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GUEST COLUMN: 5 things incoming students should know when arriving in Bloomington

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The new academic year is starting, a time when undergraduates return to IU’s Bloomington campus to see old friends and classmates, and we also welcome new students — freshmen and transfers. As a senior and triple major in the College of Arts and Sciences (Psychology and Brain Sciences, Criminal Justice, Liberal Arts and Management Program), here is what I hope is helpful guidance for those of you starting your undergraduate experience at IUB.  

Know your advisor (location and contact information) 

Your advisor is one of the first people you will meet on campus. Knowing who they are and where to find them is one of the key pieces to finding your way at IU. At the College, my advisors were there for me when I changed my second major three different times. At IU, each advisor for each major is typically different, but all of them are there for their students and have the skills to help you create your class schedule, choose a major or minor and offer different ideas for creative classes.   

Go to activities fairs   

Attending activities fairs will help you find a group that you are interested in and are a breeding ground for finding friends and people who have the same interests as you. Finding a group where you fit in is extremely helpful in feeling like you’ve found your place on campus. Going to activities fairs allowed me to find the Psychology Club and the Criminal Justice Student Association, where I met a lot of great people with the same interests as me.   

Utilize the services available: career coaching, student mentoring and tutoring  

Career coaching is offered in different areas across campus depending on your majors. I utilized career coaching offered by the College’s Walter Center for Career Achievement as early as my freshman year, and it has relieved a lot of stress and pressure in terms of what I am going to do when I graduate. The career coaches love to get to know students and talk through potential career paths after college.   

Student mentoring is great for first year students. IU’s mentoring program pairs a first-year student with an older classmate, and mentors can talk with you about classes, stress and how to fit in. As a mentee, I felt like someone knew me on campus right away.  
 
Tutoring is available for most classes and can be low cost. Tutors have excellent skills in the classes they tutor and can help before exams, study sessions or help with homework.   

Step outside your comfort zone; take that class; learn a new skill or hobby

One of the greatest things I have learned during my time at IU is to get out of my comfort zone. Taking classes, for example, in ethics and diversity taught me a lot about what I wanted to study and informed my decisions to change my majors. College is about learning more about yourself and the world around you and taking some risks. Enrolling in creative and interesting classes can make college more fun and the transition easier.   

Go to sports games, plays, musicals or Late Nites  

One of the things that helped me transition well was getting out and going to events. There are events happening all over campus for students with various interests. Whether it be sporting events all over campus, musicals in the auditorium or plays in the MAC or Late Nites, there are events for everyone. Late Nite is a great way for first-year students to experience what IU has to offer and meet new people who are looking for an easier transition as well.  

Late Nite are events generally held in the Indiana Memorial Union on Friday nights. The aim of Late Nite is for first year students to get to know other first year students and experience the activities that the Union has to offer to students. It is a great way to get to know other students as well as the layout of the IMU. 

Coming to IU either as a freshman or a transfer student can be daunting, but experiencing everything Bloomington and the campus have to offer makes the transition a little easier, less frightening and a lot more exciting as you experience a new stage in your life.   

Kyla Study is a Psychology/Criminal Justice/LAMP major in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington. 

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