One of the best parts about the University of Iowa is how big the campus is. But depending on the person, that might also be the scariest part about UI. And while a big campus isn’t for everyone, there are ways to make it feel a bit smaller and more like home. Here are a few:
- When you come to campus, try to quickly learn the bare minimum about campus. Get familiar with where your dorm, the dining hall, and your classes are. You can take the time to figure out other important buildings and locations later, but getting these few places memorized will make your day-to-day routine much less stressful.
- Find a good study spot you can rely on. There are a million places to study on campus, but just try to find one good, reliable place you can escape to where you can relax and get some work done.
- Stay out of your dorm room as much as you can for the first few weeks of college. It can be really tempting to retreat to your private space when the rest of campus feels alien, but it’s very important to get out as much as possible early on. Spending your early free time walking around campus and getting outside while the weather is nice makes it very easy to make friends and see all of the opportunities the campus has to offer. On the other hand, if you do spend too much time in your room early on, it can be very difficult to get yourself to come OUT of your room.
- Find a coffee shop or restaurant downtown that you seem to like and make it a point to visit it frequently. When you add something nice and small to your weekly routine, it will brighten your day and help the new place you’ve found yourself in feel more familiar.
- Make friends with people who know the area better than you. They can help show you around the places that you haven’t found the time to explore yet. For example, a guy on my floor showed me a really cool comic book store in Iowa City, and even though I don’t see that guy very often, I stop by that shop all the time, thanks to him.
A big campus definitely has its ups and downs, but even for those who think it might not be their scene, there are lots of ways to adjust to the new setting. For me, one of the best parts about the University of Iowa’s campus is that it becomes familiar to you very quickly, but there is always another cool spot in the area to discover. 🙂