College Success & Survival @ UNI


The First Week of Classes by alcdanielle
August 24, 2010, 5:09 pm
Filed under: Freshmen, General | Tags: ,

From a Former Freshman

I was very nervous during my first week of classes. Being a native of the area, I decided to stay at home during the school year. I soon realized that this may not have been the greatest idea. While other freshmen had the weekend before the first week to explore campus, I had about an hour the Sunday before classes started. I have to admit that I felt fairly confident that I knew where all my buildings were when I left that afternoon. Monday morning was a different story.

On that Sunday, I had parked in the B parking lot that is over by Lawther. It didn’t take me long to figure out that this parking lot fills up very quickly. After driving through with no success of finding an empty space, I went into panic mode. This was the only parking lot I had used so far, and I only knew campus from this direction. What was I going to do?

Well, eventually I drove around to the other side of campus and found a B parking lot across from the Gallagher
Bluedorn Performing Arts Center. If you have a B parking permit, you have or will find out that this area usually has a free parking space open. Since then, I have decided to make this my permanent parking lot. So, (finally) my car was parked, but I had no idea how to get to my classes. I crossed University Avenue and walked on. I found Gilchrist Hall within a short amount of time and stopped right in front of the building. Then, I pulled out my campus map. I dreaded doing this. I had promised myself the night before that I was not going to pull it out and show the whole campus that I was a freshman, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Pulling that map out was the smartest thing I had done that day. Almost the instant I pulled it out, someone came up to me and asked if I needed help finding my class. I unwillingly said “yes,” and I’m glad I did. This unnamed life saver explained to me where the building was and even offered to walk me to it. I was very surprised when she offered to help me out; I was even more surprised when she offered to take the time to walk me over there. As we made our way to the building, she showed me where my second class was and the shortest way to get between the two buildings. I was very grateful for the help. I couldn’t thank her enough.

After that first day, the rest of the week went smoothly. I found all my buildings, and when I did have trouble finding one, someone was always willing to take a little time out of his or her day to help me out.

So, future and present freshmen, if you have trouble finding your classes, don’t hesitate to ask. We were all there once, and we’ll be happy to help you out.

From an Upper Classman

I have news for you: the first week of classes is always a nerve-wracking experience, whether you’re a freshman or an upperclassman. It takes time to settle in and learn a new schedule and routine, so be patient with yourself (and your peers). And, forget about the Hollywood stereotypes of snobby classmates and freshman hazing rituals—everyone here, students and professors alike, wants to help you succeed, so take some advice from our Former Freshman and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it!

On the last blog, I advised you to spend some time looking around and getting familiar with the location of your class buildings before the first week. Now I’m going to advise you to spend some time getting familiar with your class rooms. It might sound like overkill, but you’d be surprised how the first week can pass by in a blur of excitement—my freshman year, I was so nervous, I ended up sitting through a lecture for twenty minutes before realizing I was in the wrong classroom entirely!

Also, don’t forget to take advantage of all the great Welcome Week activities the campus has to offer. If you received a Panther Planner when you moved in, check it out for the dates and locations of Welcome Week activities; you can also scope out the offerings on the UNI website. There are games, mixers, special giveaways and tons of free food! Don’t hide out in your dorm room all week: get out and make connections with your fellow Panthers right away, and you won’t have time to feel lonely or homesick.

From a Professor

Our former freshman revealed a message that will definitely help you during your first week: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People are friendly here.” This really is true. The UNI community is very student-centered. We like you, are glad you are here, and we really want to help you succeed. So ask for our help!

Another message you need to hear again, even though it has been mentioned in previous blogs, is that the syllabus is the most important handout you will receive in each class. Read it, mark on it, ask questions about it, and refer to it daily (really!—daily!). Use it to establish a regular schedule for coursework and studying.

You also should know that attending the first class is very important. In some classes, if you miss the first class, you may lose your spot. Missing the first class allows the professor to drop you and sign in another student. So . . . avoid the temptation to sleep in that first day. Get up and go to class—this is why you are here anyway. Remember, college is now your full time job; treat it as such.

It is also important to be social. Get to know your professors, classmates, people on your floor, and the staff members who are here to help you. If you live off campus, connect with people on campus by joining organizations, using the library and the academic learning center, and going to social events on campus. A casual place to meet other students, staff, and professors is at the new Coffee Chats that occur daily (8 am, 10 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm) in the Academic Learning Center (Innovative Teaching and Technology Center/ITTC 008). A large variety of coffees, tea, and hot chocolate are available and only 50 cents per cup (bring your own mug). And, you can talk to other students about their classes and get to know staff and professors of UNI on a personal level. As the semester progresses, there will be some topic designated chats and arranged visitors (choosing a major, preparing for the PPST, studying for tests, etc).

 


 

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