When you’re packing and preparing to start your freshman year, there are a thousand thoughts running through your head.
Believe me, I’ve been there and know just how stressful it can be.
Although my mother was a huge help to me, there were so many things I wish I had knew before setting foot on campus for my first day of class.
1. Where’s the bank?
Find out where your closest bank is ASAP. You never know when you’ll need to go there to cash a check or make a withdrawal. And, if you have the unfortunate luck of losing your debit card, it’s easier to talk to someone in person and have them help you. Some banks even make debit/credit cards in house and can give you a new card right on the spot. You’ll also want to make sure your bank is within walking distance to campus. If not, you’ll need to bum a ride each time you go, which can be annoying.
2. Where’s the health center?
Trust me, you do not want to put this off until you are sick and need to go. When you’re feeling lousy, the last thing you want to worry about is directions. Usually, colleges will point this out during your orientation. If not, make sure you take the chance to scope this out for yourself. Also figure out where the closest after-hours or urgent care clinic is. Sometimes you’ll get sick and the student health center will be closed, so you’ll need to go somewhere else. Make sure they take your insurance before going, though.
3. Where do they make student IDs?
To my great dismay, I lost my CarolinaCard (each campus has something like this – a card that you use for your meal plan or to get into your dorm) more than once. If you do lose your card, it can be extremely annoying. You might not be able to get into your dorm, the library, use your meal plan, etc. without it. If you do lose your card, you’ll be stressed out. That’s why you need to figure out ahead of time where you can go to get a new one (and how much it will cost).
4. Where can I get a new cellphone?
If you have the unfortunate privilege of either losing or breaking your cellphone while you’re in college, join the club. It happens all the time. I lost my cellphone once in college and broke it two other times. Until I was able to get a new one, I was incredibly stressed out. I didn’t even know where the closest Verizon store was! That’s why you need to look into this ahead of time. If your provider doesn’t have any stores semi-close to your college campus, you may want to consider switching plans. You’ll thank yourself in a moment of crisis!
5. Where’s the closest police department?
For most of you, this will probably be your campus police department. If you live off campus, that could be a different county or jurisdiction from where your school is, depending on how the lines are drawn. Either way, you need to know where to go if you need help. If something happens, you won’t have time to stop and look up directions. Also, make sure to add in the phone numbers of both your campus police and closest off-campus police. You’ll need these numbers when you least expect it!