Freshman tips ease transition to college life

Lisette Oler

It’s that time again. The summer sun is fading and the lecture hall lights are flickering to life. Classes begin Aug. 24 and that can be a bit daunting for incoming freshman.

The University of Texas is a big place with new classes, new people and of course, lots of chaos. Here are some tips from returning Longhorns to get through the first week and the first semester.

1. The University has a free app where you can access an interactive map with searchable building abbreviations, traffic conditions, eateries and libraries. The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Market for Android. Search “University of Texas at Austin.”

2. If you’re not rooming on campus, you’ll likely be commuting to class. Parking on or near campus can be a hassle, but the buses are free for faculty and students with a valid ID. This will help you get to class and around Austin on the cheap. Bus numbers 1, 3, 5, 801 and 803 are your best friends. They take you up and down campus, stopping at the University Co-op, Texas Union, Kerbey Lane Cafe and at the corner of Guadalupe and Fourth streets if you need to go downtown.

3. Shower shoes are a must in the dorms. Imagine the number of people who have lived there. Actually, don’t — you may regret it.

4. Buy a caddy for your toiletries. That way you won’t end up with an armful of soap in case you run into Matthew McConaughey.

5. Mattress pads are a must and memory foam pads are best. Splurging on this may save you from terrible back pain in the future. 

6. When your parents want to give you that extra $20, ask for it in rolls of quarters. You’ll have clean laundry for a month, which means you can focus on studying for differential calculus instead.

7. If you have a car, make sure you have a “go bag” in the back seat complete with a fresh change of clothes, hygiene kit and phone charger. You never know when you will need them. 

8. Finding new friends is highly encouraged for all freshman, but absolutely necessary for out-of-state students. Even the small connections on campus will build your support network in Texas.

9. Soft serve ice cream after every meal will only serve to soften your midsection. To avoid gaining the infamous “Freshman 15,” check out Gregory Gym on those stressful days instead.

10. Jester City Limits is conveniently located on Jester’s first floor, but you’ll get more bang for your buck if you eat at J2, the buffet on the second floor. But the Krispy Kreme donuts in JCL are worth it.

11. The little markets in the dorms are nice but expensive. Stock up on canned soups and veggies from H-E-B or Wal-Mart and you’ll be everybody’s best friend when you still have Dine-in Dollars at the end of the semester.

12. If you don’t have a car, make sure to check out the UT Rideshare Facebook page  for carpool opportunities. Chances are, there is someone else traveling from Austin to San Antonio on a Friday night. 

During your first semester, don’t stress out. It is easy to get overwhelmed, so take breaks from studying and extracurriculars. Go visit the Turtle Pond. Know that every student has similar fears — and we’ve all survived. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and do yourself a favor — don’t put your student ID on a lanyard.