finals week make sure you book it early.
6. The Gym
Included in most college fees is your gym membership. This means you’ll have free access to the campus gym which often includes a track, pool, basketball and tennis courts, free weights and weight machines. Pinpoint your gym and make sure you sign up for your pass as soon as possible.
7. The Writing Center
If English isn’t your first language your campus writing center will be a very helpful resource for you throughout the year. There they will proof read your essays, resume, and other assignments and provide you with corrections and suggestions. If your campus has a writing center their services are often free, make sure you don’t pass on this resource.
8. Your Class Rooms
Before classes start you should also locate each building in which you have a class and the exact room your class will be held. Room assignments can sometimes change at the last minute, so ensure that you double check the room assignment the morning prior to your first class.
Now that you’re able to navigate around campus, make sure you see what to expect once the rest of campus arrives!