You finally made it to college… Now what?

Written by: Blazine Howard

You finally made it to college! Now what?

You’ve just moved onto campus for your first semester of college, after spending $5,000 for room and board, about $450 on textbooks, and thousands more for tuition. You’re far away from home, and you just realized that your new roommate is quite different from you. If you’re overwhelmed by this series of unfortunate events, you’re not alone!

The first year of college is probably one of the most mentally, emotionally, and financially daunting tasks of your collegiate career. Being away from home and on your own is a big change for most students, and I’m sure that many have a few questions regarding college life and The University of Akron that your parents couldn’t answer.

Our high school teachers spend months trying to prepare us for the real-world shock of college. However, we can never be fully prepared for what this first semester will have in store for us. To help relax your nerves, I am going to address a few questions that many students have in regards to being a freshman.

Q: I just moved onto campus, but I’m not sure where my classes are. How can I find my way around?

A: Your first few weeks on campus can be very overwhelming, since there are many buildings. A few of these buildings have information kiosks where a map of campus is provided for students to use. You can find a portable map in Simmons Hall (where you had your new student orientation) in the Admissions Office, as well as at the information desk, which is across from Auntie Anne’s in the Student Union. You can also print out a map if you search The University of Akron website at uakron.edu/maps.

Q: My roommate seems really weird, and I don’t think we’ll get along. Do I have to live with him/her all semester?

A: One of the most unique things about college is our exposure to many different people. Your roommate might have a different background from yours, but take this as an opportunity to expand your knowledge and to relate to someone from a different walk of life. Make an effort to get to know your roommate, and if there are irreconcilable differences, you can always submit a room change request to The Department of Residence Life and Housing in Ritchie Hall. Depending on availability, your request may be granted.

Q: I heard the cafeteria is gross. Is there anywhere else I can eat?

A: Robertson’s Café is actually a great place to eat, since it’s an unlimited buffet. They offer a great selection of food that changes daily, including a salad bar, deli, and a Mongolian grill (I assure you that laxatives are NOT added to the food, contrary to the freshman urban legend). Union Market, Ohio Burger, Starbucks, Auntie Anne’s, Zee’s Market, and Subway are all located in the Student Union, and Trackside Grille is located in Quaker Square. A variety of fast food options are available just minutes from campus, where students with the Gold Plan can use their Zip Cards.

Q: My classes are challenging, and I’m not doing as well as I should. How can I improve my grades?

A: Most professors hold office hours, which are noted on their syllabuses. These are times when the professor is free to answer questions one-on-one with a student who is struggling. Bierce Library also offers tutoring, including a writing lab, which is located on the lower level. Many students are too proud to ask for help, but tutoring isn’t for stupid people. It’s for smart people who realize that they need help.

Q: Is there anything to do around campus?

A: Yes! There are a lot of organizations to get involved with, and if you look in the right places, you will see posters and fliers for upcoming events, concerts, and shows. The Residence Hall Programming Board (RHPB) sponsors many events throughout the year, which are held at places like Starbucks, the Student Union, and E.J. Thomas Hall, to name a few. Robertson’s Café always has advertisements for what comedian or musician will be performing soon, and usually the shows are free with your Zip Card. There are also several shops and a concert club, located downtown on Main Street, which are accessible via the Roo Express. So make sure to keep an eye out, or ask your Resident Assistant for more information.

Q: I’m tight on money, and I need a job. How can I find one close to campus?

A: The University of Akron has many employment opportunities for students around campus in various departments. If you are interested in finding an on-campus job, you can get more information on Zipline. When you log into Zipline, click on the “Students” tab located at the top of the page. Scroll down until you see “Quick Links for Students,” and select “Employment.” Here you will find on and off-campus job postings. If your application is selected, you will generally be chosen to start work the following semester, depending on when you apply.

Hopefully some of these questions and answers will help you prepare for your first semester and ensure that you start with your best foot forward. The fall semester is always the more exciting semester, with a lot of “welcome back” activities. Remember, if you need help, there is a variety of resources available to you — don’t be afraid to use them! The faculty and staff at The University of Akron are here to help you succeed. Good luck to all of our new students, and welcome to The University of Akron!

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