Coming to a big school like UConn can be unsettling for freshmen. It can be overwhelming to live in a completely different environment from home that’s filled with opportunities and new people to meet. While making friends or getting used to the courses was probably at the top of the list of worries for some students, it wasn’t as scary anymore after their first week on campus.
A common worry amongst many freshmen is being able to make friends within the first few weeks of school, but meeting people and talking to them ends up being easier than expected. UConn is filled with opportunities to meet new people and make connections across campus.
“One thing that surprised me is the community...I feel a sense of community here that is super strong and I didn’t expect that,” Grace McFadden, a digital producer at The Daily Campus and a first-semester computer science and english major, said, “I was scared that I wasn’t going to find people to talk to and then I did.”
UConn’s class sizes can vary from as small as five people in a classroom to as big as more than 300 people in one lecture hall. Everyone has their own learning style, but the lecture-style classroom setting can be beneficial to some students over others.
“I find that I’ve always been happier in a setting where I can just observe and listen to what my professor is saying rather than be in small groups working together on every assignment,” Clara Gomes-Ferres, a first-semester English and English education major, said.
At first, it may seem easy to get lost around campus or in the large lecture halls, but freshmen have realized quickly that navigating campus isn’t all that difficult.
“I was expecting to be more overwhelmed about...finding my classes, but people are so helpful and open here that it wasn’t uncomfortable,” Gomes-Ferres said.
After the first week of classes, freshmen seem to enjoy the academic structure of college. Unlike high-school, McFadden said, “It’s nice to not be sitting in a classroom for the entire day and have the same classes every day.” Aside from the academics, freshmen enjoy this newfound sense of freedom where they can eat at any time they want, go out with friends without having a curfew and freely choose their own classes.
“You have to have more agency in what you’re doing. But it’s also nice because you get more freedom in the decisions you make with your classes so a lot more of the responsibility is on you,” McFadden said. “In high school, there are some classes you might feel more condescended into but in college you feel more trusted. You feel like you’re not being babysat all the time.”
There’s plenty of opportunities for freshmen to get involved on campus and they’re already eager to join various clubs and organizations. The freshmen that were interviewed showed interest in clubs such as WHUS Radio, The Daily Campus and UCFilm.
Although it’s normal for freshmen to miss home, it’s clear that they are more than ready for the upcoming school year and are optimistic about what’s to come.
“I love and miss my family of course, but I find that it is good being exposed to such a different lifestyle. It’s good to be forced out of the house and to get out of my comfort zone,” Gomes-Ferres said.
Brandon Barzola is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.