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How to Survive Your Freshman Year

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High school has just come to an end, and you’re suddenly forced to move away from everything familiar to you.

For the past 18 years, your parents have been guiding you and making all the major decisions in your life, and suddenly you’re independent and have to make choices on your own. It’s funny because all throughout high school, you waited to get your freedom, but only when college starts, do you realize how scary it is to be the sole decision maker. When you make the right choice, you have yourself to thank. However, when things don’t go as planned, you don’t have anybody else to blame.

Freshman year can be very intimidating and exciting at the same time. It’s scary because everything is so new, but it’s really exciting because you get to do everything on your own terms. As an out-of-state student, I didn’t have any friends going to UT Dallas. Therefore, it was very difficult for me to make friends initially. Personally, I think joining an organization is the best way to meet people. UT Dallas offers a range of opportunities from sororities and fraternities, to academic organizations.

Healthcare Managements students doing something
Students explore their options to get involved at the org fair right before classes start

Further, joining a club is a great way to network professionally, and it is definitely a résumé booster.

Another great way to meet people is by going to events on campus. There is always something or other going on. This semester, I got to see Donna Meagle from the popular comedy TV show Parks and Recreation do stand up.

I also got to meet my favorite Viner and You Tuber Jus Reign. If you don’t know who he is, you should definitely go check out his Vine channel, he’s HILARIOUS!

Me with You Tuber and Viner, Jus Reign!

Another piece of advice to surviving freshman year would be to not give in to the freshman 15 (or more like freshman 35)!

It is a VERY real thing. Your first semester in college can be very scary, especially when finals roll around. Stress eating is a huge contributor to the freshman 15. The best way to avoid this is by starting to prepare for finals a couple weeks in advance. UTD’s Student Success Center offers Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) and Supplemental Instruction (SI) for most of the classes offered.

You can also form a separate study group with friends from your classes if that works better for you. The McDermott Library is open 24 hours five days a week, which is definitely an added bonus. During finals week, you will see students taking their blankets and pillows to the library in preparation to pulling all-nighters.

McDermott Library

One of the hardest challenges college students face is actually graduating in four years. Most public colleges have a whopping 19 percent of students who earn their bachelor’s degree in four years. This can be very scary, because time is money and students want to graduate from college debt-free.

However, you shouldn’t let the fear of graduating late force you to take more credit hours then you can handle, especially freshman year. At the end of the day, your GPA is a lot more important than how fast you finish school. You should also make sure you take classes that make sense for your major. For example business majors need to take 6 credit hours of science. If biology or chemistry isn’t your thing, don’t take them; you can always take something easier like an online Earthquakes and Volcanoes class.

Finally, don’t forget to have fun and go a little crazy! College is all about trying things you never normally would, so put yourself out of your comfort zone every once in a while. ☺

You’ll never get these years back, so you should make the most of it!

Disha Patil

Disha is a freshman majoring in Healthcare Management and minoring in Finance at the Naveen Jindal School of Management. She is the vice president of university relations for AIESEC Dallas, which is a business organization on campus. She also is a student worker in the Recruitment Office. Read more articles

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