To The High School Senior Who Just Got Accepted To The University Of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

To The High School Senior Who Just Got Accepted To The University Of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

A basic survival guide for new panthers.
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Congrats, you're gonna be a panther! Here are a couple of things you should know about UWM and some personal advice I can give you after surviving (so far) at UWM.

Don't think you're a small fish in a big sea

Milwaukee is a Division One school and has nearly 27,200 students attending the school. That's a lot of people. There are a lot of important people too, athletes, mathematician, vets, and so many more. While there are many students attending UWM, let's face it, you won't see them all and that's okay. You're not going to get lost and you're not going to be recognized by everyone you meet, but that's okay. You will meet many people inside and outside of your classes, don't expect everyone to be your friend but be friendly and who you are because classes are a great place to meet people. Milwaukee's class size varies too, there are smaller high school sized classes for entry level courses, this is a great time to show who you really are to your peers your age. Don't be afraid to speak up in big lectures too, this can help you get recognized by a professor who may never know your name. Outside of class, you will meet people too. The people that are meant to be in your college clique will find their way, regardless of how long it takes to find them.

Talk to your roommate and suitmates, especially in the beginning

If you chose to live in Sandburg Residence Hall, which is the biggest residence hall Milwaukee offers, you will be surrounded by people. Sure you don't get to pick your suitemates and may have selected a random roommate but that's okay. Don't be shy to getting to know your suitemates/ roommates on a more personal level. You will be living with these people and the last thing you want to do is feel uncomfortable around them. If everyone could have it the way I do, they would be happy living with four suitemates who all keep their door open within the suit. This is not a hard position to find yourself in, just introduce yourself to your suit manages on the first day and invite them to go eat with you or attend an event. It's hard to find friends right away but you don't have to try that hard when UWM provides four for you to start out with, why not keep them friends for the year?

Go and explore Milwaukee!


UWM has so much more to offer than just around the campus. For me, I truly decided to attend UWM mostly for its location. Milwaukee is a beautiful city filled with endless places to explore. Whether you're feeling a day at Bradford beach, or a shopping day in the Third Ward, Milwaukee truly has it all. And even when it gets cold in Milwaukee there are still things to do. Throw on a coat and head out to Colectivo Coffee to warm up, this is my favorite place to go around campus, not only to hang out but to study, too.

There will never be enough places to eat

Now, when I say this I am not referring to the Cafeteria food. Sure I get a little extra excited when it's "build your own mac and cheese" or grilled cheese day, but you can only eat enough cheese in Wisconsin every week. I can't even begin to name the number of yummy restaurants there are in Milwaukee, but I'll list some of my favorites: Café Hollander, Water Street Brewery, Water Buffalo, The Wicked Hopp and I mean I love a good Milwaukee Public Market run too when I want something fast. You also can't pass up Belair Cantina's on Tuesday's and Thursday's for $2 tacos. But don't be too tempted by all these places off campus because you will soon go broke like me, so spend your money wisely and remember that you will always have money on your meal plan! But a really really good tip from me to you is to always bring about $10 cash with you if you're going out at night because you never know how many times you'll find yourself at Sal's pizza past 12 a.m., and you will ALWAYS crave their pizza at that time, thank me later!

Don't be scared to share your school spirit

The first week of classes will pass and you will soon get tired of trying to impress the people in your classes and you're gonna wanna wear t-shits and sweatshirts for the rest of your time at college. My personal favorite to wear is my Milwaukee crew neck, I mean seriously, god bless for having Monday/Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday classes with different people, because then no one can see me wearing it two days in a row. You're gonna find yourself in the Panther shop a lot checking in on all the new Panther gear. The best way to wear this gear is at the games. UWM has Division One sports teams so they need all the cheering they can. Sure, the spirit and the games are nothing like Madison, and we may not have a football team, but that shouldn’t rear you shy to supporting the other sports teams.

Nothing can prepare you for the cold

(FYI you won't be smiling like this while walking to class)

Okay, nothing can actually make you understand how cold it gets to walk around campus in the winter, but I can tell you to layer up, literally! A walk in the opposite direction of the wind can lead you to frozen tears and chattering teeth. And right when you think the cold will come to an end, approaching Sandburg's door in the cold will hit you even more. This is actually a thing called the Sandburg "wind tunnel" no one knows why but for some reason the wind jumbles up and hits you with a cold front so be prepared with that information and just remember when you feel like dropping out, the winter only last about four months.

