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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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.


So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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Competition Isn’t Real, So Stop Worrying About What You Think Is Your 'Competition'

When you stop worrying about being better than "your competition," you will succeed.

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"What are your plans for after College?" is the one question every college student wishes they could never hear again. After hearing those seven short words, the body of the college student is flooded with waves of irritation, paranoia, and worry.

When you set all your triggered thoughts and anxieties aside and manage to hurl out an answer, you're probably told "That's nice, but how are you going to get a job? That field is so competitive." At this point, you are probably ready to excuse yourself from the conversation for a timely breakdown.

Throughout high school, conversations at family gatherings and holiday parties typically went through this vicious cycle.

A naive junior in high school who was quick to say his major was going to be Musical Theater in college was always infuriated by the response "You'll never find work. That field is so competitive."

After a while, I started to believe it and decided to look elsewhere for a career path. I considered nursing, to where I was told how competitive college nursing programs are, and how little students they accept. I figured I wouldn't stand a chance, so I kept looking.

I circled back to the theater and was reminded by everybody how rigorous the Musical Theater college audition process was, and how they only accept a handful of kids. Surely there were other students more capable than me, and I wasn't going to let the ridiculously annoying boastful comments of theater kids ruin my search for my path in life.

My Dad always reminds me how much money I could make pursuing business, but working a 9-5 desk job dealing with hot-headed businessmen being choked by the tightness of their neckties never appealed me.

I felt fatigued like I was being told that I need to pursue what other people want me to, instead of following my dreams.

At this time I was a senior in High School, and my CommonApp was filled with prospective schools that I might attend, but the "intended major" section part of each application wasn't filled.

The loud "you can't" and "you'll NEVER get work" boomed in my ear until I was convinced I couldn't follow my dreams of becoming an actor, so I caved and intended to pursue journalism. I was told by all my teachers I was a gifted writer, so I figured it would be worth a shot.

"You can always do theater on the side," is what I heard. Now in college pursuing journalism, a field I was told: "will be one I can actually get a job in," some professors tell me after graduation, I will be doing journalism "on the side" because of how "competitive" the field is.

All occupational fields are competitive, whether that be communications, business, nursing, etc. Here is one thing that I learned through this experience and many others…

You have no competition.

In the eyes of someone who is hiring for a job, they are going to pick whoever's work they feel best fits the position. This isn't the product of a cutthroat field, it's solely the product of your work fitting the part.

You can't mash two puzzle pieces together because you THINK it's what fits, whatever is meant for you will come to you. Your puzzle pieces will fit together naturally.

In the end, it will come together to form a beautiful picture.

As for me, I decided to tune out the comments about competitive fields. What used to consume me cannot phase me anymore.

I still intend to pursue my dreams of becoming a performer, and at every audition I will remind myself that it is not the field that is competitive, there is no competition. The performer sitting next to me at an open call is not my competition, but my inspiration to work hard to find the job that will best fit me.

In the words of Cinderella, "there is one thing, they can't order me to stop dreaming."

The reporter who grabs every single story shouldn't turn me into someone who viciously grabs every story they can to build their portfolio, it should make me look for stories I WANT to tell that will progress me as a writer. After all, I am still learning.

I learned that I shouldn't belittle other people that are deemed "my competition" to disorient them, giving me a better chance at getting a job. Kindness will be more rewarding than contributing to the vicious dog-eat-dog world.

"I'm not in competition with anyone except who I used to be, and everything I do now is just an evolved version of something I've done before" -Kali Uchis

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