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Newcomer's Guide to UMass Lowell

Tips to Help Transition to Life on Campus

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08/25/2016
By University Relations Staff

Summer is history. Your boxes are unpacked. Class schedule is in hand. You’re excited, primed and… a little overwhelmed. If you feel like Dorothy crash landing in Oz, it’s understandable. There’s a lot to learn as you get settled on campus.

To help you find your way, we’ve collected tips from people who’ve been here and done that - upperclassmen, staff and faculty - on everything from the best ways to meet people to finding a tutor.

So listen to their advice. And give yourself a few weeks. By semester’s end, you’ll be navigating campus like a boss.

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Find Your Tribe 

What’s the best way to meet new people on campus? “Definitely join clubs,” advises Orientation Leader Nicole Parent, a junior majoring in biology. “Those people will have the same interests as you, and that makes it easier to connect with one another. Also, get out of your room and hang in the common areas in the residence hall, go to the gym and participate in fitness classes or hang out in University Crossing.” 

Living-Learning Communities in the residence halls, campus recreational programs and other student activities are the keys to building an active social life, says Frank Manu, an orientation leader who is majoring in electrical engineering. “Don't be afraid to open up, start a conversation or say hello to that professor or student in the hallway,” he says.

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There’s an App for That

Need to check your chemistry grade? Want to know when your laundry will be done? Help is at hand – literally. Your phone is the gateway to a slew of apps designed to make life at UMass Lowell easier. NOW, the student dashboard, gives you a view of your class schedule, grades and more. Roadster Routes lets you check when shuttle buses will arrive and where they’re heading. Got a laundry emergency? There’s an app that lets you check the availability of washers and dryers in your residence hall. You can even get a text or email when your load is done or when a machine is free. The Guardian safety app connects you directly to the campus police department in an emergency, providing them with your location and personal profile. Check out the full list

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Help With CLASS

Baffled by biology? Contorted by calculus? If you’re struggling in any course, the Centers for Learning and Academic Support Services (CLASS), offers a range of programs to help students succeed. You can meet with a tutor, get help choosing a minor, take a study-skills workshop, and use the computers and printers. 

Veterans on campus can find resources, support, get help with paperwork and more at the Veterans Services Office at University Crossing. 

When it comes to keeping body and soul in fine form, the Wellness Center has you covered. Located on the third floor of University Crossing, you can find health services, disability services and counseling. For info on the range of offerings, including spirituality and campus ministries, check out the Wellness Wall.

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Activate Yourself

UMass Lowell may be a Division I school, but you don’t have to be a DI athlete to participate in team sports, fitness classes or work out with a trainer. From ballroom dancing to Quidditch, there are dozens of club teams, intramural sports and fitness classes offered through Campus Recreation. You can try paddleboarding or kayaking at the Campus Boathouse. Borrow a bike through the Free Wheelers program to peddle around campus or go on a group ride on Thursday evenings. Feel like hitting the road and exploring the great outdoors? The Rec Center offers budget-friendly surfing, paddling, hiking, rock climbing trips and more through its Outdoor Adventure Program.

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Career Connections

You may not have gotten your mid-term grades yet, but it’s not too early to start building your résumé. Tap into the services offered through the Career & Co-op Center, from practicing interview skills to help exploring internships or the co-op program. Check out the ProPath, a career development program available to all undergraduates that provides year-by-year guidance to prepare for life after college. Find the schedule of upcoming events.

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Advice Upperclassmen Wish Someone Gave Them

“There are so many opportunities available and all one has to do is ask. Many of the jobs, research work and opportunities I have had on campus has been mostly through expressing interest and asking for the opportunity. I got my current research position by asking the professor who runs the program. – Frank Manu ’18, electrical engineering. 

“The freshman 15 is real. Watch what you eat. Just because burgers are available every day doesn’t mean you should eat them every day. Make sure you check out the Rec Center.” – Yonnie Collins ’18, Exercise Physiology

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Find Your Happy Place 

The campus and environs are packed with great spots for catching up with friends or catching some quiet time. Some primo spots include the hill behind Allen House on South Campus for sunset viewing and the Riverwalk on East Campus for a dose of nature. If you’re seeking civilization, try Mill No. 5 in downtown Lowell for great coffee, shopping, a movie and snacks. Need some quiet space to study? Try the fourth floor of O’Leary Library, where the distractions are few. Check out our campus maps and find a spot all your own.

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Best Places to Blow Off Steam 

Classes, roommates, tests, papers, life. Things can get stressful. When they do, there are plenty of options for blowing off steam – whether it’s burning up some energy, laughing with friends or carving out some time for yourself. Every day is game day at University Crossing, which is a Pokémon gym and has two PokéStops nearby. The Rec Center has a list of classes from yoga to kickboxing. Hockey games bring the entire campus together to cheer on the River Hawks. Go ahead. Scream for your team. It’s good for the soul.

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