Whether you’re starting college for the first time or doing a semester abroad, navigating a new campus can be a scary thing. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll get lost once or twice, and you’ll definitely be spending the first few days walking around with a map glued to your face. We’ve compiled a list of seven things you can do to make your life on a new campus easier.
1. Find your base
Start small and learn to recognize the places where you will be spending the most time at your new college: your accommodation and the main buildings you will be studying in. Find the easiest route between them and stick to it—don’t try any fancy shortcuts that could get you lost! Do your research in advance to see the basic direction you’re going in and make sure you have access to a map when you’re on your way to help you navigate.
2. Know your emergency points
Whether it’s finding a book you desperately need for an assignment or getting medical help, you never know when an emergency could come up. It’s good to get to know sooner rather than later where you’ll need to go in a broad spectrum of emergencies: campus security, your nearest library and the local hospital.
3. Get to know the area
Once you’ve established the basic route you need to follow through campus, you can start exploring in your spare time. Begin by walking around in your free time along the main roads or paths, discovering what shops, restaurants and buildings are around. You could find your new favorite bookshop or a coffee shop where you’ll be getting your morning caffeine fix for your time at your new college.
4. Make a friend
It will be very useful to you if you can find a buddy who already knows the area. Join societies and clubs, and try to find someone who is in the year above you or who has lived in town for a while. They will be able to show you their favorite places and let you expand your circle so you can get to know more of the campus. Who knows—one day it could be you showing the newbies around!
5. Public transport
This can be a tricky one in a new city, but it is important to get to know what transport services are available to you. Is there a campus bus? Where are the bike racks? Learn the numbers of the buses that stop by your accommodation, and memorize the number of a taxi company in case of emergency.
6. Take pictures
The best thing you can do when starting out at a new campus is to take pictures of everything important—the buildings, the bus numbers—everything we’ve mentioned above. Take screenshots of maps on your phone just in case you can’t access the Internet. If you have these resources to hand at all times, you will be able to refer to them if worst comes to worst and show them to a passer by to ask for directions.
7. Get app-happy
In today’s world there is an app for everything. Just search for what you want on the App Store or Google Play, like “food delivery”, “taxi” or even the name of your college. For example, 13 campuses across the country have access to an app called Food Bot where you can get free food, and Yale has an app called Fast Track which shows you how crowded each dining area is in real time. Do a little research to see what is available for you at your new campus.
Got any tips for new students arriving at a new campus? Let College News know!