Having almost three years to reflect on this question and a series of posts last year about life on campus as a Freshman, I feel like I can answer the “what do you wish you knew as an incoming Freshman?” question. And there is a lot I wish I had known. For me, college was the next step I knew I had to take in life but I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew movies were pretty much completely inaccurate and my parents hadn’t been in college since the mid-eighties or didn’t go at all. I had cousins a few years older than me in college but they all went to small, private universities which are very different than UNH. On top of not knowing truly what to expect as a Freshman, I had the extra challenge of being an out of state student coming from a small high school. The only other student from my graduating class to go to school in New Hampshire went to Dartmouth, so it seemed I was doomed to be that lost Freshmen starting from scratch. Take some advice from me and a few friends from the class of 2018. Here’s what we wish we knew as incoming Freshmen:
Being the oldest of two in my family and growing up in a two family house, I was used to having a roommate and sharing a space. I didn’t even have my own bedroom until I was thirteen, so the thought of sharing a room didn’t really bother me. What did bother me was sharing a room with a complete stranger. Yikes! The first thing I wish I knew was that there is nothing wrong with having a random roommate selected for you. I found my roommate through Tumblr and while it wasn’t a terrible match, we definitely struggled through the year. Part of that was due to a lack of communication, so first and foremost: Talk to each other! I cannot stress that enough. You find out your roommate assignment pretty early in the summer so Facebook them, email them, text! Start talking as soon as you can! And once you’re here, make sure to go over the Roommate Contract/Guidelines and know what you are both okay and not okay with! Here’s what Meghan, Sam, and Amanda from the classes of 2016 and 2018 had to say…
“Let your roommate know if you are going to have people over.” says Meghan van Hoose ’16. “A heads up text is always nice” is the repeated sentiment of Sam Booth ’18 and Amanda Morris ’18. When you are sharing a space, you want to let your roommate(s) know when you are going to have guests over, whether during the day or overnight. This goes for both friends and significant others. If you aren’t comfortable with your roommate having people over or have certain hours where you’d like to have the room closed off to guests, just talk to your roommate. Again, it is all in the Roommate Contract—it is your friend, so use it.
UNH has one of the best dining programs in the country and unlike a lot of schools, we have three dining halls to choose from! Each has their own specialty and are all equally good. The food isn’t the issue for incoming students, it’s the idea of possibly sitting alone. For many new students, the idea of not sitting with friends during every meal can be daunting. I know in my Freshman year, I would do to-go meals so that I didn’t have to sit by myself. The ideas of “everyone else is with friends” or “I’ll just seem lonely” or “I don’t want to take up a whole table just for me” definitely crossed my mind multiple times. I wish I had known or had realized that sitting alone is okay! Everyone else is doing it too! As a third year student, I honestly love days where I can sit alone and enjoy my meal without having to keep up a conversation at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, dinner with friends is always a blast, but sometimes you just need some time to yourself. Especially if you live with multiple people.
Seating arrangements aren’t the only thing that students wish they had known earlier.
“No trays!” says Christina Lemire ’18. You’re going to see this statement come up a lot among all current students. Trays aren’t really used, unless you’re an athlete with a lot of food. There is this unspoken rule throughout campus that you do not use a tray.
Get involved! Your dorm life doesn’t have to be restricted to your four walls! Get out and go to a social or join your
hall council. Make your residential life what you want it to be! I wish that I had had “GET INVOLVED” yelled at me more during my first year because I would have gotten more involved. Even if you don’t want to be a part of your hall council, try and make it to one social a week. They are usually a great way to meet other people who live in your dorm and to learn or create something new!
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Get Involved! Join a club or get a job on campus, work study or not. Do something that will make your campus experience better. If you happen to gain a skill or earn some extra spending money, that’s great too! Find something that you love to do and do it! UNH has over 200 student organizations on campus so there is something for everyone. Even if you don’t find the right club for you, make your own! It is simple and you can say that you started a new club and gained leadership experience! For me, I was in and out of clubs throughout my first year of college and didn’t fully get involved with campus until I started my work study at #UNHSocial. Now, I make myself get out and see more of what campus has to offer. Which is a lot!
Campus life is about more than just getting involved, it is also about how you get around campus as one member of the class of 2018 says.
“You don’t realize the magnitude of walking you have to do around here!” says Tori Lorvig ’18. She is most definitely right! Just in most students’ daily walks to and from classes, their dorm, and the dining halls, you easily can walk over a mile or two a day. Not to mention all of the stairs and walk ways around campus! Note: a good pair of walking shoes or sneakers should always be brought with you to campus!