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What I Wish I Knew Before Coming To UT Austin

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Texas chapter.

Lately, I’ve been feeling reflective. I’m just one final away from finishing my first year at the University of Texas at Austin! That said, it’s weird when I think about how much my life has changed this past year. I experienced changes in almost every aspect of my life: where I lived, where I ate, how I showered, what classes I took, and who I saw on a daily basis to name a few. Going into college, I didn’t really know what to expect. I hadn’t even had a proper tour of UT before I became a student. When I think back to how I felt last August, it would have been helpful to get an idea of what UT is like and what to expect before going into my first year. With this article, I hope that I can be that friend who helps calm your nerves while preparing you for the exciting experience ahead.

Be Prepared to Walk

I was not prepared for the amount of walking I’ve done this year. I lived near South Campus but most of my classes were in North Campus so I had to walk about 20 minutes every day to school. For some people, this isn’t a problem but I don’t enjoy getting sweaty before lectures. My advice? Look for shortcuts, wear comfortable shoes, and plan your outfits accordingly.

Plan for the Weather

This year alone, I’ve seen super hot temperatures, humidity, random rainstorms, and even a snowstorm! Because Texas weather is so crazy, I advise being prepared for all types of weather. I would strongly recommend bringing an umbrella, winter coat, sunscreen, and lightweight clothing. UT is warm most of the time, but it’s good to be ready for anything.

Understand your dining Options

If you live on campus, you can eat at any of the three dining halls with your meal plan: Jester City Limits, J2, and Kins Dining. I prefer to eat at Kins, but JCL is a close second. Also, if you have the resident meal plan, you have access to $100 in Bevo Bucks and $200 in Dine-in Dollars which can be used at campus coffee shops, cafes, and even some places off campus. I spent a lot of my Bevo Bucks at the smoothie shop, Shake Smart but also used Dine-in Dollars at the coffee shops like Cypress Bend Cafe.

Be Aware of your Surroundings

UT Austin is a very different environment than my small suburban hometown. UT is so unique because it’s a school in the middle of a bustling city and not solely just a college town. Be careful when going off-campus and always have a safety plan. I personally don’t like to go off campus or even on the drag when it’s dark out. If I’m off campus after dark, I always make sure that I’m with other people or have a ride home.

Communicate with your Roommate

If you have a roommate, communication is key! While I was friends with my roommate before college, there were things that I didn’t know about her until we started living together. Talk to your roommate about general rules, pet peeves, and having people over. It’s all about respect and learning what works for the two of you.

Don’t feel nervous about being alone

I’m not suggesting you walk by yourself at night but rather don’t feel self-conscious about eating by yourself. I had such bad social anxiety when school started that I could barely eat in the dining hall alone. Now, I go to the WCP to study by myself all the time and don’t bat an eye at eating by myself. It takes time, but that self-consciousness will get better. Plus, many people on campus spend at least some portion of their school day alone.

Pick Dorms wisely

If you’re looking to live on campus, keep in mind that each dorm is different. It all depends on what matters the most to you. Some people prefer big dorms close to campus amenities like Jester while others prefer the all-female community at Kinsolving. I recommend writing a list of the top 5 things you’re looking for in a dorm while searching for on-campus housing options.

I hope these tips help you feel more comfortable about being a Longhorn. If you’re about to start your freshman year, I wish you the best of luck and congrats on being a student at the best school in Texas. Hook ’em!

Sarah is a second-year journalism student at the University of Texas at Austin and serves as a Campus Correspondent for Her Campus at Texas. She loves fashion, beauty, and music and enjoys sharing these interests in her writing.