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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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Dear High School Me, I Am So Sorry For What I Put You Through

A letter that is only to help me vent, let go, and heal from.

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The countless anxiety attacks you went through for being afraid. Afraid of not pleasing your friends, afraid of not being enough, going through the ridiculous boyfriend problems NO teenager should ever need to deal with; For struggling with being positive due to the issues you had at home, and for just simply making your head go completely insane for crap that (in reality) wasn't your fault. I will never forget the nights I cried myself to sleep over the huge amount of stress of multiple issues.

As a dance major in high school, you learn very quickly in the dance world how critical it can be within the other dancers around you, the teachers training you, and the choreographers who recruit you in pieces to showcase at our dance concerts. In almost every dance environment, 'favoritism' is a real thing. If you aren't hard-core trained and full of technique... you're not the best. Judgement can be so toxic in the dance environment only because its always about 9/10 times a competition. You have to fight to be in the dance pieces you want to be a part of. Even when you have that "amazing" group of friends... it all downfalls when it comes to certain things like 'stealing' the spot they wanted, or when they're stressed out about dance itself and take it out on you, and when they just aren't 100% real and decide to talk about you amongst others. It's a real thing.

It's all a mess. A mess within the mindset that you are never good enough. Being in high school, you don't have enough control to make [almost any] decisions for yourself. Aside from dance, even living in the environment I lived in made me get no real escape from any negativity. Being constantly put down, and having to hear countless complaints about you being "useless" and "never doing anything right" can really hurt a kid. Whether you're a child, teenager, or reaching into your adult life... constantly hearing how little satisfaction you give to anyone close in your life can damage you. I still suffer (or freak out) on things that I automatically assume will make me a disappointment to specific people that constantly show/tell me I can't do anything right.

I can only give myself so much credit on the amount of crap I put myself through growing up with all those whom surrounded me. I am thankful in a way to say I went through this because I wouldn't be who I am today without these experiences. I am a very spoken, self driven, and strong woman because of everything. I know what I want, I don't put up with less than what I know I don't need to deal with anymore... and I am me. Plain. Old. Simple. Me... and I rock at being me. I still have so much life left in me and I have yet to even see what's going to change throughout time. It took me two years after high school to finally accept the past for what it was and actually let it go. In which I might have not fully let go, but I know my worth and I know what I want in my life and that's positive people and vibes around me only.

To myself, and to whomever might be in the exact same shoes,

Princess J

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