What To Do When You First Get To Campus

Well it’s your first time out on your own and it’s time to go to university or college.   The first thing you need to do is figure out where you want to go and what you may want to get educated for, at least have a ballpark idea.  For me, it was easy, like everyone else in Manitoba, we don’t have too many options, and end up going where everyone else in your family went.   So off to the University of Manitoba!

You Applied, You’re Accepted, Now What?

By now you will probably have your classes all lined up and you’re in the process of getting your new school clothes, school supplies, as well as those nice expensive textbooks (check out our article on how to save money on this bothersome expense).  Something that I’m sure every student overlooks is how the campus is set up before they enrol for their classes.  Most first year courses are offered multiple times, in multiple buildings, giving you flexibility when you are signing up for the ideal class schedule; however, if you just sign up any old way, you can have yourself running across campus multiple times just barely catching your next class.  So be patient, and plan your classes so that they are reasonably close to each other.

The Campus Walk-around

What To Do When You First Get To Campus
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Another thing that I highly recommend is that you take one or two days to walk around campus and throughout the buildings.  This can help you in many ways:
  • Finding all the bus stops – If you bus it to campus, you might make the mistake of getting off at the first stop, often times there are more than one stop and it might be closer to your classes.
  • Finding nearby bathrooms – This one you could probably wing, but since you’re walking around anyway it’s always nice to know where they are.  If you’re picky about your bathrooms, I suggest going to the “low traffic” ones, such as the ones on the upper floors.  Mostly because the only people that use them are responsible profs and the odd grad student, not thousands of freshman.
  • Look around for parking spots – This is getting harder to do if you drive to campus, but the odd time you can find yourself a close spot that no one seems to know about.  There was a little spot by my faculty that allowed only five cars to park, and there was always one free for me!
  • Look for “all” of the restaurants – This is something I should have done.  The U of M campus is rather large, and I discovered new places to eat each year.   Each one being cheaper and better than the last one! Its also a good idea to know where the close coffee shops are for between classes.
  • Find out where your classrooms are located  – another thing that I never took seriously.  It was neat how when the prof welcomed you to “Linear Algebra 101,” and 25% of the class, having discovered that they are in the wrong room, would calmly grab their things and leave the room to frantically find the classroom that they should be in.
  • Find short cuts to save yourself valuable time that can be better spent at the campus pub.

One Last Thing

VISIT THE CAMPUS DURING REGULAR SESSION!  I used to give students tours at the University of Manitoba, and people would always come during summer session and they wouldn’t see the campus for what it really was.   You may have to skip some class in grade 12 to make this happen, but its worth it.  You will be able to see the hustle and bustle of a real school year, the same school year that you will be a part of next year.  It makes no sense to visit during the summer unless you are going there for summer session.
I hope this will help you figure out what to do when you first get to campus.  If anyone has any more tips please comment below, and if you think anyone can benefit from this share it on Facebook!


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Yah check out our textbooks article for more tips about saving money on textbooks. I was forgetting how intimidating university/college can be for people until I talked to some of the recent graduates that I taught this past year. They are terrified!

YES walking around campus is a must. Even once you’ve done the rounds, make sure you keep a campus map on you. I backed myself on my first week of my masters that I knew the whole uni site. I didn’t and I got hopelessly lost on several occasions (which means running in late to a fully packed lecture theatre. On your first week, that doesn’t look so good.)

Oooh, definitely find your classes ahead of time. Especially at a University with older buildings, they are notorious for having the same number repeated several times throughout the building (when they used to be separate buildings and were later built into one) or the number scheme just makes no sense, OR if there is one set of stairs/elevators that will get you between floors -1 and 5, and a different set to get you between floors 2 and 7. Try to get your books as early as possible, preferable order second hand from Amazon (it’ll be cheaper than your campus… Read more »


Always look into the professor for your section, could make or break the course for you. Check out this website http://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ I found this very helpful.

Thanks Kirby, I’ve definitely used that service before, and I think that deserves a post all on its own!

I hate walking in late, all eyes turn to you and you hear the subtle coughs and groans! Definitely worth avoiding if possible!

I forgot all about that mismatched room numbers! The odd time you get strange classroom numbers like “classroom T” or something like that. I also was late from taking the wrong staircase, apparently the one I took hit floors 1-3, and 5, but not 4!
Thanks for stopping by!

Barb Friedberg

do not buy too much stuff. You can always add, but the marketers are out there telling you that you need lots of stuff that is totally unimportant.

Students are the perfect consumer demographic for marketing empires. They have little experience with money, even less experience with freedom, and usually a lump-sum student loan thrown at them. This can add up to a not-so-good combination!

The Wealthy Canadian

When I attended university, I would always make sure I was organized before classes commenced. There’s nothings worse than not being able to focus on your studies while at the same time not being prepared for social events on the weekends. I would always try to get to residence on the first day I was allowed entry to beat the mad rush. Then, I would hit up the library to get a copy of the hours so i don’t show up there with a coffee in hand and the doors closed (there’s nothing worse!). In addition, having all of the… Read more »

The Wealthy Canadian

Great minds think alike ;)

Wow… That is oddly similar to how anal I was about using my time most efficiently in order to get the most effective study time in while also gaining the most party opportunities.

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