Ask a Nerd!

Question: I was super excited to get into a big university and to live on campus. But, now that I have seen my dorm room and the campus, I’m totally overwhelmed. What do I do?

Brief: Don’t worry, you are not alone. Nearly everyone is feeling the same way but you might not know it because nobody wants to admit feeling overwhelmed. This is part of the transition and, once you get past that first term (semester or quarter), it will be awesome. (READ: “5 Things to do Before You Go to College“).



Since the transition it’s self is mind-boggling, let’s break the answer down into smaller parts that are easier to tackle.

The Dorm

Yep, dorms are pretty bad. It is the most overpriced piece of real estate that you will ever live in. The roommate situation is a tossup; maybe they are pretty cool, maybe not. Mine left the ultra bright light on ALL night for some unknown reason.

If you haven’t already done so, get your dorm survival kit at a place like Target. Ask mom to send a few things from home to make you feel more like you are living in a home. If your roommate is decent consider living with them next year, if not, then look for someone who has a similar lifestyle and class schedule as you and room with them the next time around. Many students study and eat elsewhere and just sleep and shower in the dorms (Still trying to get into the right university? Let our Orange County college admissions consultants help).

The Campus

If you went to a public high school in Orange County, you probably thought that the campus was pretty big…until you got to college. Make a game plan as to how to get to each class and how much time you have to walk or run from one part of campus to another. Before you sign up for classes for next term, go around campus and find the buildings that the classes are held in. If you can, leave yourself a little extra time to get to each new class.

Spend some time exploring the areas of campus outside of your major of study. I recall finding a really cool gourmet-esque coffee shop that happened to be on the other side of campus that was much better than what I had on my end of campus. I also met students who were studying all sorts of different subjects and some older students who gave me insight into how to manage certain courses as well as which professors were great and which were not so great (CLICK: “Top 100 – Lowest College Acceptance Rates“).


New Friends

If you went to high school in Irvine and you are now attending UCI, then there will probably be plenty of students from your former high school, but if you are going out-of-state, then you will be making all new friends. The best time to make new friends is during the first term. Keep in mind that everyone in the freshman class is new and that they are all feeling overwhelmed. Find a few people from your home state and a few people who enjoy your hobbies. Study groups are also a great way to make new friend; do yourself a favor and include at least one person in your study group who is highly organized. The sooner you make some new friends, the easier the high school to college transition will be; you are all in it together.

The Academics

I remember saving all of the classes that I was required to take but didn’t really want to take until the last possible term. I also waited until part way through the term to look for a tutor. Don’t make this same mistake (READ: “College Textbooks: The Struggle is Real“). If your high school tutor was very helpful, call them up right away and ask if they are available for college-level tutoring (use Skype or other new technology if you have moved out of the area). If your high school tutor doesn’t tutor at the college level then arrange for someone new to help you out. Don’t wait until midterm exams come around to get help with a hard class.

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