The time has finally come! You have waited four long, grueling years for this moment. It’s time for college! We’ve all heard the phrase that these next four years will be the best of your life. Well, I am here to tell you that that saying is definitely accurate. Before you start to experience these next four years at the University of Utah, here are some tips for University of Utah freshmen to make sure you start out on the right foot!
1. Go to University of Utah orientation!
OK, I know that orientation definitely isn’t the best way to spend a morning or afternoon. But instead of constantly looking for a reason to leave early, take in all orientation has to offer! Seriously, orientation is a great way to meet your counselors, get familiar with your campus, and you get to meet other incoming freshmen! Becoming familiar with campus is crucial to your success, and if you know the general lay of the land, your first day will be miles easier!
2. Organization is key.
So, you think you’re organized? Set some time aside before school starts and allow yourself to really get organized. Making sure important due dates are highlighted, and keeping your school work organized by subject is important to your success. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to forget when your midterm paper is due! Trust me, your professor doesn’t care if you “misplaced” your essay. Also, it is a good idea to make sure that your dorm room, apartment, or bedroom, has a method of organization. It’s easier to study when you aren’t overwhelmed by the clutter.
3. Become okay with your lack of privacy.
Alright, this tip is for all of you Utah freshmen calling a dorm your home over the next four years. Privacy is extremely hard to come by in a college dorm. More likely than not, you will have to share a bathroom with a “suite-mate.” That’s right. Sharing a bathroom with three other individuals. Say goodbye to your privacy! If the thought of sharing a bathroom horrifies you (and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t it horrify?) set a few ground rules with the rest of your suite mates. If the rules regarding time or cleanliness are followed, everyone will be much happier!
4. Purchase fun school supplies.
Class lectures can certainly get boring. One tip for every freshmen to make sure they keep focused and take killer notes is with fun school supplies. Purchase highlighters, pretty stationery, folders, and pretty pens. You’ll love taking notes if you look great doing it! Plus, this makes it easy to color code your notes based on date, relevance, and importance. Sometimes, you just need to be motivated!
5. Attend the cheesy welcome events University of Utah hosts.
More often than not, these events are super awkward middle-school dance type events. True, you probably won’t know anyone, and your roommate will likely be your party pal. But you may just meet your next really good group of friends. Even if you don’t, you’re likely to get free food! Lets face it, are you really in any position to pass up being fed for free?
6. Don’t over-pack!
If moving out of your parents house is going to be part of your college experience, it is important to remember not to over-pack. It’s so easy to make this mistake, because you feel like you are going to need to bring everything. The most commonly over-packed item is clothing. Many people forget how little space you have in your dorm to store clothing. If you are still staying somewhat close to home, consider running back a few times a year to update your wardrobe based on season. Incoming freshmen are also likely to receive an influx of school t-shirts and other apparel, so you can definitely leave any of your older gear at home!
7. GPA isn’t everything.
While it is important to study hard and to do your best, set realistic academic goals for yourself. College is a completely different experience than high school was, and you might find that it takes a bit more effort to maintain the same GPA you had in high school. Remember, at the end of the day, college is extremely tough, and it’s totally okay if you find yourself struggling. Check out the tutoring center, as they have tutors specializing in math, writing, science, and pretty much anything else. Tutoring is free to University of Utah students, so this is important to keep in mind if you find yourself struggling to find the properties of a parabola.
8. Try to avoid sleeping in.
Sorry to all of the Utah freshmen out there, this may not be exactly what you want to hear but it’s the truth. Never skip a class because you cannot motivate yourself to get out of bed. Unfortunately, many classes at the U of U take attendance very seriously, and attending class regularly could very well be a percentage of your final grade. Sleep is definitely important, so set aside an hour or two in the afternoon to take a nap. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive this makes you!
