Make Yourself at Home! (Is that easier said than done?)

Your first year at Ithaca College is about to begin, and the Fuse staff have got you covered with the 411 on what you need to know about classes, dorm life, food, clubs, making friends, getting involved, sports and recreation, and how to get around town. It's all here in our First Year Survival Guide!

Step 1: Dive into programs designed for first-year students.


Ithaca Seminar

What it is: Three- or four-credit interdisciplinary liberal arts courses offered to first-semester freshmen.

Why you should enroll: You’ll make contact with students from different majors or even schools. And some courses fulfill the writing requirement for many majors -- doesn’t Texts, Drafts, and Rock and Roll sound more interesting than Academic Writing 1?



What it is: A three-day adventure with other new Ithaca students just before fall semester starts.

Why you should apply: Each of the four Jumpstart programs offers a different way to learn about the Ithaca area, and they all let you connect with your classmates by focusing on communal projects before academics and extracurricular activities start pulling everyone in different directions. In Community Plunge, you’ll work with local service organizations. In ECHO, you’ll camp overnight along the Finger Lakes Trail. At Lead-In, you’ll complete a challenge course designed to hone leadership skills. In the Sustainable Community Challenge, you’ll visit area farms, parks, and a wildlife refuge.


First-Year Experience (FYE) Events

What they are: Activities that expose new students to the wide array of campus offerings: a student organization fair, concerts and parties in Emerson Suites, basketball games, film showings, fun events planned by IC After Dark, and more.

Why you should go: Some events are geared toward first-year students; others are designed to get you involved with the greater campus community. Go to the FYE table at each event and fill out a raffle ticket—last fall’s winner won a Dell 10v mini netbook, and last spring’s winner got to choose a TV or a $300 dinner with friends.


First-Year Cabaret

What it is: A student-written, -produced, and -directed production starring only first-year students (no musical theater major required).

Why you should audition: Landing a role in a main-stage production can be difficult, so if you’ve got an urge to be in the spotlight, the cabaret may be your best shot as a freshman. Plus, you’ll have fun and form friendships with other musical lovers. And if you’re not part of the show, go see it during IC’s family weekend.


Step 2: Try these tips on making friends and easing into campus life.


Find a Study Buddy You’ll be surprised at how a late night of studying can create lasting memories, not to mention a better understanding of the course material.

Get Connected Sign up for E-vents, a weekly e-mail listing everything going on around campus. Just check out the website (and while you’re there, browse to see if there are others you might want to join):

Take Part in Dorm Events From campus scavenger hunts to games and holiday celebrations, floor events are great ways to meet new people and get to know your RA .

Be a Spectator Check out a performance by Ithacappella or Premium Blend, or cheer on the Bombers at a football game. And support your classmates in the School of Music and the Department of Theatre Arts.  

Get a Job Most students end up in dining services their first year, but more job postings can be found on the JobShop database website:


Step 3: Keep exploring the pages of this Survival Guide.

Learn more about student clubs and organizations, athletics, and more.


Originally published in Fuse: Make Yourself at Home! (Is that easier said than done?) .