By Chelsey Omoerah
My experience at UGA so far has been a ride to say the least; trying to make the most of it while finding my place in the student body. It’s been daunting coming into such a large school with no real idea of what I want to do.
Being nervous is normal, but looking back, there are quite a few things I wish someone would have warned me about before I found myself starting the school year…
- I wish someone would have told me not to spend so much time with my roommate in the beginning as there’s plenty of time for that later
My roommate and I have been friends since middle school, and somehow our friendship has managed to survive the possibility that we would hate each other by this time of the year. It’s been nice living with someone I know and trust, but I now realize that I heavily relied on the familiarity of her friendship in the beginning of the year. As a result, I missed some cool events out of fear of going without a friend, but in reality, its easiest to make the best friends doing the things you really want to do.
- I wish someone would have told me to join a smaller, more interest based organization even thought the largest ones are tempting.
One of the first things that I did after settling in on campus was go to the extracurricular activities fair in Tate. Everyone tells you to get out and join something, so I planned to do just that. I only wanted to join one organization in my first semester while I got used to my new surroundings. There were so many options, and after a good amount of consideration, I wound up deciding on UGA Miracle.
The cause was great and the coordinators of the program were so kind. There are hundreds of people in this philanthropy making it the largest on campus. This is where I went wrong. It is difficult to connect to anyone when you see hundreds of members every meeting. Although I met some lovely individuals, I made the mistake of not getting phone numbers and making connections.
- I wish I would have known to follow my instincts when making my class schedule instead of taking my advisor’s suggestions as final say.
Every student has to have an official advisement appointment before registering for classes. The academic advisor’s job is to help students take the necessary classes to ensure that they graduate on time. Coming in, I put so much trust in my advisor to the point where I did not want to disagree with her because I feared making a decision that would screw me up later. Think about how many other students the advisors meet with. They may know what you need to graduate, but they don’t always know what’s best for you. I now know to follow my gut while keeping her advice in mind when choosing my classes.
- I wish someone would have told me that now is the time to have the most fun before more obligations arise in the future.
This next tip you’ll have to take with caution. For college students, our number one job is school. A lot of us don’t have bills to pay or children to feed, so its important to take advantage of the amount of time we have now because as the years go on, we’ll have more responsibilities. Take every opportunity you can (even on a Monday night) to make some memories. Fun isn’t reserved for the weekends. But save some time to study for that test, too.
- I wish someone would have told me that student run publications can offer some of the best overviews of what’s happening on campus.
This campus is big. Dawgs are rolling 30,000+ students deep. This is good and bad because there is always something going on, but how can you know about all of it? Yeah, social media can offer some updates, but chances are your social media accounts are limited to your greatest interest. This is where student run publications can can come in handy. Make sure you read your school’s newspapers, magazines, or online publications—like this one—whenever you get chance. Its easy to get trapped in the happenings of your own little group of friends, so be sure to poke your head out every now and then.
Now a year later, I definitely feel a year wiser. I am a few weeks away from finishing up my freshman year of college and the time could not have gone by any faster. For now, I still haven’t found my definite place on campus, but at least I’ve learned a few things to take with me into the next year.
There’s a lot that I wish someone would have told me before coming to UGA, and hopefully someone will find a bit of guidance from my experiences so far.