Coming to college is a completely new experience that is filled with uncertainty and questions….but no one wants to be the one asking all the questions or looking lost.
Here are some of the questions that we know you probably have—and answers to them from NNU students who have been there.
We offer perspectives from Carson who is just finishing his first year, and Lauren, who has lived and learned through the college experience—and just graduated.
How do I avoid annoying my roommate? What do I do if my roommate is super annoying?
- Carson: The key really is communication and respect. Realize your roommate doesn’t have to be your best friend and not everything will be perfect—and it doesn’t have to be. Don’t be afraid to talk it out. Discuss sleep schedules and keep your side of the room tidy. My roommate and I are both really careful about giving each other space. If your roommate is annoying, remember you only have to get through one term…you’ll get to pick your future roommates.
- Lauren: Communication is key! It is important to sit down with your roommate from the beginning and decide on some ground rules. It is way better to figure out what you both need from the space and find ways to make sure both people feel heard and listened to.
What do students do for fun?
- Carson: There is always something fun to do…play disc golf on the campus course, compete in intramurals, participate in SGA events or work out in the JSC. A lot of people will hang out or play games in The Nest or outside (when it’s warm). You are constantly around people who make anything you do together (even homework!) fun. It’s great!
- Lauren: There is so much around campus that can be done! There is always something going on, whether on your wing, in your dorm, between dorms or for all students. Friend groups will hold fun movie nights or activities around campus to take breaks from studying and work. There are also clubs on campus where you can get involved so don’t be afraid to join a couple of them and see what sparks your interest.
What do students do on weekends?
- Carson: There is always a lot of stuff to do with friends, whether planned ahead or spontaneous. A lot of my friends and I go swing dancing at Indian Creek Steakhouse, go bowling or to the hot springs. There are also a lot of fun activities on campus, through our college church group or planned through the Journeys club.
- Lauren: There is so much to do off-campus—and always someone to do it with! Get off campus and explore some fun spots, like local coffee shops or go shopping at The Village or in Boise. If you are an outdoors person, go adventure and check out hiking, fishing, skiing, camping and so much more.
What do we need to know about interacting with professors? What do we call them?
- Carson: They usually tell you how to address them on the first day. Normally we call them Professor or Dr. when interacting face-to-face, but if you’re referencing them to other students, we just use their last names. Most professors are super chill, but it’s always good to be respectful. Get to know your professors, stop by their offices and check in with them often. They are usually accessible and want to get to know you.
- Lauren: First off, just assume that your professor will want to be addressed by their title and last name. Some professors will tell you otherwise, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Your professors are your professors, but they are also there to build connections with you. They genuinely want to get to know you as a student and a person, so don’t distance yourself; they are not as scary as they seem.
How do I avoid embarrassing myself in the classroom? What do I take to the first day of class?
- Carson: Always make sure you’ve done your homework or reading and have stuff to take notes on. Personally, if a teacher asks a question and no one answers that’s embarrassing not just for me but for everyone. In college, pay attention, answer questions and participate. Also, when you meet people in your class, take the time to write down their names and where you met them. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Lauren: Take a deep breath on the first day of class. It can be daunting, but most of the people in your classes will be feeling the same way. Sit anywhere and introduce yourself to the people next to you. On the first day, take a notebook, a planner and some writing utensils. More often than not, your professor will tell you if you need anything specific. If you are someone who prefers to take notes on a device, bring that, but check with the professor before using it.
What do I need to know about eating in the cafeteria?
- Carson: Check out all your options, but also don’t be afraid to eat cereal for dinner. Yes, it’s a college campus cafeteria but it’s actually pretty good and you have quite a few choices. Mongolian Grille is almost always great!
- Lauren: Until you get familiar with the layout and how things work, go with wingmates or friends. Your RA will usually go with you the first time or two as well. It’s pretty easy to figure out and you’ll get the hang of it quickly, but if you are with friends, it will be a lot more fun and you can figure it out together. (And yes, you do have to bus your own dishes…don’t leave them on the table and walk out unless you want dirty looks!)
What do I need to know about upperclassmen?
- Carson: They’re really not scary. Once you get to know them, they’re super outgoing and friendly. They love to see first-year students get involved and most of them are open to building friendships with the incoming class.
- Lauren: Upperclassmen have been in your shoes before! Make friends with them—they make great mentors as you navigate a new campus, new state or a new major.
What do you wish you would have known before coming to college?
- Carson: You don’t have to stay up until unspeakable hours of the night to have fun.
- Lauren: The friends you make the first week of your first year may not be your friends forever and that is okay. So many people grow and change during college and that is normal, and with that, it is also normal that your friends may change. Enjoy the moment!
What’s the best advice you can offer a new first-year student?
- Carson: College isn’t just about school. Seek out ways to get involved, and do it in many ways, not just one area. Form bonds with everyone, but especially your wingmates—there are really fun things that happen within the wing.
- Lauren: Take a deep breath. Get involved when you can, but remember to do your classwork. If you need help, reach out to peers, upperclassmen, professors or staff—they all want to see you succeed.
Have other questions you want to know, but don’t want to ask in a public way? DM us at @nwnazarene on Instagram and ask away!
Carson just finished his first year at NNU and has loved the experience! He is a Youth Ministry major who has a successful YouTube channel and is a photographer for NNU’s Marketing & Communications Department.
Lauren just graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Communication. She has two puppies, loves to take pictures, and was a Social Media Intern at NNU during her senior year. After college, she plans to focus on her photography business.