While the end of summer may signal the end of careless days by the pool, it also means that Bloomington is coming back to life, as thousands of millennials flood the city to turn the page to the next chapter of their IU experience. As a sophomore, I can’t even begin to explain how different I feel from this time last year – I finally know my way around, I have a (not so) swanky apartment, and luckily I’ve picked up a few insider tips that I only wish I’d known during my freshie days.
Take it from me: even though your freshman year can sometimes be a big hassle, it also holds some unique experiences you definitely don’t want to miss out on! Here are a few things I wish I’d known during those magical days of community showers and meal points:
- Go to Late Nights at Orientation. Attend monthly IMU Late Nights and First Thursdays at the Showalter Arts Plaza and play some corny games–the point is to make friends! I wasn’t able to attend Late Night during my Orientation and I remember feeling jealous of everyone on my floor who met tons of people there.
- Take advantage of the Block Party. Freshies get to go for free, and yet still I didn’t go last year. I literally only had to click a button to say I wanted a ticket, and I really regretted not going.
- DO EVERYTHING DURING WELCOME WEEK! People are trying to meet people during this time, and this is where you can meet lots of potential friends for the year. Don’t sit in your dorm by yourself, or even with your roommate (who happens to be your high school bestie).
- For the love of Yogi Ferrell, buy the football/basketball ticket package! I know it’s a lot of money, but I always thought I’d buy individual tickets–it ended up being such a hassle that I barely made it to any games (and we all know that basketball is the lifeblood of the IU experience, right?).
- When choosing classes, don’t pick 8ams. I know lots of people say this, but really: if you have the choice, don’t. It’s college–you are going to stay up and take advantage of all your new freedom. Accepting this before you schedule will only make your life easier.
- Keep your dorm door open. It’s such an easy habit to keep your door closed, but you miss out on lots of potential friendships this way–if your dormies decide to have a marathon hallway round of Cards Against Humanity, you will have no idea.
- Netflix will always be there–this sort of goes along with the above, but again, it can be really easy to hole up in your room with your favorite rom-dram instead of taking advantage of all the awesome things happening every single minute at IU. Seriously, check out a student comedy show! See a movie at the IU Cinema! Take a walk and see what you find.
- Don’t give away all your meal points. Now, it’s true that many people end up with a lot left over. But don’t think of this as a reason to buy all your high school friends a three-course meal when they visit every month! I assumed my standard meal plan would be more than enough, and I bought my family half of the C-store every time they came down. Needless to say, I ran out. And, if you do have points left over, you can use them the next year when you have to buy your own groceries (assuming you don’t buy a meal plan the next year).
- Branch out from your high school friends. It’s easy to use them as a crutch–and I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to stay close with your high school BFFs, but keeping the same friend group you’ve had the last four years can keep you from meeting some cool people. Keep it balanced.
- Go to office hours. I know everyone says this, but you never know when you’ll need a faculty recommendation (plus your profs are usually really cool people to talk to). Also, going to office hours shows you are trying, which will make Teach grade a little more leniently come finals time.
- Please, please, please don’t let your academic habits fall apart and party more than you study. Don’t get me wrong, partying is awesome (with the right people), but I’ve seen so many bright kids fall behind in their grades or even drop out because they didn’t take school as seriously as they took their Saturday nights. It’s really sad when that happens–don’t let it happen to you.
- Above all: give IU the chance it deserves. A few weeks is not enough to judge a school, and those first few weeks (the first semester, really) is a time of change and scary transition. You are learning how to live on your own terms, and that doesn’t always go right the first time. If IU isn’t living up to your expectations, don’t transfer as soon as December rolls around. Give it a chance for at least a year–sometimes you get the raw end of the stick the first semester (that doesn’t mean great things aren’t right around the corner!). It can (and does) happen at many schools. With that said, IU isn’t for everyone, and sometimes the best option is to try out something else. But, at least you will know for sure.
Basically, all these tips sum up how to make your freshman year the bomb: Take advantage of all the special things IU has to offer, and you will start off your college career with a bang! Good luck, freshies, although you’re already lucky enough to be at the greatest college on earth.