The Confusion of Navigating a College Campus

Kathleen Kelley
4 min readDec 15, 2020


This might seem like a fairly trivial thing but think about it. You arrive at orientation and try to park in the right area, look around as to get some sort of bearing on your location and walk to where everyone else is walking toward to get to orientation and not miss anything.

The campus I was at orientation at was University of Houston. While there I got horribly lost. It is rough getting around a campus, being moved from place to place multiple different times during orientation and not being sure of where you were supposed to go next. While there I had been to six rooms in one day and they didn’t provide a map the entire time.

The whole orientation started at 7:30 or 8 a.m. or so which made things worse because I had to get up at 6 a.m. and by the time I was trying to sign up for classes it seemed like it was too late to find any because everything I was trying to sign up for was full. At that point it was about 4 p.m. and I knew if I wanted to beat traffic I should try to get home.

Now, I am not the best navigator but it was rather ridiculous how lost I was and asking for directions seemed to make it worse at times. It took me finding someone riding on a cart who worked at the University to drive me to where I parked, and luckily I had taken a picture so people could tell me where I had parked and thus, I could tell the person who was riding a cart. I finally got to my car at 6 p.m. or somewhere around there and eventually got home at 7 p.m. By the time I got home I was exhausted and I slept for hours because of how stressful the whole thing was.

Now, knowing what I know now, my suggestion is before orientation go to the campus you plan to attend and get to know your way around with your mom, dad, sibling or a friend. This will make everything seem a little bit less intimidating. Also, before orientation, FIND A MAP! I cannot stress this enough.

Find a map before attending college and DO NOT rely on google maps. That was someone’s suggestion at one point; use google maps. That made everything worse for me and for some it may work but that is not something I would ever suggest. The nice thing about a physical map is nothing changes anytime you walk in a direction and you get an aerial view of the entire school and know where things are in relation to other buildings.

Also, make sure the map has a of the buildings on campus so that you know what is what when using the map. Maps are fairly useless if you don’t know what you’re looking at. I’m not sure why but University of Houston had awful maps online. They were extremely small and didn’t show much detail. They certainly never had a campus directory like the paper ones I found in person did.

Some colleges, or all, have maps of the campus scattered around the school acting as a podium of sorts. The only issue is, if you walk away from them you tend to get lost once again and they only have one in each plaza usually.

Now, I never went on a tour of the campus and I am not entirely sure if that would have helped or not. I don’t have a great sense of direction and that hasn’t changed throughout the years. I do know however, having a map I can carry that didn’t move around would have helped immensely.

I took pictures of the University of Houston map they provide, if you eventually find it, so that people can view a complete map online. The ones that come up in search results are extremely small with no directory so I took time to fix that. Hopefully this helps any future students going to this school until they either get a map or know their way around.

University of Houston Campus Directory



Kathleen Kelley

I am a college student who works at a grocery store. I am majoring in journalism. I write about personal finance, college and things I wish I knew in life.