With the abundance of films based on an idealized, and often exaggerated, college student lifestyle, it’s pretty normal for any actual freshman to feel scared, lost or confused during their first week at school. Whether you’re eager to conquer the next four years or more nervous than you’d like to admit, the initial week at Binghamton University serves as a great opportunity to discover yourself and your niche. Here are a few tips to help you avoid some rookie mistakes and kickstart an enjoyable first year at BU.
1. Participate in your residence hall’s activities
The dreaded icebreaker activity can either be your worst enemy or your best friend, though the latter is what you should be aiming for. You might think that these bonding activities are extremely awkward or just plain cheesy, but getting to know people in your building is a great way to find friends. Some typical events include roasting s’mores outside on a bonfire, ice cream socials and board game nights, all of which often include the perk of free food. Next time your resident assistant sticks an event flyer on your door, don’t be afraid to go down to the lounge and put yourself out there.
2. Find your classrooms before class starts
If you have ever seen a typical film about college, you have probably witnessed a scene in which a lost and confused student ends up in the wrong classroom — and to make things worse, the room is dead silent. Although this scene might actually occur during the first week of school, venturing out and finding your classrooms before classes start makes it more unlikely that this will happen to you. If you’re lucky, you might also run into another student looking for the same class and have someone to sit with on the first day.
3. Set guidelines with your roommate
Living with another human being for an entire year can have its perks, like having someone to vent to or not having to sleep alone at night after watching a horror movie, but it is easy for this relationship to become strained if you don’t set up rules early. Creating a set of guidelines with your roommate the first week will help you avoid future arguments and will also let your roommate know you’re open to discussion and compromise. For instance, if you like your room neat but your roommate is on the messier side, making a cleaning schedule together is an effective way to make sure you are both obligated to keep the room to your standards.
4. Find a group to party with
During the first week at BU, there will be a ton of Facebook events and flyers advertising huge, back-to-school ragers. If you are planning on attending, make sure you go with a group of people that you trust and are comfortable with, especially if this is your first time going out. The first college party can be a memorable experience and having a solid group will make the night more fun and ensure that people will have your back in case anything happens. A great rule of thumb when going out is to make sure you leave the party with everyone you came with.
5. Sign up for any club that seems interesting
One of the great things about college is the huge list of clubs and organizations that you can join, and all you have to do to sign up is simply go to a general interest meeting (GIM). Even if you have no prior experience with the club’s activities, make an effort to attend — who knows, you might actually find your passion or new friends. If Greek Life is up your alley, there are also GIMs for that, and like any other GIM, they’re nonbinding, which means you can show up to as many meetings as you like. Taking the initiative to go to GIMs during the first weeks at school will allow you to meet new people with similar interests and make sure that you will stay occupied when you start to get homesick and need a distraction.