10 Tips for a Successful First Week at UW-Madison

You’re all moved in, and classes are starting soon. Moving to a new place is never easy, but we have a few tips for taking care of your wellbeing, building healthy habits, and setting yourself up for a good semester.

  1. Get outside and get moving with your floormates.

    There are spaces near every residence hall to check out equipment and play soccer, basketball, sand volleyball, tennis, or even spikeball. It’s a win-win: make new friends and soak up the Wisconsin sunshine before the next Polar Vortex hits.

  2. Eat three meals a day—and fries ONLY SORT OF count.

    Cheese curds and ice cream are amazing, we know. There’s nothing wrong with a treat every once in a while, but your body will thank you for finding a couple of go-to healthy meals at the dining hall. Our favorite is the sandwich bar with an apple on the side, especially because guac isn’t extra. 😏

    Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison
  3. Go to bed early.

    It’s the beginning of a new semester, and that means syllabus week! It may be tempting to stay up all hours of the night, but catch those z’s while you can. Sleep does wonders for exam scores, so get in the habit of studying between classes and sleeping for 6-8 hours every night.

    Photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison
  4. Start strong with your classes.

    We promise your professors aren’t kidding you—read the syllabus, go to office hours, look into the tutoring services on campus, and get in the habit of doing the readings. Syllabi always have a ton of important information about the class, and taking the time to read it cover-to-cover is worth it. Some UW students also swear by going to office hours just to say hello to the professor and introduce themselves. Making a good first impression on the professor never hurts!

    Photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison
  5. Go to a free cycling class with your roommate.

    We might be a little biased, but cycling is the best. Grab your roommate and sweat out the stress of a busy first week at free group fitness classes presented by American Family Insurance from September 4-15. 🚴🏽‍♀️  A good workout is one of the key ingredients to taking care of your body and mind, so build one of our group fitness classes into your routine early. View the schedule here.

  6. Visit the Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning.

    The Dane County Farmers’ Market is one of the well-established gems of Madison. Head down State Street towards Capitol Square and feast on local fruit and veg, squeaky cheese curds, spicy cheese bread, and the best scones of your life.

    Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison
  7. Find all of your classes before the first day.

    If you have a spare hour, walk around campus with your schedule and find each building you’ll visit for classes all semester. Nobody wants to get lost on the first day, so do yourself a favor and go on that self-guided tour of campus beforehand.

    Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison
  8. Search for on-campus Wisconsin Welcome events.

    There are a ton of cool Wisconsin Welcome events going on throughout September, so keep an eye out for emails and Facebook Event suggestions. At Recreation & Wellbeing, we’re hosting a bunch of different events for every type of #ActiveBadger, from candlelight yoga to glow-in-the-dark volleyball to a 5K along the Lakeshore Path. See them all here.

  9. Go to the food trucks on library mall.

    When the weather is nice (which is for two seconds because this is Wisconsin lol), food trucks will pop up between the University Bookstore and Memorial Library. A lot of Badgers make it a goal to visit all of the food trucks before graduation, so you’d better get started ASAP (start with the spring rolls).

    Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison
  10. Spend an evening at the Terrace.

    Not to be dramatic, but the Terrace is probably the best place on earth to hang out, grab some food, or attend an event. It has ice cream, great restaurants, ice cream, plenty of dogs to pet, and ice cream. Check the Union calendar for any live music, movie screenings, or open mic events.

    Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison