Three years’ worth of advice for freshmen students
Published: Friday, August 23, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 16:08
Hello, new freshmen, and welcome to the University of Connecticut. As you can tell by my byline, I am Gregory Koch and I am a senior here. To help you get started, here is some advice from my three years here at UConn.
For starters, this is a big school, so you will find your niche socially – some group where you fit in and enjoy yourself. However, the size works both ways. You will have to find this niche yourself – it won’t find you. I would strongly encourage you to visit the involvement fair on Sept. 4 in Greer Field House (across from the Student Union). Sign up for information from any club you think there is any chance you might be interested in. Then, attend the first meetings of those clubs. If you don’t like them, you don’t have to attend again, but this way, you jump right in. You will definitely be able to find some organization you’re interested in. We have clubs for everything from competitive hurling to fly fishing, and if you can’t find a club you want, you can start one.
Of course, there are many opportunities to have a good time outside of these organizations, such as athletic events and parties. Speaking of parties, UConn has a reputation for being a party school, but this belief is no longer accurate. If you want that kind of experience, you can still find it. However, those who aren’t into partying will not feel like outcasts, and there is little to no drunken debauchery in the dorms, even on weekends.
When you register for courses, you will have the opportunity (and requirement) to take courses not in your major. Take subjects you find interesting, even if they have nothing to do with your field of study, since you will probably never get a chance to study them again. Last year, I took a course in the History of Popular Music – ragtime, Jay-Z, and everything in between. Although this has nothing to do with my major, I thought it was an interesting course, and I needed a general education class in the arts, so I took it. It was one of the most interesting courses I’ve taken here. I have no desire (or talent) for a career in music, but I seized the opportunity to take this course because I wanted to learn about the material. I would encourage you to do the same. Look at the course catalog and find interesting courses. Try to take them as general education classes if you’re allowed to. If not, by the time you get to junior or senior year, you should have fulfilled all your general education requirements and will be able to take other courses.
This is a big campus, so you might need to take the buses, especially in bad weather. However, make sure you know the bus routes before you get on. You can view them on the bus system’s website, bus.uconn.edu, or on the iPhone app. If you’re still unsure, ask a bus driver and they can help you. When I was a freshman, I took the Blue Line from East Campus to Towers to get my mail. I was expecting a short ride, since I thought Towers was only two stops away. What I failed to realize was that there were two East Campus stops. East Campus Northbound was two stops before Towers. I got on at East Campus Southbound, the stop after Towers. I had to ride around almost the entire loop before I got my mail.
Finally, just have fun while you’re here. You’re only going to be here four years, so enjoy it while you can. But at the same time, make sure you don’t extend your education due to slacking off. Tuition is expensive, so don’t party so hard you ignore your academics, fail your classes, and wind up flunking out after two semesters or sticking around for six years before you graduate.