Welcome new Huskies, you made it to the University of Connecticut, and if you don’t know we call it UConn around here than how did you even get in? Now that you’re embarking on the next stage of your lives there are a few things, at least in my opinion, that you should consider as you enter college.
For most of you, this will be the first time you are able to vote in an election (yes I went immediately to politics; I write opinion articles sue me). College is a great place to immerse yourself in political conversations, whether you know exactly where you stand on every issue or you can’t tell gerrymandering from trickle-down economics. And even if you’re new to policy conversations it is difficult to understate the importance of this election. The direction of Connecticut will be determined this November, as the position of governor, attorney general, treasurer, and more are open. Control of the State House and Senate are also up for grabs, and all of this is incredibly relevant because the future of UConn is tied up in the state government.
The state government controls a large portion of UConn’s funding, which in turn greatly affects the lives of students. Tuition rates, housing costs, and many of the resources available to students can fluctuate based on this funding. The university has lost a great deal of funding from the state over the past few years, and as a result costs have risen for most students. While it is important to study a variety of proposed policies, it will be imperative for us as students to elect and support legislators who will support us and to do our best to convince those who would balance parts of the budget on our backs to act otherwise. Youth participation in elections is historically low, and we need to start bucking that trend if we want action on the issues we care about most.
Equally important as developing your view of the world is maximizing the experiences you get at college. There are so many things to do at UConn, including hundreds of clubs whose content ranges from athletics to spirituality to academics. Basketball games are a must see, and a good time can usually be had at a football game. There are also friends and relationships to be made, parties to enjoy, and a beautiful campus to appreciate (at least the parts not occupied by construction). Don’t be afraid to partake in an adventure, you may just find you enjoy something you didn’t think you would.
Another word of advice is that whether or not you are committed to a field of study keep in mind that is perfectly reasonable to change your mind. You may think you want to spend your education in engineering, but if you take a couple of accounting classes and really enjoy them then don’t discount switching majors. It’s important to try and find a field that you are passionate about or can at least tolerate; don’t trap yourself doing something you may hate. College is part of preparing you for the rest of your life, and if you despise the preparation you’re not going to enjoy the main event. The faster you can figure out what the best career to pursue the better; you do want to avoid switching multiple times over the years.
Finally, don’t forget to have fun! The primary point of college is to get an education, but you should always make sure to leave time for shenanigans. You’re only young once, and all the things that are available to students here allow plenty of opportunities to let loose. And nothing is more fun than reading the Daily Campus, which you should do every weekday morning. Ok maybe one or two things are more fun. Anyways, just go out there and make the most of college! And welcome to UConn!
Jacob Kowalski is opinion editor for The Daily Campus opinion section. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.