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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 UCF chapter.

When I was a senior in high school, the one thing I looked forward to most was college. I had known I wanted to attend UCF ever since I visited my friend during my junior year of high school. I’m not entirely sure what it was about the school that made me fall in love with it, maybe it was the atmosphere or the school pride that everyone on campus had. Whatever it was, I knew it was where I wanted to be. I vividly remember when I received an email that an update had been posted on my student portal. When I saw the “Congratulations” email with the little black and yellow confetti, I was ecstatic. 

I find it very interesting how in a school of 70,000 people, every single student on campus has had a different experience for their freshman year. You can ask some students and they’ll tell you about how their freshman year was their favorite year of college. Others may say they hated their freshman year and that they may even have wished to have done things differently. I was very curious to see what the women of the class of 2027 had to say about their personal experiences, so I asked seven freshman girls at UCF to detail their freshman experience.

Lily Cancel, 18, Broadcast Journalism major with a political science minor

“I like it here in the sense that it’s a beautiful campus with lots of clubs, activities, and UCF-affiliated events to go to to keep myself busy, make friends, and network. However, I have some grievances with the financial aid department and the lack of support given to students regarding financial/family matters,” Cancel says. “I miss my friends and family at home, but I’m lucky enough to be able to visit them whenever I can. I love my roommates! I’ve worked multiple jobs near UCF, and it feels like a new life.”

Kenzie Walton, 18, Clinical Psychology major

“I’ve had a pretty fun time here! This is my first semester here and I’ve been having so much fun. My cousin and boyfriend also go here so we have game nights and days [where] we go out for food,” Walton says. “I love [being] here on campus and I’ve been enjoying it because I can just walk wherever I need to get and there’s lots to do around here. The one thing I don’t like is [that] I’ve been looking for a job, but there’s nowhere on campus hiring. They only take people with federal aid.”

Coralei Deriso, 18, Accounting major

“UCF is my home away from home. The first few weeks here were a little rough, I felt uncomfortable and lonely, and I couldn’t sleep at night. However, I started to find my place here,” Deriso says. “UCF has given me an even brighter future careerwise and has also helped me figure out who I am and what my likes and dislikes are. I have met so many new people here that I love. I’ve made friends in several classes, and friends at church and I even met my boyfriend here when I joined the flag football team. I’ve been to a lot of events on campus and joined Christian groups on campus, as well as the flag football team. Even though the population and class sizes and whatnot are huge here, you don’t feel small after you get into your routines and find your people.

Anushka Desai, 18, Legal studies major

“As a commuter student who lives with her mom, I originally thought college was going to be very lonely. However, I actually have a pretty decent social life. I’ve learned to put myself out there and talk to people, and joining clubs has helped me make friends,” Desai says. “In my classes, especially my core major classes, I just bit the bullet and chatted with the people around me, and eventually developed a pretty strong friend group/study group. We mainly study after class, but do fun activities from time to time”.

Rosanna Courtney, 20, is a Health Sciences major

“To start off, I love it here. I can’t see myself anywhere else, truly. When I was applying for schools, UCF was one of my top three options, but I really wanted to go out of state. I got into Purdue, where I had dreams of flying planes! I was so sure I was going there, but last minute I ended up in state and at UCF. Everything happened so fast before I knew it, I was here,” Courtney says.

“I came in as undecided because I had too many interests, so couldn’t just pick one! I love fashion and anything related to beauty, but I felt like my calling was in health care. We will see maybe one day I will get the opportunity to do both. I was late in [the] process for dorms since I wasn’t considering UCF and ended up in an apartment which I am loving. I love my freedom. I’m living with a senior and two juniors. They are the sweetest girls I couldn’t have asked for better roommates.”

“I have made so many friends here and still trying to keep in touch with those that I went to high school with. The first couple months here I was super homesick but now I’ve gotten used to it. I visit home at least once a month. I’m from St. Augustine so it’s not too far. It is funny because I was the one in my friend group who was the readiest to start this new adventure but was kind of having second thoughts when I was here for the first couple of months. We are all growing and adjusting to life as it is thrown our way.”

