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The Essential Guide for the First-Year Student’s First Weeks

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The Essential Guide for the First-Year Student’s First Weeks

Starting your first year at the University of Arizona is an exciting time. You’re suddenly in charge of your time, your space, where you go, what you do – ok, it can also be a little overwhelming. We’re here to help you focus on what’s important, and how to make your first few weeks at the University of Arizona feel less like an alien planet and more like your home. 


Before You Arrive

There are a few social media accounts that you’ll definitely want to follow to feel more involved at the University of Arizona, right from the start. Here are five accounts that will keep you in the loop:


  1. @lifeatarizona
  2. @uazcampusrec
  3. @uazhousing
  4. @uarizonapd
  5. Your college – full list here


Also, you’ll want to remind yourself of your NetID, check your CatMail email, and download the Duo Mobile app, which serves as a two-step authentication for many university logins. 


Dorm Move-In

Housing & Residential Life has created dorm-specific checklists for what to bring and what not to bring when moving into your University of Arizona dorm. This includes essentials like twin xl sheets and pillows, and clarifies when you’ll need to bring things like shower shoes (for dorms with shared bathrooms) or a shower curtain (private bathrooms). 

Here are a few more things that you’ll be glad you brought.


Nice to Have

  • Sunscreen
  • Kleenex
  • Some first aid stuff, like bandaids, headache medicine and cough drops
  • A water filter system, such as Brita
  • Condiments such as hot sauce, mayonnaise and mustard, and ketchup
  • Posters (use 3M strips to attach, and remember that a lot of tables will be giving them away at Bash at the REC)
  • Some aesthetic decorations, such as twinkle lights, a cool table lamp, or a plant (just remember that many dorms don’t get great sunlight, so a fake plant might be better)


Don’t Need

  • Quarters – laundry machines use CatCa$h 
  • Candles – diffusers and air fresheners are ok, just make sure your roommate(s) approve of the scent (more tips below!). 
  • A bike pump – there are air pumps all over campus, and you can even get your bike repaired at the Campus Bicycle Repair Shop. That, or just borrow a bike and/or use the Cat Tran bus. 
  • A printer – there are wireless printers all over campus; just use CatCa$h to pay!
  • A vacuum – you can rent one from your dorm front desk


If you forget anything, the nearest Target is at 3699 E. Broadway Blvd., but the Target at 4040 N. Oracle Rd. is a little less crowded during dorm move-in.


The First Weeks

The first few weeks of school are fast-paced. All other Wildcats are so excited to welcome new students, and you’ll be bombarded (in a good way!) with tips, tricks, opportunities, and more. There are three events you should definitely plan to attend.


  1. Destination Arizona, August 19–21: Think of it as your orientation to Arizona, where you’ll be surrounded by other first-year students (aka: people who will be as excited to make a new friend as you would be).
  2. Bash at the REC, August 21: An energetic, welcoming environment where you’ll learn more about cool clubs, campus recreation – and, get lots of free stuff and coupons.
  3. ASUA Club Fair, August 31: Roam the mall and sign up for any and every club that interests you. It’s the easiest way to make friends and pursue a beloved (or new!) interest.




Roommate Tips

More than 50% of incoming first-year students elected to be assigned a roommate – meaning, they didn’t decide to live with a friend or acquaintance. That means a whole bunch of the class of 2026 is going to be living with someone they don’t know. 


Sharing space with someone else is one of those essential college experiences that you’ll reflect on for years after you graduate. There are a few things you and your roommate can do in the first few weeks of school to make sure those memories are happy ones. 


  1. Share your schedule with each other. It’s nice to know when you’ll have some privacy because your roommate will be in class or at work. And, if you happen to have the same class, you may even be able to share notes and study together. 
  2. Decide what’s shared and what’s not. Did one of you bring a clothing steamer and the other didn’t? Is that fair game to share? If one of you pays for HBO and the other pays for Netflix, is it cool to make a profile and share those streaming services?
  3. Prep for challenges. Make a plan for what should happen if a roommate loses their dorm key. Also, decide who’s going to restock the toilet paper when you run out (if you have a private or suite-style room).


Remember: You don’t have to be very best friends with your roommate, but you do need to be considerate and respectful. You share space, so that means you also share responsibility. If you allow some room for getting to know each other and encourage honest communication, you may even decide to be roommates again next year!





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