A Freshmen's Guide to the University of North Texas

As I’m nearing my graduation day, I’ve started reflecting on the last three years. If I’m being honest, I was terrified to come to college, and my freshmen year was rough. To potentially make things easier on future freshmen at UNT, here are twenty tips I wish I had known my first year of college. 

Don’t buy textbooks before class starts. Unless your teacher specifically emails you before the class starts, they probably will give you a week or so to order them, if you even need them. If possible, ask upperclassmen if they’ve taken the class, and if the textbook is worth the money. Bonus tip: always rent your books, never buy. And the first place you look should be Voertman's. Thank me later. 

Don’t spend all your flex during the first month of school. I know it seems like free food at the time, and that’s exciting, you’ll regret your fifteen Frappuccinos you had during Flight Week when its finals season and you need caffeine after an all-nighter in Willis. 

The friends you make during flight week might not be your forever friends. And that is okay. Everyone comes to college looking to make friends, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. But as the school year goes on, you’ll start to find people that will become your support system, so don’t be afraid of losing your “first friend.”

You don’t need to bring your whole closet. Unless you plan on wearing heels and dresses everyday, you don’t need to bring ten of each to campus. The exception is if you join a sorority, but even then each one is different. 

Don’t bring a car to campus unless you have to. Parking passes are a scam. (Sorry, UNT.) Freshmen are required to park by Apogee Stadium, so unless you are staying in Victory Hall, you’ll probably have to take a bus to your car. If you have a job off campus, or go home often, then by all means, bring it, but otherwise, you can probably save a few hundred of dollars. Plus, it’s annoying moving your car on game days. 

Living in a dorm sucks, but you can make the most of it. This is a fast way to make friends. Plus, if you live in one of the halls with a cafeteria, you never have to go very far for your next meal. (Maple might be all vegan, but is the best food on campus by far.) 

Getting extra help doesn’t make you dumb. Everybody is taking the same basics, and if math isn’t one of your strengths, go to a tutoring session. If you struggle with writing essays, go to the writing center. The only person that is in charge of your future is yourself, so get on it. 

Talk to your professors. Building a relationship with them is important, especially within your major. This is an important way to get recommendation letters, or even just a way to network within your future career field. 

Keep in touch with your advisor. Staying up to date on where you are in terms of graduating is important, even as a freshmen. If you don’t get guidance, you could end up taking classes you don’t need, which is time and money wasted. 

Go to class. No, seriously. I get it, once it becomes optional, it is a lot harder to convince yourself to go. That 8 a.m. might kick your butt every Tuesday and Thursday, but going could be the difference you need to pass the class. 

You don’t have to go out to have fun. I know that people assume that college has a lot of parties, and that is mostly true, but if that isn’t something you are into, there are plenty of ways to have fun in Denton, or just the DFW area in general. 

Register for classes ASAP. The faster you do it, the better your schedule will be. If you wait, you’ll get the classes nobody wants. Use the Visual Schedule Builder on MyUNT and Rate My Professor to your advantage. 

Use your resources. Whether this be academic resources like the writing center, the food pantry, or getting free business cards, your tuition covers more than you can even imagine. Be sure to check out all the ways you can get the most of your money. 

As soon as you decide your major isn’t for you, switch. Obviously you can’t change classes in the middle of the semester, but if you are in political science classes, and hate it, don’t take any the next semester. Either change your major, or take classes that could be applicable for a lot of different majors in order until you decide what your next move is. 

Join Her Campus! Okay, I’m totally biased on this one, but in all seriousness, join an organization that you are passionate about. Getting involved is important—it’s how you make friends, build your resume, and spend your free time. UNT has over 300 options, from the Student Government Association, to Greek life, to smaller, more niche options. 

Don’t join things just to add it to your resume. A lot of orgs require dues, so if you aren’t going to get your money’s worth, don’t join. Plus, unless you are actually involved, it really doesn’t help you. 

CHECK. YOUR. EMAIL. Some professors will communicate on Canvas only, but some will email you assignment changes, if class is cancelled, etc. I can’t tell you how many times I walked to my 8 a.m. Philosophy just to find out it was cancelled my first semester. 

Explore the city. I love Denton. There is so much to do and see, despite it being a rather small city. Visit Free Play Arcade, explore Rose’s Costume Shop, eat at LSA and Coney Island, walk around the square, Visit the Chairy Orchard… I promise you don’t have to be bored. 

Go to campus events. Again, these are all apart of your tuition. Whether it is a concert, laser tag, stuff-a-scrappy, etc., something is going on pretty much everyday in the Union. 

Have fun. Work hard, but also give yourself breaks. Your education is important, but your mental health is, too. Go to IHOP at 3 a.m., go to that house show, sit in Recycled for hours—whatever makes you happy.

 

College may seem scary, but one day you’ll wake up, and realize it all passed by way too quickly. Be sure to make every moment count. Go Mean Green!