Now that you have arrived on campus you might be slightly concerned about its size, the places to eat, and even the social environment. Being a first year can be hard, you are battling homesickness all the while trying to discover your “place” at UT. But don’t worry, the following nine tips will help you navigate the, sometimes difficult, trials and tribulations of freshman year.
1. Get out there and join something – If there is one tip that is the best tip for your freshman year, it would be this one. There are hundreds and hundreds of clubs out there at UT and even if a club isn’t your style there are tons of other organizations. There will be one for you, try one out, try them all out. But just find your place here at school. Leave your dorm room and explore campus, you might stumble upon something you never thought you would see. Just get out there and do something.
2. Don’t skip class – This is probably on every single guide to surviving college you have ever read, but it is so true. If you miss one class that is fine, but continually skipping class is a huge mistake. Not only are you missing out on the lecture material and important information for your tests, you are missing out on making connections with your peers and your professors. If you go to class it can lead to a letter of recommendation or a job in the future. As a side note, also do your readings. It will benefit you in the long run. You don’t want to be pulling an all-nighter before the test just so you can read the book.
3. Reach Out – You probably will not know someone in every single class you take at UT. The school is just too big for that, but during the first week of classes it is ideal to make a buddy (and get their phone number). This way if you ever have to miss class or if you didn’t understand something you can text them. This is also important if you are super shy towards professors (which you shouldn’t be, but it’s understandable). Your new buddy can probably help you out in the understanding of the material. Not to mention you now have a go to study buddy.
4. Crying and being homesick are okay. – We have all be there, and do not let anyone tell you they haven’t. We are all moving away from home, whether that be from down the road or five states over. And it. is. hard. You can be sad, you can cry, and you can miss your parents (or dog, or bed). What is important is to not let yourself feel like those emotions are invalid. They are most definitely valid and okay to have. Most likely all of your friends are going through it too. So reach out if your feeling sad and lonely. Someone will be there for you.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff – Come October and November you are going to hear about this big event…registration. Maybe you have already heard about how terrible it is from your peers but here is the big thing to know. It is not a big deal. You will be fine. Do not let something like registration, not getting into a club you really wanted, or getting a bad grade on a test get you down. Do not sweat the small stuff, always remember whatever happened probably will not still be affecting you five years in the future. Don’t sweat it; you will be fine.
6. Be prepared – This is more than just bring a pencil to class. There is quite an array of things you should have in your backpack. Things like: an umbrella, gum, a flash drive, hand sanitizer, and pain reliever are just a few to note. Another way to be prepared is to look at the handy dandy weather app on your phone each morning before you leave your house, it will let you know if it is going to rain all day so you can pack your backpack accordingly. Being prepared is one of the biggest steps you can take in life from going to a high schooler to a college adult.
7. Study spots – You have probably heard about the PCL. It is the big library on campus; yes that kind of ugly, brutalist building near Jester. And a lot of people study there, but did you know there are over 10 libraries on campus? All free for UT students to study in? If you didn’t, just Google the UT Library System branches and they will pop up. Try the Life Sciences Library, the Architecture Planning Library and maybe even the Law School Library. Finding a study spot can be trying, but you can do it. Once you do, you will have somewhere quiet and peaceful to go to make sure you get the grade you want.
8. Invest in a good planner – Maybe you used a planner in high school, maybe you didn’t. But now is the time to go out and grab one. But don’t get the cheapest one you see because this planner needs to be able to make it through at least your first semester at UT. You are going to be managing 4-5 classes plus your clubs and organizations. Then there are labs, study sessions, dinners with friends, etc. Get a planner and you will never forget important dates.
9. Food – Here is the breakdown:
Best dining hall: Kinsolving – If you love a pretty decent buffet Kinsolving is consistent. They are open at interesting hours so make sure to look it up before you go.
Best meal at a dining hall: Stir Fry at J2, you can pick your veggies; sauce and meat plus rice or noodles. It is delicious.
Best breakfast on the Drag: Kerbey Lane, by far. Get some queso, a cinnamon roll pancake, or an omelet. All of it is delicious.
Best lunch on the Drag: Potbelly sandwiches, they are the best for on the go, plus they have free wifi.
Best dinner on the Drag: Verts Kebab, this is also perfect for on the go and if you download the app you can get free food!
Best coffee: Café Medici is great if you are looking for a coffee house vibe that isn’t Starbucks.
Best dessert: Moojo’s ice cream sandwiches, they even have seats that are swings.