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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

Ah, the first year of college! Your first year of university always brings with it significant change, growth, and a lot of life lessons. While definitely intimidating at first, this year of college comes with so many exciting things—new friends, a new place, and a very unique kind of challenge. Below, I’ve outlined some first-year advice that would have definitely proved helpful to freshman Jess. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there; you’ll never know what good can come of it!

  1. Explore any interests.

Although it’s a go-to recommendation, joining clubs really is such an amazing way to go outside your comfort zone. University-affiliated groups present a safe, accessible, and (usually) friendly atmosphere to not only meet new people but explore interests you never had the time or resources to. Joining extracurriculars immediately places you with people of common interests, but in a more relaxed and sociable setting than you might encounter in your major-specific classes. The worst-case scenario is that you might eat an hour or two at a few introductory meetings. The best is that you find a group of really cool people that could end up being great friends that transcend just your college years. Pro-tip: Bring your roommate or close classmate with you to make you feel more comfortable entering this new space, and help you open up to conversation more. With the over 400 clubs CU has to offer, trying out a few clubs that pique your interest is an easy, low-stakes way to assimilate to both the people and the campus. 

  1. Message that classmate.

This piece of advice cannot be stressed enough. Meeting people through classes is such a reliable way to meet new friends, especially when you find yourself in a gen-ed class for first-year students. When everyone around you is also a first-year student, odds are they, too, are trying to get to know new people and are open to new connections. For me, I was a freshman during COVID and only came in person during the spring semester. As an out-of-state student, I was super nervous about putting myself out there, and it definitely took a lot of hyping up from my friends and family back home to reach out to people. I decided to message one of my classmates in a first-year writing seminar after we had to group up for an assignment. For me, the rest was history! I got along super well with her, and she introduced me to some of her other friends. Fast forward two years, and we have all had so many great memories together, from birthday parties to camping trips to concerts and library dates. Reaching out to her was a huge turning point in my first-year experience, and I couldn’t be happier I decided to take that leap of faith. Don’t fret if the first time you try this out, it’s not a match. There will always be people you might not mesh with, and that is totally okay. Put yourself out there and it might be one of the best decisions you decide to make! 

Emily’s 20th birthday party!
  1. Wander through campus.

This one is so much fun! Wandering through campus is such a cool way to experience different buildings and places your major might never have you take classes in—especially at a university as large as CU Boulder. There is an abundance of hidden gems on campus, from the seclusion of Varsity Lake, the intricate labs in the bio building, and the map-filled basement in Benson. Whenever you need a study break, find yourself getting sick of Norlin Stacks, or it’s the height of midterm season, go for a stroll through any building that particularly captures your interest. There are so many study rooms available at your disposal that many students fail to see in their day-to-day haste. Slow down and appreciate the modern study rooms on the fourth floor of Muenzinger or the beautiful rooftop of the UMC with beautiful views of the Flatirons. Be wary that some rooms require you to use your BuffOne card, as they can be limited to specific majors. Have fun and adventure on this maze of a campus; your dream study spot is patiently waiting. 

  1. Make the most of  on-campus resources. 

CU Boulder truly has a great deal of resources available to students ranging from sexual health needs to mental health access and free campus events. Additionally, there are bike stations for anything your registered bike might need, B-cycles for efficient access across campus, and CU NightRide for a free and safe drive home on a late night out anywhere in Boulder. There are always so many things going on at CU, so look out for the CU Boulder Today emails and don’t hesitate to go to random events from the university. It is such a great way to de-stress, meet people, and take a break from classes for some free fun. Pro-tip: grab some friends and hit other cheaper alternatives when you want to switch up your hang-outs, like at The Connection in the UMC, for some lower prices on bowling, pool, and ping-pong. 

Football games are another great way to enjoy the campus, even if it can be a little hard to be a Buff fan at the moment
  1. Get to know the city.

Spending a lot of time on campus definitely has its perks, but also spend some time getting to know the city you’re living in. Boulder has so much to offer, from the restaurants, shops, and bars on Pearl Street, to The Star on Flagstaff. As a student, you get a free bus pass that allows you to take the RTD buses around Boulder, making it super convenient and accessible to venture around the town. Thinking about going to the farmer’s market? Want to go from Pearl Street to the Hill? In the mood to randomly explore? Go for it. Even if you’re a Boulder native, there is always something unique and different going on—Fall Festival, themed events, and new parks to listen to music and picnic in are all within reach of your RTD card. Out-of-stater? Take the AB1 straight to DIA. 

Adventuring through a random bookstore

Regardless of where you come from, what brought you here, or what will come of your time at CU, make the most of your years in college and have fun! You are exactly where you’re supposed to be; adventure is just around the corner. 

Jess Rampersaud

CU Boulder '24

Jess Rampersaud is a participating writer at the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter. Aside from participating in Her Campus at CU Boulder, Jess has interned this past summer in NYC for a Professional Services firm. She has previously worked with the University of Colorado at Boulder Student Government from 2021-2023 as Intern Director and Health & Safety Chair. Jess has also volunteered as a Peer Mentor her sophomore year of college through Mentor Collective to help freshmen adjust to college settings. She attended school in her hometown in Westchester NY before coming to CU to study English Literature and Psychology with a Presidential Scholarship. Jess is the ultimate foodie and loves all things related to travel. Some of her several interests include playing tennis and soccer, ice skating, hanging with friends, making playlists, and cooking or baking. This is her last semester writing for Her Campus before she graduates in December 2023.