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08/15/2013 11:37 am ET

A Pre-Collegiette's Guide To The First Week Of College

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By Kelsey Mulvey

It feels like just yesterday you were throwing your graduation cap in the air and vowing to have the best summer ever. But believe it or not, many of you are only a few weeks away from becoming an official collegiette. While you’re so excited for the best four years of your life to begin, you’re probably starting to freak out about that first week at school. Between making new friends and navigating your way through campus, it can be a little stressful. With our collegiette-approved tips, the first week of school will be a breeze!

Day One

The day you’ve been waiting for is finally here: move-in day. Whether you hopped on a plane or packed up the car with your parents, today marks the beginning of your collegiette experience. Alas, your day isn’t limited to unpacking a plethora of boxes and decorating your side of the room.

Meeting your roommate
Some of you may have had that awkward, “I’m living with you and I’ll bring the T.V.!” conversation with your roommate. Others may have met up with your roomie over the summer (brownie points for your outgoing initiative). Whether you know your roommate or not, the anticipation is over –- you’re officially living with her. While you may be nervous to live with a stranger, take this first day to bond. Break the ice by complimenting some of her pictures or even a book that’s lying on her desk. Not only are you showing a genuine interest in her life, you may also learn that the two of you have something in common. After the two of you unpack, suggest hitting up the dining hall. The two of you can bond over the delicious pizza or questionable chicken.

Introducing yourself to your R.A.
Chances are your RA -- which is collegiette slang for Resident Assistant -- will come to your room and introduce him or herself. Since your RA makes the rules and writes people up if a problem occurs (e.g. noise violations, possession of alcohol, etc.), make sure to get on your RA’s good side, stat! Get to know your RA by asking questions about his or her major, grade, and extracurricular activities. If you haven’t run into your RA yet, go to them! Usually, an R.A. will have a sign on his or her dorm room’s door, so this search will be no needle in a haystack. Unless your RA is busy, take this time to introduce yourself. Aside from being your floor’s king or queen, your RA is an upperclassman, so you can also take this time to get some of your questions answered.

Day Two

How was your first night in your dorm? Sure, you may not love your mattress pad yet, but you’ll get used to it. Get ready ladies: today is your first day as an official collegiette.

Matriculation
Matricuwhat? Soon after you move in, you’ll be whisked away to a grandiose ceremony that marks your transition from pre-collegiette to collegiette (hooray)! Your parents might stay for matriculation… and they’ll probably cry and/or take a ton of photos. At most matriculation ceremonies, there will be long speeches. A lot of long speeches. You may stop paying attention between the welcome speech and your Dean of Students’ monologue, and that’s okay! Instead of burying your face in your cell, take this opportunity to (quietly) introduce yourself to the people sitting around you. A simple joke about how long the speeches are could lead to a new friendship!

Bonding with your floormates
Although some say making friends on your floor is just like making friends at sleep-away camp, what are you supposed to do if cabins and friendship bracelets weren’t your thing? “Leaving your door open is a great way to meet people on your floor,” says Kimberly Horner from The College of New Jersey. Since everyone’s in the same boat, your R.A. will probably arrange a couple floor events so make sure you attend.

Day Three

Who knew that you can buy coffee with your dining points? Life is great! Speaking of coffee, where is the closest Starbucks?

Buying Books
If you haven’t already purchased your books, you may be tempted to follow the massive horde of people headed to the bookstore. However, we urge you to stray away from the pack. Not only will the store resemble Macy’s on Black Friday, but you can find better deals. “You can save so much money by using Amazon or half.com,” says Alaine Perconti from Miami University of Ohio. “The bookstore is easy and convenient, but books are so expensive so any money you can save is big!” To figure out which books you need, you can usually search your classes on your bookstore’s website. If that doesn’t work, wait until the first day of classes. “Sometimes the professors change the book or tell you that a book can be downloaded online for free,” says Erica Avesian from the University of Michigan. Since the first day of classes is usually filled with reading the syllabus, you can get away with not having your books right away.

Getting comfortable with your campus
Some campuses may be easy to navigate; others are a jungle. Instead of having a mild to severe panic attack on the first day of classes, spend a few hours exploring what your university has to offer. While some colleges offer tours the first few days, test your knowledge by going without a guide. Make sure to take note of major landmarks while you search for the following locations:

  • Student health services
  • Dining halls
  • The nearest pharmacy or convenience store
  • The gym
  • Where your classes are located
  • The student center
  • The closest bus or subway stop

To make this event a million times better, bring your roommate along. That way, the two of you can laugh about that time you couldn’t find your way back to your dorm. Speaking of getting lost, don’t be embarrassed to ask for directions! Ask a student who seems to know where they’re going (bonus points if you ask a cute collegent).

Click here to read the full story on HerCampus.com

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