Dipping A Paw In: A freshman’s take on starting at UConn

Students gather on Fairfield Way during the beginning of Fall semester. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

At 6:00 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 25, I was on my way to UConn to start a whole new chapter of my life. Quite honestly, I have never been this excited for anything and that was how I knew I was ready.

Once I arrived on campus, the feeling of starting something new really hit me. After my family and I unloaded the car, settled in and I climbed up the stairs to get to the fourth floor of Wade, the room started to fit my vision of a new home.

After grabbing a quick lunch and exchanging emotional goodbyes with my family, I was immersed in the WOW schedule. For someone who will go out of their way to get to know more people, all the events kept me in my element. Between the Community Meetings with my RA and the people on my floor as well as the first WOW meeting and convocation, I found myself surrounded by friendly faces. There was comfort in recognizing people I knew, like people from high school, orientation and beyond. There was excitement in seeing so many new people. Together, it created a welcoming and diverse group of students. I could feel myself begin to love the people around me and it had only been one day.

The next day, Saturday, was just as great. The actors in the InterACT performance, which had students intervene in a situation that would have led to rape, was engaging and educational. As a woman, it made me feel a lot more secure and safe to know that UConn encourages people to stand up and be strong in situations that can lead to sexual assault. As a student at UConn, it made me feel like there is always something I can do to help another person out. The empowerment I felt from that performance spoke volumes to me about the ethics at the university, which really gave me some peace of mind.

As the day went on, I continued to put myself out there and meet new people. I especially put this skill to work that night at the SUBOG block party. I danced with people I did and did not know, people that I met years ago and people I met a couple hours ago. There was an aura of high energy—I could feel it in myself and the people around me. Saturday night filled me with excitement because I was in a sea of people who seemed free spirited, energetic and enthusiastic. They seem like people who will pick me up when I am down and I cannot ask for more.

When Sunday morning came along, the fact that classes would start on Monday slapped me in the face. Luckily, I attended the Dean’s Meetings for CLAS which eased my mind and put many of my worries to rest. After hearing how easy it was to switch majors, pick minors and other seemingly daunting tasks, I felt more comfortable with how the rest of this semester and the rest of my college career will go. I carried through the rest of my day feeling a lot lighter than I did earlier. I ended Sunday with new friends and lots of laughs at the SUBOG comedy show. By the time I went to bed that night, I was ready to take on this first week of classes.

When I woke up Monday morning, I was thrilled for my day, which started with a General Biology Lecture at 9 a.m.. I was a little drained from such a packed and busy weekend but all feelings of exhaustion left my body when I walked into a huge lecture hall with what looked like a few hundred students. I started to feel myself get a little nervous because I have always been accustomed to small classes where I knew everyone. When the lecture started, however, I was greeted by a professor whose sense of humor made me feel a lot more comfortable. My inner biology nerd appreciated the scientific hilarity. The professor also encouraged us to think about biology more conceptually and I was excited to finally take on my education in a bigger picture. That message carried on throughout the day, into my General Chemistry discussion. My professor was extremely helpful and approachable, which made me feel like I can handle whatever obstacles may get in my way.

Just a few days ago, before WOW and my first day of class, I was excited, of course, but also a little nervous. I was not sure about how well I had prepared myself for what was coming ahead. After all the WOW events, which helped me meet new people and get a feel for life on campus and my first day of classes, which helped reignite my excitement to learn, I feel like I can take on anything and everything this semester has in store for me.


Armana Islam is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus and can be reached via email at armana.islam@uconn.edu.  She tweets @arrmanaa.