“I feel like I have learned and experienced so much in the past few months, but at the same time, I am still so new to this lifestyle. All I can say is that compared to high school, college is like a thousand times better. Even though it is a lot of work, it’s worth it and makes me appreciate the little things we take for granted. The library is like a second home for me. I’m there constantly with friends studying, chatting, and hanging out in general. If I have the time, I try to be involved with campus life. I am in a few clubs like CASA, HAPS, and Young Life. I love meeting new people. I would say I am pretty extroverted. I enjoy going to sports games. My favorite sport is basketball. At some point maybe next semester I’ll get a job, college life is expensive! I worked at Ulta back home and I am hoping to do something similar here at some point.”

Mary Connoly, 19, Biomedical Sciences major with a Political Science minor

“Overall, I really like [UCF]! The sense of community I have found here, especially through organizations such as Catholic Campus Ministry, the Burnett Honors College, and Omega Phi Alpha, has been unlike anything I experienced before coming here,” Connoly says. “I’m originally from New Hampshire, so I didn’t know anyone when I first came in. However, I was able to form valuable connections relatively quickly.”

An anonymous freshman, 18, psychology major

“[I am] genuinely so glad I came to UCF. I started my freshman year in the summer semester, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Leaving home and moving four hours away changed my perspective on so so so many things. Yes, summer was messy because everything was so new and the weather was terrible, but getting to know campus before it’s packed 24/7 was worth a lot,” an anonymous freshman says.

“Over the summer, my roommate and I did have issues with our suitemates, but we have the greatest relationship with our fall/spring roommates and it shocks a lot of people because most of our friends do not get along with their roommates at all.”

“Sometimes the amount of clubs and organizations feels very overwhelming but once you figure things out, it’s incredible to know how many different interests, careers, hobbies, sports, and more are supported by the community. I’m part of BRASA, the Brazilian organization, and it truly makes me feel [at] home. Having a space where you feel comfortable amidst a new environment, with a language that’s not your first one and with lots of new people, is so helpful.”

It is completely normal to have an unpleasant freshman-year experience. Even though some may have had the time of their lives in their first year of college, that does not mean everyone has. College students are all completely different people going in completely different directions with their lives. Everyone comes from different cultures, backgrounds, places, and religions, so do not feel discouraged if other people you know may have had a better first semester than you.

I personally had a terrible freshman-year experience at UCF. It was very hard because I was so excited to come to this school, so when I didn’t have the “perfect” freshman year, it really negatively affected me. I felt like I could not make any friends or find a job. I was lonely and struggling with getting adjusted to being so far from home and my family. However, I kept going to school-sponsored events where I could meet new people, and I continued to apply for jobs until I eventually got one my sophomore year. I made friends with a great group of girls who I love dearly and I would not trade for the world. While my freshman experience may have not been ideal, I love where I currently am in my sophomore year.

If you ever feel overwhelmed, just know that there are so many other students out there who are probably feeling the same way you are. Whether your freshman year was the best or the worst, just remember that college students are all young people just trying to make it through life. It is normal to go through ups and downs. To everyone who has had an amazing freshman year, that is great to hear! And to everyone who has not had the best freshman year, it does get better eventually. Look on the bright side and look forward to the future. You have four wonderful years to complete at this school. I know it can be daunting, especially since there is so much new information coming at you so quickly, but once you get into the groove of things, everything will fall into place. With that being said, Go Knights, and Charge On!

Roxana-Maria Caramaliu is a sophomore majoring in biomedical sciences with a minor in magazine journalism at the University of Central Florida. This is her first year as a writer with Her Campus UCF. She was born in Romania but grew up in Boca Raton, Florida. She loves going shopping, going to the gym and beach, finding new places to eat, and golfing. Her free time includes reading new books, learning to crotchet, or playing video games with her friends.