The Daily Illini

Things to do the first week to get acquainted

By Abby Paeth, Features editor

The first week of college can be overwhelming for all students, especially if you are new to campus, and it can seem easier to stay out of the craziness by hanging out in your dorm room or apartment. Unfortunately, this can create challenges later in the semester. By going out of your way to get to know campus and the surrounding community during the first week, you will be ready to handle any situation later on.

Introduce yourself to your neighbors

One of the first things any freshman should do when arriving on campus is introducing themselves to people on their floor. At this point, you should be pretty acquainted with your roommate, so it might be a good idea to meet some new people together. Go door to door with your roommate and meet some of your neighbors. Ask your neighbors to grab lunch or dinner down in the cafeteria. Doing this with your roommate takes away some of the anxiety of meeting new people by yourself.

Remember that most freshmen are in the same position as you are and they’re all pretty reluctant to meet you too. Meeting new people within the first couple of days is a big first step when you get to campus. Another good tip is to keep your door propped open and let your neighbors come to you when they’re ready.

Walk around campus

After you get settled in, it’s a good idea to become more familiar with the campus just by walking around. On such a big campus, it is very easy to get lost during your first few weeks at the University. A good way to become more acclimated with your surroundings is to take a few walks every day.

Once you start to become more familiar with your surroundings, the University will feel more like home. I would also suggest finding the buildings that your classes are in before the semester begins so you’re not panicking five minutes before class starts. This will also give you an idea of how much time it takes you to get from one place to another so you can plan accordingly. While you’re on these walks, I would take note of interesting study places or places that you would like to revisit in your spare time.

Go to office hours and meet your professors

During the first week of classes, it might be a good idea to visit your professors during office hours. Take 15 minutes out of your day while your course work is low and introduce yourself. Give your professor a little information about yourself such as your goals throughout the semester and ask him or her a few questions as well.

I would also suggest sitting at the front of the class in big lecture halls. Doing both of these things will help your professor recognize you more often and it will help make a large class seem small. Building a strong relationship with your professor at the beginning of the year will help make it easier to approach them if you’re struggling in class later on.

Visit the ISSS building

During the first couple weeks of the semester, you have the opportunity to meet with a counselor at the International Student and Scholar Services building. I would encourage every student to see a counselor and talk about your first couple of weeks at the University. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new adventure when you first arrive on campus. After a few weeks, that excitement might start to wear off, and a bit of homesickness might start to set in. It’s important that you talk to someone if you experience this feeling.

The counselors at the ISSS are trained to help you in any situation. If you want to find a job on campus, they will show you what you need to do. If you are having trouble in a class, they will introduce you to available resources.

Get involved

One of the most important aspects of college life is getting involved. There are hundreds of registered student organizations to choose from to become more integrated with the campus and student life. I would suggest that any student, international or domestic, attend Quad Day the Sunday before classes begin to see which clubs or organizations best fit them.

There are plenty of international associations to join where both international and domestic students can further integrate themselves on campus. Joining any club will help you meet new people and gain more experiences that can be added to your resume. If you don’t see an RSO that best fits for you, you can create your own.

Abby is a junior in Media.
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