Skip To Main Content
Skip To Main Content

Survival Guide


Welcome to Northern. We are glad you are here.

We’ve all been the new kid at school. It can be exciting. It can be fun. But let’s be honest, it can be scary as well. We asked returning students to offer some helpful hints and advice to our new students to make their transition to college life a little bit easier. They were happy to help, just like they will be if you need them for anything while you are here.

Take the Polar Bear Quiz.
Click on the question to reveal the answer.

Answer: 8 or 9 a.m.
Yes, it sounds brutal, but scheduling classes at 8 or 9 a.m. is really best. Waking up early keeps you on a better schedule and prepares your for your professional career.

Answer: Third floor of Heterick Library
Your dorm room provides countless ways to procrastinate and become distracted, so unless you are good at tuning things out, it is best to study outside of your room. The third floor of the library is pin-drop quiet and there are even private study rooms with great views of campus.

Answer: After 7 p.m. or in the early morning
The thing you need to know is that ONU’s athletic teams usually work out between 5-7 p.m., so the weight room and fitness center can easily get congested around those times.

Answer: Between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Most students tend to eat lunch between noon and 1 p.m., and the line to get in will be long. If you want to eat quickly, wait until the rush is over. We promise there will still be food.

Tips for Class

  • Do not schedule multiple hour breaks in-between classes if you are able to help it. You may think that you can get something done in an hour or two of free time, but it may be very hard to stay productive for that short amount of time. Bunching up your classes keeps your day moving along and provides you with larger blocks of time to work a job on campus, participate in sports or study.
  • Keep track of your coursework progress/grades/major frequently. The last thing you want to do is to go into the start of scheduling for next semester and be surprised.
  • Be prepared to take notes and dedicate quite a bit of time to studying. This isn’t high school anymore. The days of simply showing up to class and being able to mentally retain the information you need are now long gone. Take notes either by hand or bring your laptop, but take notes by hand if you think a laptop is too tempting of a distraction.
  • Create a well-rounded schedule when possible. Have some fun in picking your general electives or any extracurricular credits that may come your way. You might find that you enjoy an area or concentration outside your major that you never considered beforehand.
  • Talk to professors. Professors are oftentimes more than happy to repeat a crucial point in class lecture, expand upon a topic you are particularly interested in, help you with paper ideas and deadlines, and sometimes exam preparation.
  • Stay organized! Staying organized not only helps keep you on task and thinking straight, but it will also save you time and energy.
  • This goes without saying, but show up to classes, period. And be on time. You are paying for your education after all.

Campus Advice

  • Before the first day of classes, it is helpful to walk around campus to find your classrooms, buildings and even the fastest route to take between them.
  • Do not be afraid to ask a passing student where something is. You will not be the first person to do this. Most upperclassmen have been approached with questions before and are more than happy to help out.
  • If you bring a bike to school, make sure to have it locked at all times, and plan to take it back home over the winter months if you want it to stay in good condition.
  • Take advantage of free services offered around campus. Do not hesitate to use services such as the Communications Skills Center, library resources, Career Services and the Health Center. They are here for you.
  • Buy a parking permit and only park in your designated lots. Parking violations and tickets are a needless expense and can be avoided if guidelines are followed.

Tips for Living on Campus

  • Do NOT stay in your room all the time. If you find yourself sitting in your room constantly throughout the day and evening, change that! Go outside. Go with a group to dinner. Find an event or organization. Just be active in general.
  • Stay on campus on the weekends!!! One of the biggest mistakes you can make early on in your college career is to go home frequently. Do not go home for at least a month or more after you first move-in. For one, there will be plenty to do on weekends on campus. Second, not going home actually helps you to get rid of homesickness and adjust to the college lifestyle more easily.
  • Find a banking location in town to make it easier to take out cash and do direct deposit if you have a work-study job. While it is a good idea to get a credit card to start building up your credit in college, having an ATM (where you won’t get a service charge) is a must.
  • Learn how to do laundry! For the sake of your clothes and others’, learn how to separate clothing articles, use detergent and what setting does what. Also, as a side note, take your laundry out of the washers and dryers on time! Perhaps the best course of action is planning ahead to have at least two weeks worth of clothing so that you do laundry less frequently.
  • Talk to your roommate first if any issues develop between the two of you. If there are minor issues, they can usually be worked out if both parties maintain a respectful, positive attitude.
  • Talk to your roommate ahead of time to get a sense of who is bringing/supplying what to the room. Focus on large items that can clutter a room.

Strategies for a Successful Social Life

  • Join a club or organization. One of the best things you can do at the start of your freshman year is to get involved early on. Welcomefest is one of the highlights of the fall and provides an overwhelming opportunity to join or gather more information about organizations. Later on in your college career you may not have as much time to do extracurricular activities, so it is important to explore a large amount of things now, and narrow them down as needed.
  • Find out about and attend many different events around campus. Go to sporting events, events hosted by SPC (and other organizations) or events hosted by your respective major/department/college. There is always something happening somewhere.
  • Become engaged in the community. Even if it is simply going to different businesses and restaurants in Ada, become engaged in the village. Believe it or not, life exists outside of the campus and Ada is just as much a part of ONU as on-campus.