First week survival guide: What to do after Move2BU

By Tatum Mitchell | Opinion Editor

You’ve packed all your things, mentally prepared to leave home and probably listened to countless pointers about college being the best years of your life. With promises of newfound freedom, your freshman year officially starts Aug. 21, but you don’t have to rush through the days leading up to it.

Watching your family drive away after move-in and realizing you’re on your own is scary. That Monday will be your first day of college, and I don’t know about you, but that really stressed me out as an incoming freshman. Barreling down Interstate 35 in a car packed to the brim with my belongings, I was so anxious to get started with the semester that I took move-in weekend with my parents for granted.

Yes, college is exciting and nerve-wracking all at once, but using the free days before classes start can work to your advantage.

Now I’m going into my senior year, and I have a few tips on how to have a good weekend in Waco. Between 8 a.m. and noon Aug. 16, students move in to Living-Learning Communities and Residential Colleges. Students move in to first-year communities during the same times Aug. 17. So, you have at least four days to get organized and explore the area before the fall semester kicks off.

Here’s my suggested schedule of events.

Thursday, Aug. 17

Take some time to get to know your roommate and their family, and offer to help with their things. The college transition is much easier to navigate with a friend, so lean on your roommate. Move-in day is a great place to start.

You’ll probably be done moving in and unpacking in the early afternoon. Treat yourself to a lemonade from Pop’s Lemonade Co. on campus or lunch in the Bill Daniel Student Center.

Plan a dinner with your roommate and both of your families. My suggestions are Ninfa’s for Mexican, Vitek’s for barbecue and Twisted Root for burgers.

Friday, Aug. 18

Go shopping in the morning for school supplies and other necessities. Walmart and Target tend to get busy after 11 a.m., and most stores will be hectic with everyone moving in.

Spend some time organizing and settling into your new space because the semester gets busy quickly. Walk your schedule to be sure you know what buildings your classes are in.

Google Maps is going to be your best friend for the first week or so — don’t worry, nobody will notice you are Google Maps-ing your way to Draper. One of the first mountains to climb is coming to terms with the fact that Burleson, Old Main and Draper are actually the same building but with different names for separate sections. Personally, this took me far too long to figure out, and I’m still kind of upset about it.

Saturday, Aug. 19

Get coffee at Magnolia Press, visit the Silos and tour downtown Waco.

Also, spend some time reaching out or making plans with other freshmen. It might seem intimidating at first, but getting out of your comfort zone as much as you can is worth it. Everyone else is nervous and looking for new friends too. The Waco Downtown Farmers Market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday, so make sure you head down there to grab some fresh food and Baylor gear, then head to lunch at Union Hall.

Sunday, Aug. 20

Invite your family or a new friend to church if that’s something you’re interested in, and take a walk around Cameron Park.

Take some time to relax and mentally prepare for the start of school. You don’t have to fit this whole schedule in just one weekend, but soak up your first weekend in Waco. Enjoy your time with your family as much as you can, text a new friend and get excited for your first year at Baylor.

I am the Opinion Editor for the 2022-2023 school year. I'm on the equestrian team at Baylor (I'm passionate about defying the horse girl stereotype), and last semester I was a News Writer on staff. I was also a part of Bears Helping Babies, a student-led fundraiser for the children and families of Ukraine. I'm so excited for another year participating in athletics and in the journalism department. Before college, I was the Editor-in-Chief of a student newspaper and was on a competitive journalism team for news writing. I love designing, writing and everything about working on a student newspaper. Over the summer I was an intern at The Plaid Horse magazine. I wrote press releases, features articles, managed social media accounts and took part in a weeklong non-profit event for young equestrians. Combining my passion for horses and journalism was a great experience. In the future, I'm hoping to be immersed in the professional multimedia environment and eventually go to graduate or law school. I'm looking forward to another year on staff and learning alongside everyone!