This is a dream… I always thought that I would be just another freshman commuter who would maybe go to community college then transfer (which was a smart choice to save money but that wasn’t an option). I had finished all my credits during dual credit in high school. Now it was time to choose what university. So being a Texas resident in Dallas, I knew I had a lot of options that all had its pros and cons but I decided that I wanted the school to represent me and the diversity in America
After much decision making, my best choice was UNT and the journey to get here was filled with a list and updating my wardrobe a bit. I pretended to be a perfectionist with a bulleted journal and creating a map of my college years but all of that crumbled away when I got here. If I knew then what I know now, even though I am only a freshman, I definitely would have been able to plan better or understand how I cannot plan everything.
1. There Will Always Be Another Event
I decided that I was going to fill my calendar to make up for the lost time in high school. Just like in Booksmart (great movie with an actual representation of Class of 2019!) the two main characters didn’t have the best wild high school experience the rest of their classmates did, which was the story of not only my life but also my entire class, since we were in a strict private school that prided itself on academic and athletic achievements. We learned how to be sneaky and have a good time right under their noses, but college meant no more hiding.
No more adult supervision. No more!
With that in mind, the first two weeks wore me out. I was a freshman who tried to put four years of partying into that first couple of weeks and went anywhere the good vibes would take me. When classes started to actually require work, I realized that this wasn’t working. One night, I was sitting with my roommate in the lobby of my dorm, exhausted. We both decided that we needed to reevaluate. No one can go to every event, no one cares if you go to every event, moderation is essential, and there will never not, not be an event going on, so it is okay to miss some.
2. People Are Always Awake
Pre-college me: I will be asleep by 11 PM every weekday and wake up at 8 am like everyone else. I will have a life and a normal sleep schedule.
Me now @ 3:46: The weather is probably nice out at this time, so I am going to sit in Clark Park because I will probably run into someone I know. And I do…
If you ever find yourself thinking that you are the only one awake, you are wrong. If you don’t think you’re going to be sleeping anytime soon, go downstairs to the dorm’s lobby to talk, watch TV, or study with others. Text on GroupMe and see if anyone wants to hang out because there are others probably thinking the same thing you are: that everyone else is asleep so Tiktok is my only friend. Pop some popcorn or make a cup of hot chocolate and go downstairs. In my experience, I have done Tarot card readings, watched American Horror Story, had my palms read, played card games, learned about other majors, or just talked all into the wee hours of the morning. Even if no one is in the lobby or outside, which is very unlikely, it is peaceful and you don’t have to worry about waking up your roommate.
P.S. always be safe.
3. Studying Actually Helps Make Friends
UNT is made up of almost 40,000 students. You are not the only struggling freshmen. There are three libraries. Tutors can be found for every subject. So while we may have been used to struggling with our studies in high school, there are a plethora of dependable systems. I used to separate studies with my social life but that’s not required. You can make friends in every situation, especially within study groups when you and the other large number of students are sharing similarities and struggles. And maybe you connect with that *one* person a little bit more than the rest. Talk to that person after, grab their Snapchat and maybe start a life long friendship.
4. There Is a Group For You, Don’t Settle With Bad Friends
I was worried because no one from my high school was going to UNT and I thought that every person I meant had to be my friend. By the first week, I had meant several people but wasn’t happy spending time with them. Weeks into my freshmen year, I noticed that I would be more negative when around certain people and happier around others. I had previously made it my mission to have a lot of friends because that is what I was used to in high school.
Things I wish someone told me:
It is okay to not like everyone. You don’t have to sacrifice being happy because others want to have a negative view of life. Always, always remember quality over quantity when it comes to friendship.
5. It’s Impossible To Go Home Every Weekend
Short, simple and sweet.
The weekend is something for yourself when you aren’t bombarded by obligations like classes and clubs.
So you might think that you are going to go back home every weekend to resume your old-life, but that is draining and can take its toll. It becomes a long-distance relationship with an entire town that will not last. It sucks to not see your dog every weekend, but you miss out on time spent there and the drive spent going home, all when you could be partying, studying in the library or getting a Scrappy’s milkshake. You are a freshman and this is the year to discover everything you can. I promise the laundry is just as fresh here and what you can get at home.
6. Resources Are Endless
We’re broke. We don’t always make the wisest decisions. We need support systems and all that good stuff. College is filled with fun events when you are in the mood for a good time. Before getting here, I thought that college was only there for me in the good and not in the bad but that is not the case.
Just today, I ran to class passing by tents being set up. Once class finished, I went out to see the Health and Wellness Center setting up everything from the flu shot and STD testing to free massages and food. They have health insurance for students, therapy, and more. UNT thrives off helping students and every freshman learns that during First Flight Week. Take advantage of what they have to offer and know that you never have to feel alone.
7. Living Without My Own Mode Of Transportation
Shows and movies always do me dirty when I plan my life according to what I see on there. So seeing fake freshmen students in fake college towns walking everywhere meant that a real person like me was going to be in a real college town, like Denton, and have the availability to walk to stores, restaurants, and entertainment. But of course, I didn’t know any better. I, thankfully, wasn’t the only one. Lots of freshmen left their cars at home because they didn’t want to pay a minimum of $300 to park so far away and never use them. So now, without the ability to walk to a coffee shop 3-miles away and have a car to get there, public transportation became our best friend. It is free and so convenient, especially when you download the app like your own personal Lyft that tracks everywhere the buses are.