Top 10 Things You Missed About UCONN

By: Jennifer Birchwale

Welcome back, collegiates! It’s time for another beautiful semester here at UConn (before the cold sets in and the wind turns frigid). As we begin to settle back into the rhythm of balancing academics, friends, and every organization known to man (is there such a thing as being too involved?), you may be remembering the carefree days of studying abroad. Where you practically slept through class, and spent the rest of your days exploring the streets and picking up the local “culture.” But before you buy your flight back, let’s remember why we love UConn so much.

 

1. Friends

We all have our study abroad friends, those people you barely knew before the program began, but ended up trusting with your life every time you boarded a Ryanair flight or experimented with foreign alcohol (that is not water)! Hitting up the bar totally became a weekly, or a nightly, ritual. When the drinking age is practically 12, it’s hard not to take advantage of the party hard atmosphere.

 

But let’s be honest, our UConn girls have truly been missing our missing puzzle pieces. Whether they’re your sisters, your roommates, or part of your team, it’s been a long 5 months. 

2. A Meal Plan

If you had an experience anything like mine, you didn’t have a meal plan. Or money. You pretty much lived off whatever you could scrounge up in your tiny kitchen, and some of those meals were certainly questionable…

 

But luckily, finding food is no longer a problem. If anything, it sometimes feels like there are too many options… (But not actually, because it’s food.)

 

3. Wings over Everything/DP Dough/etc..

So I’m a little preoccupied with food, but this is college, so who isn’t? And I’m sure I’m not the only one who desperately missed the joy of eating particularly good wings at 2am. Or, if you’re like me, having warm cookies delivered to your doorstep. So instead of trying to rinse the taste of alcohol out with more alcohol…

 

 

I am happy to be back to a campus that fully understands the needs of every late night collegiate, whether you were studying (because sadly, classes are no longer not a thing) or just having fun. No judgment, but I think we all probably looked a bit like Emma Stone when that delivery man called.

4. English

So this one depends on where you studied. But to be honest, is British English actually English? And if you studied in a completely foreign country, then the struggle to be understood was all too real. How many times I barely scraped by with an embarrassing mix of English and German, I’ll never know.

For me, hearing native English again was a magical moment. That moment when I felt comfortable rambling at 80 miles a minute, knowing the people around knew exactly what I was saying, it was perfect. Don’t get me wrong, learning a new language is quite an adventure, but it feels great to be back home.

5. The dollar

Maybe something you didn’t really appreciate until you went abroad (like me), but money is an actual issue. Most students pay out of pocket for about everything, ranging from housing (monthly rent anyone?) to buses (where’s blue line?) to even a gym membership (taking a sabbatical from that exercise regimen never was so easy). And if you’re like me (and pretty much everyone who’s left the country), exchange rates are not our friends. With the dollar still struggling along, that 1 euro became $1.50. And forget about the pound.

Thank you UConn for charging us a crazy amount of money, but also including pretty much everything in the fee. And let’s be honest, I’m exhausted from all the math. 27.38 euros is how many dollars? Wait, what?

 

6. HUSKIES

Clearly one of the worst parts about being abroad was missing the crazy games, the ultimate tail-gates, and let’s not forget the fact that we’re double champs! While cheering at football (soccer) matches can be blast (Casually counting how many seconds the announcer can scream GOAL for)… it’s got nothing on UConn. Because while the rest of the world hangs onto a score of 1-0 after 90+ minutes of football (soccer) games

 

 

We’re cheering on the winners of 89 – 81 point wild rides in which the energy is pounding and everyone bleeds blue.

 

 

7. Our Pets, Heck, Even the Neighbor’s pet

If you have a pet (or a sibling), you understand just how heart-wrenching it was to leave them for practically half the year. Not being able to get home for break and be practically attacked by a furry mammal can put a damper on any trip. And even though we comfort ourselves with photos, videos our parents send us, (and maybe even a little video chatting),

Nothing is quite the same as that perfect reunion.

And the relaxing aftermath. Well, guess I can’t go unpack… the dog clearly needs his sleep.

8. Our Family

Slightly behind our pets are our parents, siblings, cousins, really anyone who shares some genetic data with us. Don’t get me wrong, studying abroad was a fabulous way to feel like an adult, with all the perks and rocky roads. We were in charge of (almost) everything, and wow, does independence feel so cool. 

 

                                                                                                                     (Basically all Beyonce.)

 

But at the end of the day, bills are hard, and I know I’m trying to milk as much financial freedom as I possibly can before actually becoming a full time worker. And just between us, I kind of missed my mom’s declarations that I should always bring a sweater, and my dad’s horrible puns. I missed the barrage of talk show radio, punctuated with my mom trying to sing all the “pop hits.” They’re dorky, but ours.

 

9. All the Activities

As you’ve probably already guessed, I’m a big fan of being involved. And one of the things I missed most about UConn was the amount of things to do. Outside of the International office, there really weren’t too many things to do. And eventually, we all get bored of taking the same tour with the same people. ..

 

 

But thankfully, UConn doesn’t have that issue… what would we tour anyway? Aside from the barrage of DailyDigests (which let me know where people are handing out the free stuff), UConn’s got clubs practically round the clock. Step dancing? Check. Lacrosse? Check. Chess club? Check.

 

 

10. The 21st century (i.e. cell phones and the internet)

 

Something I know I sometimes take for granted (even in cow country) is the accessibility of the internet and a pretty fabulous cell phone signal. Being able to look up menus, class schedules, grades, and check yik yak felt like a way of life, and then I went abroad. And the internet became a myth, located only at sketchy internet cafes where the signal moves so so slow. And no doubt, you’re paying by the minute.

At least we have the fairly reliable UConn secure, which (even though not perfect) at least doesn’t require hanging around “local” establishments, waiting for the sweaty man to leave. And hey! No more pay by the second, limited data phone cards to try and figure out.

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So yes, while I know we probably all are still ready to hop back on that plane, I hope this has given you an appreciation of some of the things that make UConn unique and perfect.