Okay, so you’ve finally arrived! You’re a coed, a collegiate, an official college student and resident of the campus of your choice. You have good reason to be excited and—it’s okay to admit it to yourself, at least—a little anxious, too. Just because you’re a rookie at this whole college thing, everyone else doesn’t have to know it. Unless you want to have the equivalent of a large, unsightly tattoo plastered on your forehead reading “FRESHMAN,” here are a few tips for your college campus debut.
1. Unwrap before you pack.
If you are a freshman, just about everything you’re bringing to college is probably brand new, from your extra-long twin-sized sheet set to your desk lamp, miniature fan, and brand-spanking-new notebook or netbook computer or tablet device. Well, filling the dormitory dumpster with packaging from every single last thing that you’ve brought along is not only a slightly unadventurous way to begin your college experience, it’s also one way you can scream “I’m a rookie!” to everyone on your hall. Instead, take things out of their packages at home and then pack them in boxes, suit cases, and- my favorite space-saving organizers- Ziplock bags, and you’ll be able to unpack in your dorm room without the need to unwrap.
2. Study a campus map.
Yes, I’m serious. Even consider having a friend or sibling quiz you before you get to campus, and then, once you’re there, try out your navigational skills on your own, when you have a little time to kill. If you have to carry a map around with you and/or ask every third person you see where you are or how to get to Lecture Room B, you’ll really start to look a little amateurish about this whole college thing. Once you’ve registered for classes, you could also plot out the locations of your classes, with times and days on which they meet, and make a dry run. If you have a GPS function on your phone, that might be a slightly stealthy way to check your routes without looking too freshman-esque.
3. Ask an upperclassman.
Whatever university you attend, it probably has its own set of taboos and tell-tale signs of newbies. It might be seen as inappropriate to carry your backpack around, or to have your keys around your neck. Maybe only faculty women carry purses. Whatever it is that might highlight your freshman status on your particular campus, find out what it is, and try your hardest not to do it.
Even if you do take all these precautions, at least for the first month or two, you’ll probably be a little geeked out about the whole collegiate status thing; as a result, your fellow students will be able to tell, and that’s okay. Soon you’ll be laughing with your buddies at the new guy who’s unwrapping all his school supplies for the first time and giving him the wrong directions to the computer lab. Your turn for that will be here before you know it.