When people say “you can get anywhere on campus in 10 minutes,” they really mean it

As a recent high school graduate, I decided to schedule my college classes back to back with only 10-15 minute breaks in between, I had later realized that not all of my classes are in the same building which required some walking. Immediately I panicked because there was no turning back when it came to changing my schedule, however, when I brought up these concerns everyone kinda laughed at me and told me the same thing, “You can get anywhere on campus within ten minutes walking.” From The North West Quad to the Engineering, Math, and Science buildings (Which is a really far walk) but anything is possible on this campus if you just believe. And if worst comes to worst, talk to your professors and tell them you have class on the other side of campus and they will understand, truly the campus is not as big as it seems so don’t you worry freshman.

Take advantage of the Dorm life, even though it sucks

Most colleges require freshman and sophomores to live in the dorms for the first two years, some even require you to live in the dorms for all four years, at UWM this is not the case. Although the dorms are such a “luxury” to live in, most students find a house or apartment to live in the next couple of years, but with this comes paying monthly bills, buying and cooking food and so much more, it’s practically adulting at nineteen years old. Personally, I want to move out of the dorm life ASAP, but I might actually miss it. It’s so simple to say, “Im hungry” and five minutes later have a fully cooked meal in front of you. I can complain about the food quality, let’s be honest, it’s bad, but I can’t complain because I am lazy and know i’m not gonna always want to cook. Sandburg Residence Hall is also so close to everything on campus, that thing I said earlier about walking in the cold, it get’s worse when you move off campus so take advantage of your luxuries because the next couple of years you’ll be on your own and have to vend for yourself.

Make the most out of your college years



I can speak for all college kids with this one, you’re a high school graduate and you’re finally on your own. This is your chance to make the decisions for yourself and to start your life on your own. You get to do what you want with little guidance or discrimination so make the right choices. You don’t always have to go the easy way out of do what you think others might think is best for you, do what you want to do because after all, this is your life. I can admit, since college I have done things I never thought I would do - and I mean that in all the best ways. I went out of my comfort zone and talked to new people, made friends that aren’t like my high school friends, and got involved in groups I never thought I would. Finding yourself is truely what college is all about, and having a little or a lot of fun along the way is totally okay!

Cover Image Credit: Sierra Gardner

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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The 7 Best Pieces Of Advice I Have Been Given About Life

Some of the best advice I have been given over the years...

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There isn't a central theme among these pieces of advice or sayings. They are all just random things I have been told over the course of my life–especially in the last week. I find these 7 to be particularly helpful in various situations, and try to keep them in mind when I am in over my head.

1. "Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself because there is nobody who is going to help you more than you."

You are the #1 person who can help your own case. No one knows you as you do, therefore no one will be able to help you more than you can help yourself. A lot of things are mental, so once you can convince yourself that you deserve something (whatever it may be) you can convince anyone. Another saying goes along with this, on the flip side: "No one can diminish you but yourself." You are in control of your own self-perception, and you are very much capable of being your own worst enemy.

2. "Stand behind your reputation because you can never get it back."

My mom sent this to me the other day. Be who you are, and do it proudly. Especially with meeting people for the first time, you can never have a second chance at a first impression. That being said, if people view you in a bad light, figure out why that is and fix it. You may not be able to change someones initial thoughts of you, but you can change the way they view you after that.

3. "The best things in life happen unexpectedly."

"Life is what happens when you're busy making plans," also goes along with this. Trying to plan out every little detail of your life is only going to lead to disappointment. Sometimes you find the best things/what you're looking for when you're not actually looking. Just go through the motions and things will work out the way they are supposed to.

4. "Be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how small."

It's important to celebrate the little things. Did you go to class today? Good for you. Did you decide to drink water instead of a soda? That's awesome. How are you going to work up to doing bigger and better things if you don't have anywhere to start?

5. "Whatever you're stressing about now probably won't matter in five years."

As someone who is often eaten away by their own worry and anxiety, this is a mantra that I try to constantly remind myself. While it may seem like a big deal now, you need to keep in mind the bigger picture. Will it matter in 5 hours? 5 days? 5 months? And so on. If the answer is no to ANY of these questions, it's probably not worth beating yourself up over.

6. "Stop being the 'go to' person for someone you can't go to."

Someone tweeted that their pastor said this to them and the tweet went viral. A friend of mine sent it to me, and it really made me think. Something I have struggled with over the years is making excuses for people who don't show up for me when I am constantly there for them. This is a helpful reminder that if they aren't contributing to you and your life, you shouldn't have to bend over backward to help them out and be in their lives.

7. "Two wrongs don't make a right."

While this is often a saying that parents use on their young children, it is applicable to pretty much any stage of life. My parents, especially my dad, have constantly said this, whether it was in reference to fighting with my siblings or dealing with people at school. Even as a 20-year-old, I find myself saying this when I hear about arguments and problems people are having. Everyone wants to get even, to best those who hurt them. While it's important to stick up for yourself, it is also important to be the bigger person and not stoop to their level (and whatever else your parents told you in these situations).

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