Four things I wish I knew before arriving at UVM

Chris Harrell

At the halfway point of my college education here at UVM, I found there are four things I wish I knew before arriving here.

1. Join clubs. Student organizations play a fundamentally different role in college than they do in high school.

They are one of the most effective ways to find like-minded people in such a large student body.

Clubs allow you the opportunity to meet people beyond your dorm and classes that you would likely never encounter.

They also give you an opportunity to keep busy and occupied during the long Vermont winter with productive tasks.

It’s easy to stay in your dorm and get high every time the temperature drops below 20 degrees, but getting out and having something to work on makes the winters easier to bear.

2. Your schoolwork will be as difficult as you can make it, but you need to push yourself.

Going from high school to college is a major academic transition.

You as a student have so much more control over what courses you take, when you take them and even how many you want to take at once.

This gives you the ability to make your schedule as easy or difficult as you’d like. But easy isn’t better for your academic development.

You bear complete responsibility for your work ethic and how you develop it.

You have to construct a schedule that, while not being overbearing, challenges you.

If you don’t face those academic challenges early in your college experience, you won’t have the work ethic and study skills to succeed.

Resist the urge to relax, and make yourself a little miserable for a couple weeks of the year. It’ll have payoffs for the rest of your career.

3. The University is a business. It’s not your friend, and it’s not trying to be.

The University clearly cares about the student body to a certain extent. But they are also in the business of making money, and students represent a hefty check.

Take what the University tells you with a grain of salt, and do your own research.

There are endless opportunities for clubs, programs and community engagement available.

The University does not know you or what would be best for you. Make your own choices while you’re here.

4. Try to be yourself in everything you do. College is a time to explore who you are and what you want to do.

UVM is full of non-judgemental people. Dress a little funky, take classes you don’t know anything about and find a creative hobby.

The UVM community will be better off as a whole with every member that contributes their distinctive voice.