Words of wisdom from current Huskies to new Huskies

The student section of Gampel Pavilion is an electric and wild experience that all students should experience. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

As the University of Connecticut campus becomes repopulated by the incoming freshman class, several seasoned Huskies shared their advice for the new students.

Leanne Clark, a third-semester speech, language and hearing sciences major, said one of her favorite experiences from freshman year was attending one of the renowned UConn women’s basketball games.

“There’s such a sense of pride in our school at those games and the sense of awe at some of the best plays in the game is tangible,” Clark said, “Don’t feel like you have to be the super hardcore fans at the front of the student section.”

Clark also advised freshmen who aren’t fortunate enough to be living in NextGen Hall or other air-conditioned housing options, to bring “many, many” fans.

Shandara Smith, a third-semester Accounting major, said that freshmen should form study groups and go to their professor’s office hours starting early in the year.

“Go to tutoring and make study groups from the very beginning of classes, even if (you) think (you’ll) do well; that way (you) don’t find (yourself) doing this at the end of the year in an attempt to revive (your) grades,” Smith said.

Caitlin Webb, a class of 2017 graduate with a degree in psychological science, shared that her favorite spots to study on campus were empty classrooms.

“They are quiet; you can use the whiteboard and you can be removed from distractions, compared to the sardine can that is the (Homer Babbage) Library,” Webb said.

Webb urged freshmen to find the most effective study spot and strategies for themselves early in the semester.

“Find the best way to study ASAP,” Webb said, “Use the Academic Achievement Center. They are there to help you learn how to study best and give you great resources so you can succeed.”

Inna Kagan, a third-semester allied health sciences major, said spending time with her professors helped her get a letter of recommendation for her study abroad trip.

“Make an effort to talk to your professors, whether it’s at office hours or after class. They’ll appreciate the interest and you might even get something out of it,” Kagan said.

Kimberly Cisco, a seventh-semester economics major, warned freshmen against overpacking.

“Try your absolute best not to overpack, otherwise there’s no way you’ll be able to keep your room neat and clutter free as the year starts,” Cisco said. “If you already overpacked, send things home; odds are you won’t need all those ‘just in case’ items. You’ll need your desk space a lot more.”

Clark said freshmen should allow themselves ample time to explore and find their way around campus before classes start.

“Give yourself a good half hour to get to class on your first day, or do a trial run of where your classes are going to be the day before classes actually start,” Clark said.

Emily Napear, a seventh-semester secondary math education major and resident assistant for Buckley Hall, said freshmen should make an effort to broaden their social circle during their first semester.

“Befriend the upperclassmen (and) try to make at least one friend in each class, especially if it’s in your major. You’ll most likely see them again,” Napear said. “Don’t be afraid to start a conversation. Even if you’re not in an all-freshman dorm, people are still friendly.”

“If you want to hang out with friends from home the first few weeks, try to invite other people to hang out with you all. It can be really easy to fall into the comfort of your old friends and miss out on making new ones,” Napear said.  

Napear said, in her experience as an RA, many students who have had problems with their roommates have been able to work them out independently, but RAs and other support systems are there for students who are having a difficult time.

“Feel free to reach out to RAs if things are too stressful or uncomfortable. Living with someone is hard and can be challenging, but it shouldn’t be impossible and overwhelming,” Napear said.

And one last piece of advice for the class of 2021: bring a bottle of superglue in your backpack, just in case your shoe breaks on your way to class.


Anna Zarra Aldrich is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at anna.aldrich@uconn.edu. She tweets @ZarraAnna.