Great Beginnings at UAlbany: The Path to Success Starts Here

Students on the PodiumForget New Year's! The real start to the year is the beginning of school. At the University at Albany there's an exhilarating energy that pervades. Whether you are new or returning—student or faculty - you feel the excitement, nervousness and hope that this will be your great beginning.

A year of incredible experiences awaits - academics, activities, events and friendships. Here are some ideas and tips to help you get off to a Great Beginning at UAlbany.

Helpful links:
Spirit Zone for Student Activities
Office for Student Success
Residential Life
Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program


Great Beginnings in the classroom are all about showing up for class, doing the work, and getting to know your professors.

From the students of the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program

  1. Student study groupTalk to your instructor. Don't be shy! Seniors tell us they wish they had known their first year how important it is to find out when your professors have office hours, and plant yourself in front of their door. When you don't understand the assignment, say so! Show them how hard you are trying. Thank them when they assist you.
  2. What's expected? Most professors give you a course syllabus that clearly states their expectations. If you're not sure what they want, ask!
  3. Think ahead. Don't wait until the night before the paper is due to start it! If you need help with study skills or time management, call Academic Support Services at 442-5180.
  4. Keep your end of the bargain. Be on time, pay attention, and pull your own weight on the group project.
  5. It's all about respect. Critical thinking is valued in the classroom, but learn to articulate your point of view without putting down others. Don't monopolize the class discussion, and listen without interrupting.
  6. Turn off your cell phone – it will distract you and others.
  7. Leave personal issues at the classroom door. If it is too hard to put aside personal concerns about family, health, relationships, finances, and other issues, free and confidential support is available at the University Counseling Center at 442–5800.
  8. Make healthy and responsible choices about alcohol and other drugs. Results of a 2004 survey show that 94% of UAlbany students think ahead and consider their health and safety when they party, including choosing not to use alcohol at all or drinking non–alcoholic look–alikes. National studies of college students also show that students who misuse or abuse alcohol do not perform well in school – they miss classes and get lower grades, and they are more likely to not complete college. Remember to consider your health and safety if you choose to party.

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Great Beginnings with your new roommate from the experts at Residential Life
Whether your new roommate is your best friend from home, or a complete stranger, chances are you're living with someone new for the first time. Remember that a good relationship is not built overnight and that good intentions do not always lead to good relationships. Learning to tolerate each other's differences, without infringing on one another's freedoms can be a valuable part of your education. Your roommate may not be a mirror image of yourself, but remember that roommates do not have to be best friends.

THE THREE C's to develop a positive relationship:
Communication - If you are able to communicate your needs and desires to your roommate, you'll establish a strong foundation for your relationship.

Courtesy - Always extend the same courtesies to your roommate as you would expect from them, particularly around exam time!

Cooperation - Living together in a small space requires you to cooperate, especially about those mundane tasks like cleaning the refrigerator and taking out the garbage.

You'll be given a booklet with a set of questions to discuss. You are encouraged to sit down with your roommate and go over this booklet. Hopefully you can find out enough about each other to set a pattern of communicating and working together on common concerns.

Remember that your Resident Assistant (RA) or your Resident Director (RD) are here to help!

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Tips for Avoiding the Freshman 15

  1. Eat meals. This sounds pretty basic, but eating meals helps to avoid snacking on high calorie foods. For breakfast, eat yogurt or cereal in your room, select from a variety of cereals, bagels, and fresh fruit in the dining room, or visit the Campus Center's Coyote Jacks for an omelet made-to-order using a meal trade. If you have a tight class schedule, ask your Dining Room Manager for a box lunch or use a meal trade at Campus Center's Outtakes Quick Cuisine.
  2. Avoid Mindless Munching. Avoid eating when studying, watching television, or doing other activities. Keep your micro-frig loaded with fresh fruits and veggies. Stock up on pretzels, low-fat popcorn and whole grain crackers. Best beverage picks are water and unsweetened tea. Remember, alcoholic beverages are loaded with calories and are usually accompanied by high calorie foods such as nuts, chips, or pizza.
  3.  Do A Walk By. Walk by the dining room serving line, salad bar, deli station, and salad bar before you select your meal.
  4. Don't Pile It On. Because it is tempting to eat everything on your plate, always ask for a small portion--you can always go back for more. Use the plates and bowls as a guide to correct portion sizes. If you fill two dinner plates, chances are you are "super sizing."
  5. Keep It Simple. Choose a hamburger instead of a cheeseburger, entrees without sauces, and salads with dressing on the side.
  6. Strive for Balance. Combine a high fat entrée with low fat sides. Select a fresh garden salad with low-fat dressing to accompany cheese lasagna. Choose fresh fruit for dessert with a hamburger and French fry meal.
  7. Customize It. Select fresh vegetables from the salad bar and have them added to made-to-order deli sandwiches; toast whole grain bread from the deli bar and top with sliced turkey breast and vegetables; top a warm waffle with fresh fruit, cottage cheese or yogurt; create a main dish salad from the salad and deli bar; talk with your Quad manager about customized meals and arrange a pick-up time.

University Auxiliary Services Newsletter >>

Subscribe to Electronic Nutrition Newsletter (ENN) by contacting rwebb@uamail.albany.edu.

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Juliana CoatesSenior tips:
Juliana Coates
Binghamton, NY
Major/Minor: Biology major / French minor
Activities: Newman Association, Presidential Honor Society, UAlbany Sketch and Situational Comedy club (aka "Sketchy Characters"), Biology Club, various volunteer activities through PHS, and founding a new club for tennis lovers/players across campus

On material goods: Less is more...unless you are an experienced space saver, you'll probably find that you're going to run out of room quickly! Don't bring what you can live without and plan ahead with your roommate, so you don't have two of everything you share!

On making friends: On move in day, walk around your hall, not just your floor, and see who the people are around you. In the next days before classes, go into the other halls of the quad and eventually the other freshman quad - meet your classmates. Don't limit your friendships to those you live with Become friends with your R.A.!

On class work: Professors give you your homework assignments in advance. Use this to your advantage to get ahead in the first month! Talk to others in your class and compare notes to be sure you haven't missed anything. Don't be afraid to talk to your professors. They want to help you succeed.

On having fun: Put your work first but don't get stressed out! Take at least one night out to relax and have a good time doing something you enjoy. Just don't go overboard, it's easy to be distracted from your work.

Other stuff: Respect others and those you live with. Treat them the way you would like to be treated and enjoy living in the residence halls because it can be one of the best aspects of your life.


Great Beginnings at UAlbany

Go to the UAlbany Events Calendar for more information and a complete listing of campus events.

- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl -
9 p.m., PAC

9/2 - Freshmen move in

Barbeque for new students and their families -
4:30-6:30 p.m., Podium

Candlelighting Ceremony -
9 p.m., University Field

- Faculty and Staff welcome new students at brunch -
11a.m. - 2p.m., Indian and State Dining Halls

Back to School Block Party and Activities Fair -
3:30-7p.m., Indian Quad

9/4 - Library Palooza -
1-4 p.m., Main Library.


Great Dane Beginnings

Freshmen Student Guide to Opening Weekend >>

Transfer & Commuter Student Guide to Opening Weekend >>


Pep Band Students

Join the Spirit Brigade or Pep Band!



Tell Us Your Story


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