The Compass: Finding your way in RVA

Illustration by CJ Wright

This story ran as part of a VCU Student Media Center summer special publication, The Compass, which serves as a guidebook for new students. 

Georgia Geen, Executive Editor

I have a confession to make. 

When I arrived at VCU in fall 2016, everyone always referenced “the compass” as a central landmark — a reference point to find the library, Shafer and Hibbs. It took me a month to actually look down at my feet, notice the cardinal directions and learn the location of that elusive navigational tool. 

If you’re as directionally challenged as me, this publication won’t help you physically find your way around campus. But it will help you land on your feet in what’s most likely a new city — shout out to all my fellow Richmond natives, though, help your new friends learn to cross the street. 

The time you spend at VCU is yours. Though it might sound odd coming from someone who just spent the better part of two weeks putting a guidebook together, take the advice you’re about to read with a grain of salt. Each person’s experience is going to be different; rather, look at these pages as a resource to make your college experience healthier, organized and more entertaining. 

Remember, these years might not be the best of your life. You will still face hardships and stress — what college guarantees is a framework for new experiences and the freedom to explore them without a lot of other obligations. 

I’m sure a dozen people — including, but not limited to your high school teachers, the internet and your orientation leader — have told you to get involved in a student organization. At this point it sounds corny, but it’s good advice. Go to the Student Organization Fair with a bag to hold all of the fliers and buttons from groups that interest you and throw your email down on the Google Sheet at every table you can. 

Finding your passion, getting to know yourself and building connections, those are the best things college has to offer. Make lifelong friends, reinvent yourself, write a book or explore the city. Hell, even get bangs, just don’t cut them yourself if you’re a first-timer. These years are yours.

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