Words of Wisdom from 8th Semester Senior, Ben:
I am going to start off with the most important advice I can offer an incoming student, because for those of you who are only going to read the first paragraph of this blog, I want you to read this one. When you get to UConn, GET INVOLVED. When you join a group or organization it immediately makes the campus feel a lot smaller. This is a way for you to meet new people and make connections with people who have similar interests as you. Making friends and connections is a huge part of enhancing your experience at any college or university. One way UConn makes it very easy for students to get involved is with their Involvement Fair at the beginning of each semester. All of our more than 500 clubs, groups and organizations send representatives to the Fair where all students are welcome to explore the many opportunities to meet new people and have new experiences.
Another great way to get involved and meet new people on campus is through Learning Communities. These are sections, wings or floors of residence halls that house people with a common interest or major. Living with people in the same major can be very helpful when it comes time to study for quizzes and exams. Also, recognizing and being friends with other students in your classes always makes them more enjoyable. If you choose to live in an interest-based learning community, you will be surrounded by people who share common interests with you, and you will be sure to hit it off with them and make some of your best friends at UConn.
UConn students at the Involvement Fair in the Greer Field House
When it comes time to pick your classes and make your schedule there are two huge factors that many students don’t take into account as seriously as they should: The time of the classes and the fact that no one but yourself will now be pulling you out of bed to get to these classes. In high school, many students almost relied on their parents to wake them up in the morning and kick them in the rear-end on their way out the door in the mornings. For all of you students who didn’t need this extra motivation, go ahead and pick those 8 am lectures and 9 am laboratory classes – you’ll be just fine. For the others who aren’t so excited to start their before the hour hand reaches the double digits (like myself,) try your best to schedule classes that are a little bit later in the day. Attendance is crucial to success in your classes, so pick classes that you ACTUALLY will attend. If you’re not a morning person, not only will you choose to sleep through a few of those early classes, but you might struggle to pay attention as much as you would like to when you actually do go.
Once you’re in the classes that work for you, try and make a set schedule to not only include these classes but also to make time for all of your other daily essentials – meals, showers and studying to name a few. Many students think that once they come to college that having significantly less classroom hours a week (15 in college compared to about 35 in high school) will give them so much free time that they won’t even know what to do with it all. However, once you finish all of your homework and studying (and reading for most classes, which is one of the more time consuming differences between high school and college,) you will have a limited amount of time for your other extracurricular activities.
If you’re worried about putting on the “Freshman Fifteen,” schedule more time for the gym and less time for meals. If you want a little extra spending money on the weekends, make time for a job on campus. You will also need to account for the time that you spend in your group or organization – because EVERYONE should get involved. Once you have your schedule down after the first few weeks, write down and plan what you will do with your free time. Choose which time blocks will be for homework and which will be for relaxing and hanging out with friends. When it’s all written down on a calendar or in a planner it is much easier to see what needs to be done and will usually scare you from putting things off until the last minute.
These are three major tips that I have for any students entering college. I have learned them all from first-hand experience and I know that if you are conscious of these three things throughout your time at UConn, you will enjoy your college experience that much more.