1. The Parties
No I don’t mean frat parties….I’m talking about Thursday night dance parties in our room. After a long Thursday starting with an African culture class and ending at 9 pm with a chemistry lab, the only way my roommate and I get through homework without going insane is by getting up and dancing. We choose a variety of music, but the night usually starts out with Waka Waka and ends with the Hoedown Throwdown…thank you Shakira and Miley.
2. The Food
Besides the eight dining halls located all over campus, nearly every building has some type of Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Subway, Panda Express, or campus café. Besides that, surrounding campus, there are multiple wings restaurants (college students love wings…a lot). On top of all this, the freshman honors dorm is conveniently a 2-minute walk from a newly built plaza that features a Subway, an old-fashioned candy shop, a Fro-Yo World, and of course, an Insomnia Cookie’s, which delivers until 3 AM.
3. The Ethnic Diversity
Coming from a tiny town in New Hampshire and graduating with only 62 other students, my town did not represent many ethnicities. Since coming here, I have been exposed to so many people with backgrounds so different from mine and with such interesting stories. In just the past two months, my eyes have been opened to so many new ideas and cultures.
4. The TAs
They’re awesome. End of story. In my case at least, for some of my classes having a good teaching assistant has made tackling some tough classes so much more manageable and even enjoyable. The cool thing about TAs is that they’ve been in school for a few years so they have the knowledge to help you if you have questions, but on the other hand they’re still students too so sometimes they’re more approachable than professors. Oh and I shouldn’t forget to mention that if you’re as lucky as I am, your TA will let you and your lab partner use the beads you’re supposed to be using to replicate DNA to make him and yourself friendship bracelets….and yes I said him.
5. The Options for Classes and Class Scheduling
Only in college is it considered acceptable and legit to have classes begin at 8 AM on Tuesdays, 1 PM on Wednesdays and have no classes on Thursdays. You have the opportunity to create your own schedule and make it exactly what you want it to be. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to take some of the most absurd sounding classes….for example next semester one of my friends is taking a puppeteer class on Mondays and Tuesdays and a class about wizards, dungeons and dragons on Thursdays….just because.
6. Life is a Constant Sleepover
Growing up as an only child, I never had the opportunity/horror of sharing my room with anyone. However, in August, I welcomed into my life the joys of freshman housing and a new roommate. Throughout the whole summer, I worried that my roommate and I wouldn’t get along, wouldn’t have similar enough living habits or just wouldn’t “mesh well together”. However, living with my roommate (and coincidentally one of my new best friends) has been a blast. We’ve laughed together and pulled all-nighters together….basically living with her is like a big sleepover.
7. The Research Opportunities
As a science major, I never doubted that there would be plenty of research opportunities. However, I didn’t expect them to come until junior or senior year at least. To my complete surprise, the very first week of school my advisor mentioned that on campus there are a variety of options available for students as early as second semester of freshman year and that the possibilities are endless.
8. The Clubs and Organizations
Of course there were different clubs and organizations that I could join at my high school, but as you probably guessed when I said I graduated with 62 people…my high school was SMALL so we didn’t have resources available to support a huge variety of clubs. However, on campus there are over 300 different organizations and since I’ve been here, I’ve had the opportunity to learn both ballroom dancing and Irish Step Dancing. Both are so much fun and great ways to stay in shape!
9. The Location
What other place besides on a college campus can you get to a variety of restaurants, a gym, stores, an arcade, a bowling alley, a movie theater, a soccer field, a basketball stadium, a post office, a skating rink, a book store and a variety of multicultural centers within a 15 minute walk?
10. The Breaks
As much fun as I’ve been having, there is no doubt that I miss my home, family and friends. Being in a different area has made me appreciate where I grew up so much more. This leads me to mention one of the best things about college….breaks are SO LONG! For example, as I write this, everyone in my dorm is packing up to leave for a much needed 10 day long Thanksgiving break.
Stephanie Brady is a college freshman at the University of Connecticut in Storrs-Mansfield, Connecticut majoring in pre-pharmacy. Originally from New Market, New Hampshire, Stephanie was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of New Hampshire for 2012. Learn more about Stephanie here!