The First Day of Your New Life: Preparing for UTC

Image via Creative Commons. “PSX 20180815 012152 (1)” by Mei Kaneko is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Starting fresh at any new place is hard for anyone, but especially difficult for college students. Many move across the country, leave their homes, and seek to build a life for themselves in a place they have never been before. In times such as these, when the new students are being shown around campus, the reality of the situation begins to set in: you are alone. You do not have your support lines. You do not have your family or your old friends to back you up.

But all is not gloom and doom, for you have been given a wonderful opportunity to make new friends, form fresh bonds, and have the ability to truly discover who you are. With that, however, comes a lot of homework and a number of uncaring, seemingly-apathetic professors. Welcome to UTC. I will be your advisor for today.

The first thing any new student should do is check Rate My Professor. Having a series of ratings and names in mind is hugely helpful when choosing your first classes. One student I interviewed said, “Most of the professors at UTC aren’t that great. We’re not exactly an Ivy League college, but there are some really educated people in the faculty.” This aligns with my personal experience–you won’t find the cream of the crop teaching here, but you’ll still be able to meet professors who do know the ins and outs of their topics.

The second is learning to pick your battles. The grading systems in some classes can be wildly overcomplicated or entirely unexplained. Fortunately, most of the classes will use some form of Canvas, which will (in most cases) give a better understanding of the percentage breakdown per assignment.

Finally, reach out to other students or accept when they reach out to you. Having class-wide GroupMe rooms is a staple for every subject, and these students will be prompt with reminding each other of due dates, discussing the details of assignments, and communicating frustration with some of the harder courses.

I’ll leave you with a quote from a senior, Iciss Wilkerson. “I wish I would’ve learned more about how to set up my scheduling through my advisor so I could have an easier Junior and Senior year… I was drowning in a lot of work for these two years and if I would’ve done a little more work in the beginning, the workload would be a lot easier for me in the long run. So, always meet up with your advisors and learn how everything works through them! They help out a ton.”

About Samuel Bigham

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