Wise guidance from one who has gone before

Students walk on Fairfield Way during the fall Involvement Fair on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. New and returning students were welcomed by over 500 clubs and organizations. (File Photo/The Daily Campus)

Students walk on Fairfield Way during the fall Involvement Fair on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. New and returning students were welcomed by over 500 clubs and organizations. (File Photo/The Daily Campus)

Congratulations all you young, bright-eyed freshmen! Welcome to UConn, the home of great basketball, cows and never-ending construction that will force you to explore alternative routes to all of your favorite destinations. It’s a seriously awesome place, and I’m here to tell you all the important stuff I wish some upperclassman had put in an opinion column two years ago.

First, let me go over the food at UConn. Most of you have meal plans with flex passes, and are vaguely aware of the fact you can use it to swipe in people who do not have meal plans into the dining hall. The best part of the flex pass, however, is the ability to get Grab ‘n’ Go from various locations on campus (South, Northwest, Putnam and Towers). They’re only open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., but the combination of a wrap, dessert and soft drink always makes a solid meal when the dining hall just doesn’t do it for you. The chicken wraps at South are especially good.

Additionally, make sure that you explore the wonders of the Union Marketplace as soon as you get a chance. If you have a meal plan with points, this is the location where you will spend the lion’s share of them. The Union has solid pizza, salad, and wings, as well as bacon mac and cheese that is to get arrested for. I didn’t try their bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwiches until the second half of my sophomore year, and they were excellent. Make sure you check out what the Union has to offer, and you just may discover your new favorite meal at UConn.

It is imperative that you go to the involvement fair when it comes around. Even if you are a bit shy or antisocial, there are hundreds of clubs having to do with politics, the environment, academics, video games, and everything in between. Clubs and organizations are a great way to meet people, especially those who have common interests with you, and provide an outlet for making a difference in the UConn community. There are a lot of great events that groups on campus host, and even if you aren’t part of the host group you should definitely keep an eye out for them.

While clubs host great events, there are many others hosted by organizations like SUBOG and Jorgensen that you don’t want to miss. SUBOG regularly hosts comedy shows at the Student Union Theatre, sometimes with student groups, and they’re always a treat to attend. There are great shows at Jorgenson as well, just last year Trevor Noah and Bob Saget both performed there. It would behoove you to find out about these events as soon as possible, especially if you want good seats. Try and find a Jorgenson catalog as soon as possible to buy tickets for the events that interest you.

The most important thing to remember is that you are at this college to grow as a person through your experiences. Part of that includes actual schoolwork of course, and you shouldn’t slack from that. But just as important are the experiences that have nothing to do with lectures or homework or studying. These are the experiences that will stick with you for the rest of your life. Going to a basketball game, attending a performance on campus with friends, protesting on Fairfield Way; you’re not going to have anywhere near as many chances to engage in these activities when you leave this place.

Never fail to take advantage of the opportunities that come hand in hand with being at UConn. My goal is to look back after my senior year and reflect on all the great memories I made with minimal regrets regarding things I didn’t do. It may be cliché, but your top priority should be to live life to the fullest.


Jacob Kowalski is a weekly columnist to The Daily Campus opinion section. He can be reached via email at jacob.kowalski@uconn.edu.