Campus Life: Get to Know Your New Home

By Rian Ignasiak

Moving to a new place for college can be a really exciting time that brings new opportunities for growth and exploration. At the same time, it may be hard to find your way around and begin to settle in.  

One of the best things you can do to create a college campus life that feels good to you is to give yourself time to get used to your new surroundings. You can also check out certain details before and during your college transition to make the change a little easier.

Check out this list to figure out what will help you settle into campus life.

Getting Around

Your way of getting around at college may look different than what you’re used to at home. You may have grown up driving a car, but now you’re headed to school in a city where most people use public transportation. To better understand how to get around and where to go, you may consider these things:

  • If you’re bringing a car, go online to learn about your school’s parking guidelines. You may need to purchase a parking pass, or your school may offer free student parking. You can also look into public parking spaces in the local community.
  • If you’re living in a walkable city or you’re bringing a bike, ask your student center for a list of nearby places where students can hang out and relax, such as a recreation center, public park, or library.
  • If you have access to public transportation, get information about the areas it serves and how to purchase tickets. Most bus systems, subway systems, and train lines have apps or websites where you can buy and store tickets, view routes and schedules, and access other helpful information.

Areas for Recreation and Rest

Academics are a big part of the college experience, but so are your social life and downtime. Before heading to school, you may want to:

  • Check out the location and hours of on-campus facilities such as the gym, sports facilities, and other recreational spaces. 
  • If you’re commuting from home or at a community college, your school may have student discount partnerships with gyms in the area.
  • Look into local walking, hiking, or bike trails in state or county parks.
  • Check out public Facebook pages in your new town to find out about events that are free to the public, such as yoga or meditation in local parks.
  • Identify green spaces on campus where you can hang out and unwind between classes.

Check out these tips for getting and staying active on campus

Food Options

Maybe there’s a particular food from your culture that you love or a meal that reminds you of home. Finding your comfort foods may help campus feel like home. 

  • Look into local restaurants, grocery stores, or markets specializing in food from different regions and countries.
  • Find the locations of dining halls and cafes on campus that are convenient or offer to-go food or drink options that meet your needs or preferences.
  • Determine whether your college has partnerships with local restaurants where you can get a discount with your student ID.
  • Locate off-campus spots where students like to meet and eat.

Learn more about eating healthy on campus

Spaces That Speak to You

Take some time to reflect on the things that bring you joy, and find ways to incorporate your favorite activities into your life on campus. 

  • Pick a cozy corner of the library, a favorite bench or couch in the student center, or some shade in the green spaces between buildings to be your new go-to spot to take a breath before or after class.
  • Access Google Maps from your phone, laptop, or school computer to see what’s in the area. Check out parks, skate parks, cinemas, cafes, craft and book stores, theaters, and other spaces you can frequent in your time outside of class. 
  • Use external sources such as Meetup or Facebook to find spaces in town that may interest you.
  • Student activity takes place largely off campus if you’re commuting from home, going to community college, or attending a school with a small campus. The public library and nearby coffee shops can be great places to relax between classes, get some homework done, or spend some time with friends. 
  • Find a club that meets or hosts events at theaters, museums, or historic sites if those kinds of spaces speak to you.

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