How to Survive Week One at UT - Austin

Going to college is easily the most exhilarating and terrifying time in a young woman or man's life. Between packing, loading everything into the car, and preparing everything once you arrive on campus, the weeks before classes begin are a blur. One blink and your parents have left. Two blinks and your first week of school is about to begin. Here's how to answer when the adult world knocks at your door.

Get to Know Your Campus
Sure, many of you are headed to campus with the benefit of an automobile. Whether or not you have the luxury of driving to class, you'll want to give your legs and your senses the opportunity to absorb your fresh habitat. Of course, if you've got classes fifteen minutes apart at opposite ends of this vast school, you'll probably want to drive (and maybe adjust your schedule). But the best way to learn your way around is to burn a little shoe leather.

Map Out Your Classes
Oh sure, the orientation staff at the University of Texas at Austin are great at putting you at ease as you begin the next phase of your life. You'll get a fantastic tour of the grounds and helpful hints, but once the sky turns pink and orange on your first day, panic will set in. Fear not, you've already got your route planned out on your phone's mapping app. You can weave from the Gates Computer Science Complex to Gearing Hall to the Center for Liberal Arts in no time without any hassle.

Pick a Favorite Gathering Spot
Whether you're looking to make new friends or just catch your breath, you'll want to find a great waypoint during those longer gaps between classes. Fortunately, UTA offers scads of great restaurants like Taco Joint and Austin's Pizza, bars and taverns (for those of age) like Hole in the Wall or the Crown and Anchor, and coffee houses like Gabriel's Café or Coco's Café to refuel and refresh while scrambling around campus.

Take in a little Greenery
If you're a local heading to UT, you'll probably already have a good idea how to get away from the city in the city. However, incoming out-of-city and out-of-stater students will want to find a way to escape the bustle of this very urban school and its 50,000-plus students. Thankfully, there are several nearby green spaces like Eastwood Park, Adams Park, and the expansive Pease Park. Also, (safely) avail yourself of the lovely greenbelts which crisscross the university.

Familiarize Yourself with Basic Supply Stops
After the rents dropped you off, they may have loaded you up on cup o' soups, toaster pastries, granola bars, and other vital college survival foods, but as vast as the piles resting in your dormitory closet seem, your supplies won't last. In that event, you'll need to dig up the closest grocery stores, such as H-E-B or Fiesta, as well as a pharmacy such as the local CVS or Walgreens. Also, smaller convenience stores around campus like the Orange Market and Fresh Plus will keep your coffers stocked with on-the-go foods as your en route to class or heading home.

Andy L. Kubai is a freelance writer and transplanted Austinite who's been exploring the internal and external wonders of his new home for the last 5 years. Find out more about Andy on his website.

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