20 Things I Learned My First Semester At UCF

Congratulations everyone! You made it through the fall semester. I am a freshman, finishing my first semester at UCF. Over the past couple months, I’ve learned a lot about myself and my school. Here are some tips for the new knights, or even the old ones who want some quick pointers.

  1. Spirit Splash is no joke. Getting a duck is harder than getting up your GPA after bombing a semester on parties and getting blackout drunk every night.

  2. Schedule advising appointments ASAP. If you wait until right before enrollment appointment time, your advisor will be fully booked. If you need to figure out your classes, do it months in advance to avoid the havoc.

  3. $1 ice cream on Wednesdays will save you. Sometimes, you need a good pick me up on hump day. Toppers is great and will give you amazing soft serve for $1.07 (with tax.)

  4. Start meal planning, stop wasting money. I’m very guilty of going to Pollo Tropical anytime I didn’t want to cook because it’s right next to my dorm. However, if I made a bunch of one food at the beginning of the week, this wouldn’t be a problem and I would be able to just heat it up. Learn from my reckless spending.

  5. Call your mom. I promise she’s probably just as much, if not more, busy than you are right now. If she can find some time to talk to you, why is it so hard for you to do it?

  6. Create (and stick to) a schedule. This refers to a lot of things. Gym schedule, night schedule, morning schedule, etc. Just get into a routine and it will just make life easier.

  7. Go to class, even if you feel you don’t need to. You’ll probably end up missing the most important lecture of the entire semester and regret it when the final comes along.

  8. Don’t spend your refund all at once. I have friends that ended up struggling to get by after the first month of college because they blew all their money. Don’t be like my friends.

  9. Get involved on campus. Joining clubs really does help, although it sounds cliche. You’ll make new friends and it’ll probably take you out of your comfort zone, too.

  10. The world knows when you have extra money. Almost all of my favorite artists are going on tour in the next year (Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, Jake Miller, Niall Horan, etc.). I have a feeling they all knew that this was the first time in a long time that I could actually afford to see them - now, I’m back to being broke.

  11. It’s okay to visit home, as long as it’s not all the time. Don’t go home every weekend and expect to love college. Sure, if you’re homesick, take a visit home. But, going every weekend isn’t going to help you grow.

  12. College is nothing like high school. You’re only in class for 3-6 hours a week per class. You have to study on your own. There’s not too many “fluff” grades. That means there's not as much busy work, but you have to study twice as hard. You'll get into the routine though, don't worry.

  13. Always accept free food. I was walking to a show one night and this girl offered me and my friends an entire box of pizza. It was so sweet and the pizza was delicious, especially since we didn’t have to pay for it.

  14. Befriending roommates makes life easier (and more fun). Yes, you will argue with them sometimes. But, if you become friends with them, you’ll never have to worry about not having someone to hang out with on a Friday night.

  15. Math does not get easier. I took the easiest math class available assuming my smartness would just overtake me and I’d magically be good at math. Boy, was I wrong. I had to work just as hard, if not harder, in this basic math class than I did in my honors trig class in high school. That being said, all my other classes were easier than high school classes, so it depends on what your strong suits are. Just don’t expect your classes to magically be super easy.

  16. People change - friendships, too. One of my best friends from high school dropped me the second she went away to college. Another one of my high school friends has become my best friend in the span of a couple months. Don’t expect everything to stay the same - you’ll end up disappointed.

  17. Talk to the people in your classes - they can be really cool. Granted, I only followed this advice in my Social Problems class, but it resulted in me, my best friend, and 2 amazing people getting put in the same group for a project. Now we hang out every week.

  18. Take pictures - nothing lasts forever. I’ve always been one to take a million and a half pictures, even in high school. When I came to college, this continued in full force. Take pictures of your friends laughing at you, of the sky on a pretty morning, or your room when it’s nice and clean. It’ll be a good pick me up on your down days.

  19. Fast food can get sickening quickly. French fries are my favorite food in this whole world and after a month of having them 4 days a week, I couldn’t take it anymore. Take care of yourself and eat at least a little healthy.

  20. Some people are still going to act like you’re still in middle school. Shutting doors in your face, calling you stupid, and countless other incidents are unfortunately still possible in college.

Don’t worry - I was stressed about making friends, budgeting money, and a million other things before I came to college. We all figure it out in our own time. Remember college is all about making mistakes and learning from them. Good luck Knights and charge on!