Going to college could make you extremely nervous. It will be a new stage in life where you get to experience and meet new people. Here are 24 freshmen tips for students going to UW Madison.
1. There are plenty of ways to make friends
Because UW Madison has an endless amount of things to do, you will always be in a position to meet new people. Some of my best friends have come from being (random!) roommates, sitting next to one another in class, and meeting friends of friends. You will, without a doubt, meet people who you will develop amazing relationships with.
2. Join the Facebook Group
Make sure you join your UW Madison Class of 20XX Facebook group. A lot of incoming students meet new friends and find roommates there. It is really important for you to join in order to give yourself a head start!
3. But remember, friendships take time to develop
I remember being on week two of college and thinking, “Where are all these friends I’m supposed to make?” These great friendships take time! Just be open to meeting new people, and the universe will do the rest.
4. Class is just one part of college
Okay, okay, hear me out. Getting your degree and developing an education is the single most important part of college. While saying that, it is important to note that college is an experience. This means you want to enjoy it! Don’t be afraid to go to an athletic event or do some sort of fun activity. At the end of the day, or the four years, THOSE are the things you will remember. Well, along with some knowledge of your degree, hopefully.
5. It’s okay to be homesick sometimes
I felt lame for being so homesick during my freshman year until I found out that everyone felt the same way. This may be the first time you are away from your family, so it’s okay to miss them!
6. The Freshman 15 isn’t everything
The phrase, “Freshman 15”, may as well be a curse word to college-goers. If it happens, which it might, it is not the end of the world. What matters is that you are enjoying your time in college, while being healthy, both mentally and physically. So go eat that cup of ice-cream from Marble Slab with your friends if it makes you happy. You deserve it.
7. Learn and stick to a schedule
This may be the first time in your life that you are 100 percent responsible for your entire life. Find a routine or schedule that works for you, and it makes school and social-life balance so much easier. From experience, when I made a schedule, I saw improved grades and a better social-life.
8. Plan ahead
This one goes along with #6. Again, you are fully responsible for your schedule in college. This can be tricky for a lot of folks, so it’s better to figure out a game plan to make your experience as easy as possible. I always like to write out my assignments for the entire month. That way, I can see what I have to do several days/weeks in advance.
9. Almost everyone changes their major
At 18, very few people know what they really want to pursue as a career. Changing majors is more common than you think. I changed mine twice! The important thing is to find something you love and are passionate about.
10. Go. To. Office. Hours.
For those of you that do not know, office hours are times when you can meet with your professors outside of the classroom. Here, they can help you on a subject you’re stuck on or may be confused with. Office hours are great to build relationships with your professors and really understand what you are being taught. Use them!
11. Take professors, don’t take classes
Let me break this down: several different professors may teach the same class. If you are wanting to take a class, research the professors and find one that best fits your learning style. At the end of the day, it could really influence how you perform in the class.
12. Call you family…no, really
College is an amazing time to find your independence, but there is no doubt that your family wants to hear about your time at college, bad or good… call your folks!
13. Go to at least one football or athletic game in your college career
I know, I know. But come on, a huge part of college is the school spirit, which is evident at athletic events! I tried to go to at least one of every athletic team’s events. It made me feel more pride and love for UW Madison to see these talented students do what they love.
14. Don’t wait in the Starbucks line in between two classes
Any student at UW Madison will tell you this: those lines get LONG. Waiting for a grande caramel macchiato when you have 15 minutes until class will leave you stressed out. I’ve seen my fair share of students hastily running to class with Starbucks drinks in their hands.
15. Learn how to parallel park
This is not a must, especially if you do not plan to bring your car to school. However, areas around often require parallel parking, so if you plan on eating or visiting somewhere off campus, it may be a skill worth knowing.
16. Take that random class that you think is interesting
UW Madison offers a huge variety of interesting classes for students to take. If you see a class that interests you, but it is not required for your major, still take it! How many chances are you going to get to do something like that again?
17. Stay in touch with old friends
A big challenge in college is to make sure you are reaching out to friends that may have ended up elsewhere. Make sure to keep up with them! Luckily, UW Madison offers visitor tickets for students at football games, which is a perfect way to stay in touch.
18. Don’t let FOMO control you
Most won’t take this advice, and that’s a-okay, but hear me out. While it is important to have new experiences and be social, do not do something you don’t necessarily want to do just because you have fear of missing out.
19. Remember we’re all in the same boat
There’s something beautiful about knowing that you, along with 27,000 of your closest pals, are all going through the college struggles together. It makes it…almost… funny.
20. Buy an umbrella
You’ll most likely be doing a good bit of walking, so having an umbrella can help immensely when it rains.
21. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
There is no doubt that college is hard. That’s why UW Madison has a variety of options for students to reach out if needed. Whether it is on-campus therapy, student health services, or just reaching out to a friend, doing so will make you feel better in the long haul.
22. Take as many pictures as possible
There is nothing better than seeing a memory of my experience at UW Madison pop up on my social media pages. There is no such thing as too many pictures; take them any time you want to capture a moment.
23. Four years goes by faster than you think
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again. But it’s true. I’m telling you this as a senior who will have a degree in a matter of weeks.