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 The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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Change, Change, Go Away...

Come again some other day!

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Change sucks.

I've gone most of my life convincing others (and myself) that "I love change!"

Or saying "I like to think I'm adaptable, so spontaneity is something I love."

To give you the cold, hard and honest truth: All of that is a bunch of shit. Aside from when I still wore diapers, I have never been more full of shit than when I say these things.

There comes a time in life when we grow tired of our own lies and until that point, nothing generally changes. Except, change sucks, right?

I like when the weather changes from freezing cold to invitingly warm.

I like when someone else changes my sheets for me and I don't have to jump and sprawl my 5'3" body to secure the fitted sheet onto the farthest corner of the bed (which generally ends unsuccessfully).

I really like it when the stoplight changes from red to green (because I have a need for speed).

I even like when someone asks to change seats with me on a flight because the reality is that there is no such thing as a good seat on a flight. If you're on the window, you can't get up easily (but you can rest your head) and if you're on the aisle, you can sit there and get up as much as you want, as long as you don't mind your elbow being taken out from under your head while you sleep every time the drink cart passes by.

The point is, these trivial changes are fine, expected and some can even be enjoyable.

It's the changes that we do not expect, the ones that go against our status quo and our life flow, that knock us off balance and send us into a spiral of confusion, excess chocolate consumption and challenge.

As I've mentioned in previous articles, I am a big believer that all stress is a result of something being different than what we want or expect.

Big changes are no exception to this stress.

The coolest, most amazing, incredibly awe-inspiring part about life is that change is possible. Everything around us, at all times, is constantly changing. Unfortunately, this means that we too are subject to this change.

So, what kind of change am I talking about?

Am I talking about the change in your pocket you thought you lost and then found? No.

After all, nobody likes to lose anything besides weight these days.

And to that point, our bodies are constantly changing too. Our hair, our face, our skin, everything physical about us. These are the types of changes I'm talking about. Our relationships change, our jobs, our friends, our understandings of life, all of this changes. These are the big guys, the "uh-ohs," the "I didn't want to learn another life lesson this week" kind of changes.

However, despite the fact that I am 21 and those of you reading this are a range of ages (which I am so grateful for), one of the many qualities that unite us is that we have all experienced change.

Individuals of all ages experience loss and grief. Death plays no favorites and spares no ages. Physical changes happen to all age groups too. Life changes that alter our emotions and mental states are constantly happening to everyone, at all times.

The last three years of my life have been laden with changes. More specifically, the last six months have mentally worn me out but there's a quote that I keep going back to that my mom shared with me over the summer, it says: "an arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it's going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming."

If you want to rearrange it, you've got to change it.

My hope is that we realize that we don't have to love change. In fact, we don't even have to embrace it because some changes are just too tough. What we do need to do is hold on and keep aiming and acknowledge the fact that we all are constantly going through changes.

Whether we talk about those changes or not, they're present because they are a sure fact of this wildly amazing life we live. One of the few things that remain constant in this life is the fact that things will constantly change.

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