Back-To-School: How to Navigate FIU

Element5 Digital/Unsplash

Nathan Nayor/Staff Writer

For many people, this is their first time on campus. Most students have been off-campus for a year and a half.  Some have been living on campus during the pandemic, like myself.  This semester, campus is as packed as it was two years ago, and this experience can be dizzying.  What should we keep in mind coming back to a full campus?

First things first: always beware of textbook prices. Many professors do not use the books that the FIU book sites will tell you are required.  Check the syllabus first to see what books are needed, some professors might provide PDFs of certain texts for you.  After that, search for the lowest-priced option available.  Many students who have taken a class before are willing to pass down or sell their class materials once they are finished.  Ask your older friends first to see if they still have their textbooks or lab coats before looking into second-hand sites and apps.  If you cannot find or are unable to purchase, second-hand materials, search online for which stores sell them the cheapest.  

Another alternative for STEM-heavy students is Panther BookPack.  This new system, as notorious as it has been, will charge $20 per class credit to provide your books.  This is mostly useful for semesters heavy in classes with website codes required or FIU-specific books.  Make sure you do your own calculations to see if this is the cheapest option available to you. 

The delta variant is running amuck in Florida, and it is important to make sure you are thoroughly protected.  While mask and vaccine mandates are only “recommended” by FIU, it is still highly advised to use these methods to avoid catching the virus. FIU is a very crowded campus where viruses could thrive in crowds, especially at parties. Make sure you don’t catch it and suffer, nor spread it to your loved ones.

A neat thing about coming to FIU is that we have a lot of neat services, usually for free or reduced prices! University work can be stressful, and we all need to recover.  Luckily, FIU offers a variety of services to help with that.  The Healthy Living Program (HLP) can give you 10-minute massages and acutonics for free. We also have Counseling And Psychological Services (CAPS) in case you need someone to talk to about more deep-seated issues.  They offer a variety of therapy options. 

As far as free goes, make sure to check the Graham Center for giveaways.  Different student organizations might give away supplies you need for class, or amenities like phone chargers to help with your day-to-day life!

FIU also offers free transportation, be this through Freebee rides around or near campus or the shuttle bus between MMC and BBC. Take advantage of those to save on gas money.

For those of you with cars: try to find parking before 11 AM.  Most classes take place between 11 AM – 3 PM from Monday through Thursday, so naturally, parking lots will be full at those times.  Try to find parking before 11 AM to ensure you’re able to park near where you need to be. Additionally, most students try to not have classes on Fridays, so if parking is a dire situation for you, you may consider this day for classes.

Last but not least, navigation is important, and relying on people’s directions can be faulty due to the tradition of giving freshmen incorrect directions.  The campus is big and complicated, so make sure you have a map. With FIU mobile, you are able to look up the buildings by abbreviation or name, which can allow you to find the building easier if you are only provided with the abbreviation (which is far too often).   Google and Apple maps do not always have the buildings on campus.

Returning to campus can be hectic. I’ve lived on campus for a year now and seeing it go from empty to full so quickly has been a shock. Now let’s hope it’s a good, healthy semester for all of us.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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