Transferring colleges is frequent today due to changing interests, or maybe the desire to attend a school near family or friends. However, the transition into life at a different university, especially a larger one, is daunting. As someone who has transferred universities previously, here are some ways to ease the adaption to a new college campus and life:
Familiarize Yourself with the Campus
Before starting your first class, take some time to familiarize yourself with the campus and various buildings. This way, you are not frantically searching for your classes on the first day with no idea where to go and very little time to make it. Some campuses are large, so it’s important to pinpoint buildings for your classes or any important buildings in general. Though paper maps may be outdated today, sometimes having one and exploring your new campus helps.
Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash
Get a Job or Join a Club
If you do not know many people at your new university, there are many ways to make new friends or acquaintances. Getting a campus job can allow interaction with other student workers. In addition, joining a club suited to your interests can help you meet others and potentially build a friend circle or at least some people to grab some food with or call in case of help. Joining clubs also allows you to meet people who may have similar interests to you, thus fostering a stronger friendship/relationship. The best part of a job or a club is being able to interact with many different people.
Explore the Town Itself
Whether your new campus is in a city or small town, it helps to explore the town to get a feel for the culture and maybe to pinpoint some great restaurants you may want to try during your stay. Either way, you can learn about what the town has to offer, like a shopping complex, local attractions, parks, lakes, and grocery stores. Learning about these places can lead to potential weekend activities, and knowledge about where to get supplies or food. You might find your favorite place to get coffee or a donut in town by going on a trek through the streets.
Get to Know Classmates
Though interacting with random classmates is less frequent, it is a great way to strike up a conversation with someone new, and possibly build a friendship, or at least someone to talk to in one specific class. Even asking about the date of a test or for a pencil is an excuse for you to lengthen the conversation with someone. Sometimes working on something with a classmate(s) is also another means of building social connections. Being new to a campus means other students have most likely established their social network, so it is important you take the initiative to approach them and try to build a friendship, as you are trying to adjust and make your experience at a new campus enjoyable. The same goes for approaching peers in a club.
Attend Campus Events
Many campuses offer great forms of entertainment, such as stand-up comedy, karaoke, readings, and miscellaneous shows, all of which are a great way to adjust to the culture at your new university and enjoy your experience as you look to find your place in a new campus. Random interactions with other students are also a plus, as it can continue to help you meet new people and possibly strike up a friendship here and there. The goal is to adapt to campus life, but also build a social life at your new campus, as they are both important.
Taking the time to explore your new college town is a great way to build comfort and familiarity with a potentially unknown place. Being well-informed and knowledgeable about your new town only benefits you, as you will be spending some time here anyway. Achieving tour guide status of your campus/town would be great for bragging rights. If that’s not the case, going to your new favorite coffee/donut shop to grab something tasty on a day full of classes and meeting with friends shows you are right at home, and making unforgettable memories for your (continued) college experience.
Rishi Patel is a senior majoring in Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. He has written as an intern for SPORTalk and Study Breaks Magazine. He also loves to write fiction, non-fiction, and poetry as a hobby to expand his writing prowess. He hopes to work as a writer/editor when he graduates.