Saying goodbye to friends and family is always a hard thing, especially when you’re about to attend a university far from home. “It’s sad to see them go, but you have to move on,” freshman Katherine Wei said. Like many other freshmen, Wei is slowly adjusting to living on her own, meeting new people, preparing for her classes and getting acquainted with the UT campus. Often, out-of-town and international students become wary about their decision to attend a new university. Even before classes have begun, I have heard of students already leaving, afraid that their choice was a mistake.
Freshmen, you have nothing to fear. Although UT is a big place (and trust me, after walking from Jester Center to Ernest Cockrell Jr. Hall at eight in the morning, you’ll realize that if you haven’t already), it’s not hard to find a group of people you can relate to and possibly make great friendships with.
Meeting new friends is the best thing you can do to combat homesickness. “Meeting people helped out a lot,” Alaina Mendoza, College of Liberal Arts student, said. “I was so caught up in meeting new people and all the new experiences that come with college, that it took a while for me to get homesick.”
You have plenty of people to choose from. Along with your 8,000-plus class, UT caters to more than 48,000 other students. As you’ll soon learn, some of them have the same major as you, used to live in the same city as you and are more than willing to befriend you.
And the experiences! Do not even get me started on the experiences! From stumbling into Kerbey Lane looking to cure your nocturnal hunger, lying down for a brief (although it never turns out that way) nap in the “Six Pack” to staying up late for an exam that you put off studying for — before you know it, you’ll be sharing an assortment of stories with your friends back in high school, persuading them to become a part of the UT family.
Additionally, you’re in the live music capital of the world. If you have been needing a serious music fix, Austin is more than willing to assist. You may arrive by yourself, but after a few beer spills and shoves to the front of the stage, you’re sure to make some friends. Last year I attended a Fleet Foxes concert and by the end of the night, I had recited each and every line to their song “Blue Ridge Mountains” with more than 10 new friends. Sure, we sounded tone-deaf, but I cherished it anyway.
Maybe sports are more your thing. If that’s the case, you obviously came here for our notorious football games, phenomenal women’s volleyball team and the many intramural sports we offer. The Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, where all of our home football games take place, seats 100,119. That’s 100,118 potential friends/homesickness deterrents! If painting yourself orange and proudly putting your Hook em’ Horns high in the sky is your thing, this is where you need to be. “The student section is a great place to meet new people,” senior Samyuktha Rao said. “There was one game where some guy behind us photo-bombed our picture. We became friends shortly after.”
Lastly, why not introduce yourself to your classmates? You have to sit right next to and endure hour-long lectures with them anyway. Poke them or give them a nudge, and don’t be surprised if you end up becoming close friends with them by the end of the semester.
Take a deep breath, keep your head up and get ready. You’re going to experience some bumps along your journey, but you’re going to have some great moments too. Welcome to UT and remember: no matter what day, week, month or year, OU still sucks.
Printed on August 31, 2012 as: "Making frinds on the 40 Acres"