Dear Miami University Freshmen,
Welcome home, and welcome to what will be four of the best years of your life. I'm sure you're eagerly awaiting move-in day, and you're beyond ready to start the next chapter of your life. As time flies by over the next four years, you're going to build so many incredible relationships and make enough memories to last a lifetime, and I can't wait for you to experience all that Miami has to offer.
That said, there are still some things to keep in mind that will help make your transition to college life smoother.
1. Keep a campus map on your phone.
Nothing screams "freshman" quite like carrying around an open copy of a campus map. If you need it, it's OK; everyone was new to campus at some point. My recommendation, though, is to have it on your phone instead. You can look up a campus map and either save it to your phone gallery directly or screenshot it. Everyone else is on their phones when walking around campus anyway, so you'll blend right in. Freshman standout avoided.
2. Yes, Hamilton is one of Miami’s campuses, but it is also the name of a dorm.
If you're meeting someone to work on a project, and they say they live in Hamilton, chances are they mean the hall—not the city. I lived in Hamilton Hall last year and constantly had people confused. It happens, but just be aware.
3. Map out your walks to class ahead of time.
I promise this will be a lifesaver when you realize you only scheduled 10 minutes to get between your first classes, and it's a 20-minute walk between the two buildings due to stoplights and crosswalks. (Seriously, Patterson Ave. can be the actual worst.) It also doesn't hurt to just walk around campus before classes start and see how long it takes you to get from building to building. #ShriverShortcut
4. Storing your Miami ID.
There are a couple different ways to do this, and there are also ways how NOT to do it. For example, do not put it on a lanyard to be worn around your neck. It's a total freshman move, and honestly, it's super annoying to wear it like that anyway. I do have mine in an ID case that's on a lanyard, but I keep it in my bookbag instead. You can also keep it in your phone case or put one of the sticky card holders on the back of your phone.
5. Understand that lunch and dinner rushes are a real thing.
You'll learn this the longer you're on campus, but each dining hall has its times where it's almost impossible to get a table or even a seat. The bottom line is, if you only have 10 minutes to grab food, it's probably going to be easier to run through one of the nearby markets on campus instead. Emporium is usually fast, and, being in Armstrong Student Center, it's in a pretty central location. Just a heads up, Bell Tower Dining Hall is on Academic Quad, so it's always insanely busy at lunchtime.
6. Put all of your deadlines in a planner or on a calendar.
This is seriously going to be your saving grace, and it will be your new best friend. Nothing will be worse than making plans for a weekend and finding out last minute that you actually have four papers due that Sunday night and have to stay home. Stay on top of projects and make sure you're always looking ahead.
7. Mega Fair will absolutely be overwhelming, so try to make a game plan.
While you should definitely keep an open mind, try to have a general idea of what kinds of organizations you'd like to talk to. They'll give you a map when you get there, and they have the booths split up into groups by type. If you're looking for an art club, it won't help you if you're wandering through the Greek life section.
8. Finish unpacking before classes start.
You probably won't have every single box unpacked the day you move in, but you also don't want to put it off for too long. Once classes start, you won't have time to make sure all your Pinterest crafts are lining your walls correctly.
9. Make a document with the office hours for all of your professors.
While this information will be on each syllabus and on Canvas, it's so much more convenient to have everything in one spot. I kept a shortcut to it on my desktop, and it was so much easier than digging through Canvas any time I needed something.
10. Go to events, but pace yourself.
I know, everything's new, and you want to experience all that Oxford has to offer immediately. I promise you things aren't going anywhere, though. You do not need to visit every single one of the bars during your first week, and you don't need to check off every item on your Miami Bucket List either. You have four years to enjoy all of this, so take your time. Don't burn yourself out in the first few days.
11. There are seven apps that are absolutely essential for Miami students.
If you don't have these apps yet, download them right now: CBORD Mobile ID (for when you lock yourself out of your room), BuzTrakr (this tracks the BCRTA bus routes and current bus locations), Canvas Student, Quizlet, Forest (this locks your phone and makes you stay focused), a weather app (Ohio's weather doesn't follow any form of logic) and GroupMe. Every single one of these is crucial, and you'll thank me later for telling you to download them now.
12. Try to make friends in each of your classes and in your major.
For starters, it'll be nice to have a friendly face when it's eventually week nine, 8:30 in the morning, and you'd rather be anywhere else. Plus, if you do need to miss a class or want someone to study with, you'll have someone you know you can trust.
You don't have long now until you move into your new home, and Robert Frost said it best when he said that Miami University is "the most beautiful campus that ever there was." Enjoy your free time now while you still have it, and get ready for your greatest adventure yet.
Love and Honor,
A Junior RedHawk