9. Public transportation is your friend.
The University of Utah is located in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City. If you have never been to Salt Lake, you will be absolutely amazed at how much there is to do downtown! If you don’t own a car, or maybe you just don’t feel like driving, take public transportation! U of U students get free fare on UTA Trax, Frontrunner, and buses. The best part? You can get virtually ANYWHERE in the Salt Lake valley, just scan your student ID! The University also has three bus routes to help students travel around campus. Schedules can be texted to your phone!
10. Find your ideal place to study.
This is especially crucial for the dreaded finals week! Sometime during the first week of school, check out the areas around campus and pick one that would be a great place for you to study. Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to study effectively in your dorm, so it is always good to have a backup plan. Check out the Marriott Library (this building is massive!), The Union, or any place on the Old Campus. Make sure your study area is in close proximity to a snack or drink station, study breaks are needed!
11. Experience a football game.
Even if you aren’t a football fanatic, all students at the University of Utah should experience a football game. The Runnin Utes are rated second in their division of the Pac 12, and play huge names in college football like USC, Oregon, and Stanford. Students get discounted ticket prices to certain games, and students can even join the MUSS (the Mighty Utah Student Section) for access to all of the Utes games played at home. Every Utah freshmen should take advantage of that! If nothing else, visit Rice Eccles Stadium purely for the historical value, the 2002 Olympic closing and opening ceremonies were held there. You’re certain to catch a glimpse of the famous Olympic rings somewhere in the stadium!
12. Meet with your academic adviser.
Even if you aren’t the least bit sure what you want to declare as your major, meet with an adviser anyway! It’s easy to underestimate how much help student advisers are. It is recommended that you meet with your designated adviser once a semester. These advisors will help you to add classes necessary to graduate, and can help you plan out your time spent at the U. Meeting with an adviser once a semester can help you graduate on time, or even early! Those interested in setting up an appointment can do so on the University of Utah website.
13. Stay healthy!
Coming down with a sickness is sure to keep you out of class, so it is crucial that you are staying active and healthy. It may be tempting to indulge in sweets and fast food, but keep your body in mind and go for healthier options instead! Eating vitamin rich foods can really make studying a lot easier, and will definitely keep you healthier come cold and flu season. Plus, eating healthier will keep you from gaining the dreaded “Freshman 15.”
14. Budget your money.
Test your budget making skills as a new college student. Really. It is so crucial to have a budget, and stick to it. Set aside money for fun activities, food, emergencies, and anything else. You’ll be amazed at how much creating a budget (and sticking to it) will help you to stay focused and less stressed.
15. Take chances!
Don’t avoid applying for that incredible internship because you fear you are under qualified. Even if you really are, you will learn so much from the registration and application process. In the end, you will never know what could have been if you didn’t just apply. The worst that could happen is that they say no!
16. Shop around for textbooks.
It may be tempting to go directly to the campus bookstore to purchase all of your textbooks. But this can get to be really expensive. Check out places like Chegg and Amazon. Both websites offer cheap textbook rentals! If you do decide to buy the books brand new from the school remember that these can be sold back to the school at the end of the semester. It’s a great way to have a little extra money before a new semester! Check out this website for discounted text books!
17. Know the unspoken rules.
These are a real thing, and it’s definitely in your best interest to learn a few of them! Remember that the seat you choose the first day of class will become your “assigned” seat all year long, so choose wisely! Humans are creatures of habit, after all!
18. Never use a laptop to take notes.
Really. You may look totally hip and tech savvy, but let’s be honest, it is impossible to take notes on a laptop without ending up at some other website! Plus, your professors definitely know about this trick. One of my professors had his TA sit with the class, and they took notice of those “taking notes” on their laptop.
19. Check out all of your resources.
The University of Utah has many great resources available to students. Aside from the great tutoring center mentioned above, the U has a health center, and a place where students can meet with a psychologist should it be necessary. Don’t forget to check out the library where students have access to a building full of great studying tools.
20. Keep a journal!
One final tip for Utah freshmen is to keep a memory log! This may seem like the absolute last thing you want to do after writing pages of research papers. But it is nice to look back and read over past memories and experiences. It’s so much fun to look back after graduation and see how you have grown.