Hello, future students! So I know that right now you're probably just about to burst with excitement over the fact that in about one month, you will begin your college journey at IU. (I definitely was 2 years ago at this time!) But I also know that you're probably feeling a litte bit nervous and unsure of what to do or expect. Well, have no fear, as I now present to you this handy little guide for making the most out of your first week of school:
1. Make sure that you get PLENTY of sleep the night before you move in. I know that this sounds like common sense, but the move-in process can be pretty exhausting and you'll definitely want to have as much energy as possible. My family took a red-eye flight to Indianapolis, rented a car from the airport at 6 a.m., spent about an hour trying to figure out how to get to Bloomington before realizing that we were heading east toward Ohio (whoops), and then spent the entire day rearranging the room and shopping for dorm essentials. Needless to say, I was literally about to collapse at any given moment... and going to bed was probably the highlight of my day. If you're flying in, make sure you don't take a red-eye, or at least try to get in a day or two early before official move-in day and spend the night or two in a hotel, if possible. This gives you and your parents a chance to relax before the craziness of move-in begins.
2. Participate in Welcome Week activities! Okay, so some of them might sound a little bit silly, and a midnight Walmart shopping spree might never have been on your bucket list. But these activities are tailor-made for you to have a smooth transition to IU, and they are an AWESOME way to meet new people. Not to mention the fact that there's lots and lots of free stuff at many of them from food to IU athletic posters to t-shirts to other IU swag. You won't want to miss it. (Who doesn't love free stuff?)
3. Seriously, go to at least one party. Even if partying was and will never really be your thing, you'll want to experience it at least once during college, right? The several days before class starts are the perfect opportunity to explore IU social life after dark. No homework, no upcoming tests, great weather, and tons of other fellow freshmen. Walking up and down Greek row in packs is practically a Welcome Week tradition, and something that all freshmen should experience.
4. Know the campus bus route. FInd the bus that's closest to your dorm. (You'll want to red and white IU busses, not the green and white Bloomington transit busses. You can figure out how to use those later; it's not absolutely crucial right now). Ride it until it takes you back to your dorm. Remember it. You will thank me on the first day of class.
5. Explore other dining hall options besides your local dorm food court. I know so many people who lived in my dorm (Foster) and never ventured outward. Even midway through the school year, they were still blissfully unaware of the delicious sandwiches at the Read bistro and the healthy home-style cooking at Collins. Your meal points are good all throughout campus, so use them! Grab a bite to eat somewhere else. Expand your horizons (and your palate). You never know what new favorite food is waiting for you outside of Gresh!
6. Student Involvement Fair. I cannot stress this enough. While I don't believe that this fair occurs until the second week of school, go on ahead and save the date now. Memorize it. And make a point of stopping by at the Fair in between classes. Getting involved on campus is so important and such an awesome thing... most of the people I know who had a successful freshman year can in large part attribute that to their extracurricular invovlement, myself included. Find an organization (or two, if you can commit your time to both) that interests you. Jump in. You'll meet friends, learn a lot, and be well on your way to acquiring a leadership position that can translate to real-world experience. (The fact that it looks good on your resume doesn't hurt, either!) Not to mention that yes, it is a LOT of fun.
7. FOOTBALL! Okay, so we aren't going to be busting Big 10 records and vying for a spot in the BCS championship game anytime soon, but IU football is still an integral part of the Hoosier experience. We may not be the best, but there is no denying the incredible passion and love that Hoosiers have for their team. That alone makes a game worth the experience. From tailgating to singing "Sweet Caroline" with the Marching Hundred to proudly wearing your cream and crimson, nothing tops a good old-fashioned Saturday college football game. So when IU opens up the season on September 1st at home versus Indiana State, I better see you there!
8. Make sure you have all your textbooks ordered prior to your arrival on campus. It's not the end of the world if you choose to put this off, but it DOES make things a lot easier. You can either pre-order your books via the IU Bookstore/T.I.S., or find them cheap online (I recommend the second option). Pre-ordering is great because all you do is stroll into the store, avert the huge lines of students buying books, pick up your books, and leave. Ordering them online is great because well, you save a lot of money and you might not even have to set foot in a textbook store at the peak of insanity. Either way, you'll win.
9. Explore campus and Bloomington. This is a great activity to do with your roommate/floormates. This quaint college town has SO MUCH to offer. Dine at a staple Bloomington establishment, such as Mother Bear's or The Runcible Spoon. Take a stroll down Kirkwood. Check out campus landmarks such as the Sample Gates, Rose Well house, arboretum, and Dunn's Woods. (Bring a camera, they are all very aesthetically pleasing!) Immerse yourself in Bloomington. It's going to be your home for the next four years, get to know it!
10. The most important part is to have fun. Don't be scared or nervous. (This was my biggest folly!) As long as you're friendly and open to conversation you WILL meet lots of people and make great friends. Enjoy every minute, because this is seriously one of the coolest times of your life. You won't experience your freshman year of college ever again, so make every moment count.