1. Talk to everyone you see. No one will think you’re that weird friendly kid that lives down the hall. They’ll appreciate you for starting a conversation and breaking the ice. Everyone in your hall, on your floor, and in your dorm is in the same boat as you. You won’t be friends with all of them at graduation, or even at the end of the first semester, but some of those people you meet on the first day will become great friends. The sooner you start building that relationship, the smoother your transition into college will be.
2. Scope out your classrooms before your first class. At least have an idea of where the building is! You don’t want to be frazzled as you make your way to your first class as a college student. If you take the time to find your classrooms within your first few days on campus, it will make for a less stressful and more enjoyable first day of classes. It will also get you acquainted with campus and help you feel comfortable faster.
3. Unpack. You will bring a lot of suitcases and bags full of clothes, shoes, and dorm essentials. You don’t necessarily want to spend your first day in a new place getting it all organized. But the sooner you do it, the more settled into your new space you will be. Not to mention, if you don’t unpack and get yourself organized by the day after you move in, you won’t get around to it and your dorm will stay messy. If you want to feel at home, unpack and make it yours.
4. Get to know your RA. They won’t always be your best friend, especially if they catch you breaking rules that they have to enforce, but if you get on your RA’s good side it will benefit you in the long run. He or she can keep you in the know about what’s going on in your building and on campus. You can pick his or her brain for advice about classes, professors, and parties. And, if you do get in trouble once in a while, if you’re on a friendly basis with the RA, you may get off easy.
5. Find a meeting place. On your first day of class, you and your roommates will probably be split up for a few hours during classes. You’ll want to reunite to chat and decompress as soon as possible after the first half of your day is complete. To make it easier on all of you, take the time before classes begin to pick a place on campus that will be central to all of you as a designated meeting place. This way you won’t have to waste any time trying to find your friends.
6. Leave your door open. Your hall mates will remember you as the friendly person in the building who is always willing to entertain. This will also encourage people to stop by, poke their head in, and introduce themselves, helping you to meet even more people in your first few hours on campus. It’s an easy way to get off on the right foot in your building and to feel involved without putting in much effort.
7. Don’t be disappointed. The first few days of college are different for everyone. For some, it’s a party and a wonderful experience right off the bat. For others, the first week is isolating and upsetting. Give yourself time. Everyone is adjusting and everyone does that in their own way. Don’t feel too let down if the first week leaves you unhappy. Just know that it’s normal and that you are not the only one feeling this way. Once you realize that and stop stressing, the easier it will be to get yourself situated.