Indiana Daily Student

What you need to know about navigating college life in Bloomington as a new student

<p>Then-freshman Morgan Sell smiles as her parents help her move into Spruce Hall on Aug. 19, 2019. Both IU and the City of Bloomington sponsor many different kinds of events throughout the year new students are welcome to attend.</p>

Then-freshman Morgan Sell smiles as her parents help her move into Spruce Hall on Aug. 19, 2019. Both IU and the City of Bloomington sponsor many different kinds of events throughout the year new students are welcome to attend.

As students return to Bloomington for the fall 2022 semester there is a new group of students arriving at IU’s campus for the first time.

To people who have lived in Bloomington for a while, knowing where one-way roads are and where the best study spots on campus might be common knowledge, but incoming freshmen might be unaccustomed to these things. Without an older sibling or friend that is familiar with campus, new students may need tips on what to be ready for and how to prepare for their first college semester.

Senior Ashleigh Prentice said she wished she had been told there is no rush to solidify friend groups or relationships right away. Even though it feels like there is a rush to find people and relationships, college is one of the perfect times to find new interests and figure out career paths. 

“You have four years to meet new people, to go to different events and socialize, and there is absolutely no rush to try and cement down friends and significant others immediately,” Prentice said.  

[Related: OPINION: Preparing for college doesn’t need to be stressful

Going away to college can be a culture shock for some people. Being in a new place without knowing anyone can cause people to stay in their dorm during most of their free time. However, IU and the city of Bloomington both offer activities to help people get involved and meet new friends. Both the IU events calendar and the Bloomington Events Calendar provide a list of opportunities and events to explore all Bloomington and IU have to offer.

“There are so many cool spots and restaurants that it has taken me more than three years just to discover,” Prentice said. “The City of Bloomington puts on local music and art festivals that are so much fun to go to.” 

Junior Tyler King said it is easy to fall into an anti-social rut. Going out and socializing, making friends and having fun are easy ways to avoid that. Finding a place to study outside the dorm room can help separate when it is time to study and when it is time to relax. Common places to study on campus are the Wells Library, the Indiana Memorial Union and even less crowded places like the balcony in Ballentine Hall and the study rooms in Luddy Hall. 

“Even if you're an introvert like me, it's worth it to go out and do something, other people involved or not,” King said. 

The social aspect and expectation of constant parties is not something to be ignored. It is easy to get caught up in bad habits as a first-year student. It is possible to be a good student and have fun in college at the same time by setting time aside to relax to avoid stress or overworking. 

[Related: Some of campus may look different to future students as IU continues renovations

King said he had been told several times that it is important to recognize college is what you make of it. 

“You can put off your coursework and just try to finish the class, but that will not help you digest the material,” King said.  

Navigating around a large college campus can be difficult at first. Using maps can help students find where their classes are. Senior Hannah Plunkett said learning to use the bus system is helpful when getting around, especially if students do not have a car. The DoubleMap app is used for the Bloomington Transit buses and the BusGenius app is used for the campus buses. 

“Once you get a feel for the schedule, it’s easy to navigate,” Plunkett said. 

Weather is something that students must worry about when getting ready for classes every day. Plunkett said it is a good idea to always have a small umbrella or a jacket just in case of unexpected weather. 

“The weather in Indiana is temperamental at best, so at the very least, download a weather app on your phone and check it in the morning before you leave for class or work,” Plunkett said. 

College does not have to be stressful, and everything does not have to be planned out entirely.

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