Advice For Incoming UCF Freshmen On How To Create A Meaningful College Experience

Advice For Incoming UCF Freshmen on how to Create A meaningful College Experience

Enjoy it while you can.

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We've all heard it. College is the best four years of your life. It seems like a cliche, like something old people tell you as they reflect on the good old days. But now as that said old person entering my senior year of college, I too am indulging in the cliche - college is the best four years of your life.

When I entered the University of Central Florida three years ago, I experienced a wide array of emotions. I was scared, excited, nervous, motivated, curious. College is the ultimate fresh start, the chance to experience new things and be whoever you want before the reality of life sets in. I wanted to make the most of every moment, to really soak it all in.

With so much going on and not sure where to start, I had to figure it out as I went along. With that, the biggest thing I would suggest is going outside of your comfort zone. Trust me, I know it's hard. I was not an extrovert going into college. I was very much a quiet person, who only opened up once I was completely comfortable with someone. But I knew that with zero friends in a huge school that simply wasn't going to fly. So I sucked it up, put my big girl pants on, and went into my dorm's common room.

That first week of school I went in there knowing no one and a year later left with some of my best friends. By putting myself out there and trying to meet new people, I found my people, the ones who loved all the same things as me. People who were dorky like me, who loved musicals, and never failed to make me laugh. My freshman year was filled with so many amazing memories in that common room watching movies and playing board games, just having fun.

And that's another thing. You do not have to party to have a great college experience. If you like to party, then, by all means, you do you. But I promise you there is so much more to college than drinking, and in my opinion, it is much more fun to have sober fun with your friends. College is most definitely about trying new things but don't feel obligated to do things you don't want to do just because you think it's what college is all about. Trust me a lot fewer people go out than you think they do.

Remember, college is about finding out who you are, not who other people think you should be. So do what makes you happy.

College is filled with endless possibilities, so take advantage. Getting involved is the best thing you can do. Joining an organization whether it be Greek life, clubs, IM sports teams, literally anything on campus will help you feel connected to your school and help you find people with similar interests. Most colleges are pretty large so finding ways to feel a part of the campus can be challenging. But simply signing up for the countless organizations is a great way to form that bond. And trust me, there is literally an organization for every single thing. You like theme parks, there's a club for that. Engineering? Organization for you. Anime? Your school's got you. And if by the off chance there isn't one, start one! That's the beauty of college - possibilities.

Also, when at school do as the traditions do. Most colleges have been around for decades. They each have their own traditions. And there's a reason they're done every year. So join in! They may be weird and make absolutely no sense, a.k.a running into a pond and fighting for the chance to win a rubber duck - it's a UCF thing. But it's what makes your school what it is. It's not done anywhere else. For some campuses, their history might be football, or basketball, or theater. Whatever it is that makes your college unique, experience it for yourself at least once or you will regret it.

Freshman year is unlike any other. It truly forms the foundation for your entire college career and your life. It's when you go from a kid to an adult and your life starts to take shape. Next thing you know you're looking for a real job, have bills to pay, and actual responsibilities to worry about. So enjoy it while you can because trust me, as I am beginning my senior year, I would give anything to be 18 starting this amazing journey all over again.

To quote the one and only Ferris Bueller, "life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." And believe me, college will pass by in the blink of an eye.

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Everyone Should Experience Working In Fast Food Or Retail

Working in fast food was definitely not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but I'm so glad I did it.

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I know these jobs aren't glamorous. In fact, most days I looked forward to clocking out before I had even clocked in. I always secretly rolled my eyes when an angry customer droned on and on about how entitled he or she was. Though I can name a lot of bad things that happened on the job, it wasn't all horrible. As I reflect on my time working in fast food, I realize how much having that job really taught me and how grateful I am to have had that experience. I really think everyone should work in fast food or retail at some point, and here's why:

You make some great friends from work. I get it, sometimes your co-workers are royal jerks or flat out creeps. You see your name on the schedule next to theirs and immediately try switching with someone else. I've been there. However, I have worked with some amazing people as well.

Every time I worked with one girl in particular, we laughed for entire shifts. One night, we were singing the national anthem at the top of our lungs without realizing a customer had come in (to our surprise, she applauded our terrible screaming). Another coworker and I turned up the radio on full blast when business was slow and had dance battles. We made the most of our shifts, and I still talk to some of these people today.

You learn how to deal with difficult people. It's the age-old story: the uppity customer thinks twelve dollars for a meal combo is outrageous and Where is your manager?!

My friend and I were once called stupid and a customer said he would never come back to our restaurant to eat ever again. At the moment, we were scared out of our minds because we were both pretty new to the job. As time passed, we became more patient and tolerant and knew what triggered these particular customers. Dealing with these adversities definitely helps in the long run, particularly when it comes to doing group work with people who seem unbearable.

Your people skills increase by a landslide. I had always thought that I was great with people before I had a job. However, when I found myself in situations where I had to talk to strangers, I would grow nervous and stumble across my words from time to time. Working in an environment where communicating with others is a driving force helped me not only with improving my public speaking, but also made me more outgoing. In situations where I once backed into the corner to avoid having to talk to someone, I now take charge and initiate a conversation.

You establish a connection with regular customers. My favorite customer was named Jack. He was the sweetest old man who came in every Wednesday and Friday and bought food for himself and his wife. I quickly memorized his order, which impressed him. We shared pleasantries every time he came in, and my coworkers and I looked forward to seeing him.

Establishing a relationship with people who come in a lot helps immensely when it comes to working. It also provides a sense of accomplishment when you memorize an order. Not to mention, the customers start to like you and typically leave a generous tip!

You have stories to tell for a lifetime! Sometimes bad things happen at work. Once I was holding a hot pan and burned my arm— I still have the burn mark on my arm to prove it. My point is, it sucked at the moment, but now I look back and laugh.

One time I asked my coworker how to make soup and she replied, "Slowly, but beautifully." It was so nonchalant that I cracked up for hours. There was also a time when a customer asked me for outlandish toppings and condiments that we didn't offer. The craziest story, though, was the drug deal that went down in our public restrooms. My coworker and I obviously could not leave our station and follow these people into the bathroom, so we were pretty much defenseless. Nobody got hurt or anything, so it made for a great story.

Working in fast food was definitely not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but I'm so glad I did it. It made me more independent and outgoing and gave me memories I'll never forget.

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