OPINION: When the first week gets real, follow these tips
The University of Arizona is a public research university that spreads over 380 acres and enrolls an estimated 45,000 students. Those are big numbers, and, if you think about it, they can be very intimidating.
New students go through countless tours so that they can really get to know where they are potentially spending the next four years, but sometimes those aren’t enough.
Campus is big and with tours you have someone telling you where to go. That is not the game when it comes to the first day of classes, when the sidewalks are filled with students, and time is counting down for your next class to start. I don’t mean to scare you, but things get real come the first week of school.
You have to remember everything you are told in your orientations, tours and previous experience to get you to class on time, but I will also give you a refresher.
The first thing you have to remember is that you live in a desert now, so you need to stay hydrated — even in the winter. If you are staying active, this is especially important.
When you get that figured out, you will also know where the best air-conditioned places are on campus to hang out during your breaks. Hint: the library or one of UA’s many cultural and resource centers are great locations.
When it comes to navigating, you should have a reference point. In the case of the UA, it will be Old Main. If you get lost make your way back there.
You may have maps on your phone. What I recommend is the UA app, which has an interactive map search that shows a clear path to all UA buildings. However, sometimes the app will be out of service or in repairs.
The big buildings to remember include Harvill, located at 1103 E. Second St., which towers over dorms and stands by a monumental display made from the U.S.-Mexico border; then there is the Caesar Chavez building, located at 1110 James E. Rogers Way, which stretches to include a large number of classrooms and the Modern Languages building. Almost everyone has at least one class here, located down campus closer to the student union.
If you get lucky, you may have classes all in the general area, but if you’re unlucky, you’ll have to make an eight-minute walk to your next class with only two minutes to spare.
Whatever the case, you just have to be confident and have some good shoes to get you to your next destination. Also, if your classes are back-to-back and far apart, I recommend that you change that your next semester.
You will see lots of people walking to classes but there are also those who choose to bike or skateboard. If that is you, then make sure you know how to best use your time.
With a bike you have to make sure you have enough time to unlock it, ride it and then lock it up again before slinging yourself into an empty seat in a big lecture hall or small classroom.
But all of this is doable because people have attended and graduated from the university; clearly, they made it to class.
I think what I am trying to get at is that the first week will be packed with wandering students, recruiting events, club fairs and people trying to get you involved on campus. That will seem overwhelming, and it probably will be, but this is all for your own good.
The university is trying to get you engaged in campus life. Take advantage of that. You will meet new people, try new things and see new places, but the most important thing to remember is to get to class by whichever means you can.
Use these tips and make your own to pass on to your friends to help them navigate the small town that is the UA.
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