What to expect your first year at Augustana

Mari Kelley
June 3, 2021

Expect to get lost at least once. 

No matter how big or small you think your school is, you’re going to get lost at some point. It’ll probably happen right when you move in and are still learning the campus, but it could also be during your junior year looking for a classroom you’ve never been to. 

Don’t panic if this happens! Find another student and ask them how to get to your destination. Students like to help each other out so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Expect a couple of fire alarms at the beginning of the year. 

I don’t know why, but at least at Augustana, there's always a bunch the first few weeks of school. When a lot of young adults are in one building, there’s a good chance for burnt popcorn. 

If you have an unexpected fire drill in your dorm, make sure you remember to put on shoes and bring a blanket and your keys. This year it’s also important to remember your mask.

Expect to get winded walking up some of the staircases on campus (Olin, Seminary and Andreen stairs, I’m looking at you). 

Going from driving everywhere to walking as my main form of transportation was a bit of a transition for me, especially on a campus with lots of staircases. Unless you’re regularly hiking up and down hill, it’ll probably be a change for you, too. 

While your muscles do become adjusted to the extra workout they receive daily, expect to have to pause for breath while walking up the Andreen stairs.

Expect to make friends when you get involved. 

This point may seem obvious, but everyone is afraid they won’t make friends in college. It’s a valid fear to have, especially if you’re an introvert such as myself. If you want to make a lot of friends in college, the easiest way is to get involved in extracurricular activities! 

Of course, you will likely make friends in your classes, but being involved in an extracurricular will assure that you have at least one thing in common with everyone there. For example, if you like theatre, chances are that everyone involved in theatre productions enjoys it as well.

Expect to have at least some minor disagreements with your roommate.

No matter who your roommate is—a friend you already knew or someone random—there will be disagreement. When there’s tension with a roommate, focus on how you solve the problem rather than continuing to be in disagreement. 

Rooming with another person is all about compromise, and communication is key in these situations.

Expect to share.

There’s a lot of change when you transition to college, and one of the largest changes is community living. As a first year student, you’ll be living in a dorm with many of your peers. This means that you will likely be sharing a room with one other person, and a bathroom with about 50. 

The bathrooms are pretty large, but it’s essential to share the space, so respect is extremely important. My best advice is to bring a robe, shower shoes, and a shower caddy to school. These items help with your hygiene as well as make it easier for you to share the space. 

You should also expect to share with your roommate. Be it band-aids or blankets, your roommate will appreciate if you’re willing to share with them. 

Expect to get homesick.

It’s in our nature to miss the people we care about when we’re away from them. Some say that staying busy will prevent homesickness. While it may hold off the feeling or distract you, there will be times when you miss the comfort and familiarity of home no matter how busy you are. 

The best advice that I can give is to tell the people you miss exactly that; “I miss you.” This doesn’t make the feeling of homesickness go away, but it does allow you to acknowledge and express your feelings.

Your first year of college is going to be a completely new experience, but luckily, you are not alone! Every other first year student is in the same boat with a lot of the same feelings, whether it’s nerves about making friends or missing your family. Augustana supports students in lots of ways, but make sure to take the initiative to be supportive of and communicative with your fellow students.

Mari Kelley

Mari Kelley (Class of 2023) is from Port Byron, Ill. She is majoring in history, with plans to minor in art history and geology. On campus, she works in the ticket office and participates in choir and Quidditch Club (which requires a lot of running). After graduation, Mari plans to work toward her dream job of working as a curator in a history museum.