Searching for colleges during my junior and senior years of high school brought me to look at out-of-state colleges, including the University of Arizona. Some of the things I was looking for in colleges were scholarship opportunities, clubs, internships/research opportunities, location and overall cost. Looking at the UA, I found everything I was looking for in a college.
I received multiple scholarships to the point where it was cheaper to go here than remain in-state. There were over 600 clubs and organizations to choose from, easy ways to get internships and jobs on campus and a beautiful campus that was my cheapest option for a college.
The first week on campus was fantastic. There were so many events for incoming first-year students and other years. The atmosphere was unreal, and I was excited for the coming semesters.
Something that I enjoyed was the sporting events. Going to football games in the fall was so much fun, and the camaraderie of everyone in ZonaZoo was phenomenal. Even though the football season did not turn out as we hoped it would, it was still entertaining. The basketball games in the spring turned the campus into a frenzy; game days are taken seriously at the UA.
I loved how many clubs and organizations there are and how there were fairs to show off all the different ones the UA had to offer. Joining any of them provides connections to people you would have never met if it were not for the club. I wish I had joined more my first year because I frequently got bored once I was done with homework and classes.
Since I'm not from Arizona and I didn't know anybody else going to the UA, I was scared that it would be hard to make friends, but it was super easy. I made a lot of friends in my dorm and my classes. I was pretty shy going into college, but it was a new experience for everyone, so I felt less alone. One thing I wish I would have done more was go out more and talk to more people in my classes.
I “toured” the UA in the spring of 2021 and walked around campus without a tour guide because they were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I wish I could have had someone show me the campus because I got lost a couple of times during the first couple of weeks and did not know how the on-campus dining options worked. The UA has the Global Center, the Student Union Memorial Center and Honors Village residence hall for food, and that’s about it on campus.
The Student Union mainly has fast food, and I got sick of it within the first month. The Global Center has delicious food, but it was a far walk from my dorm. The Honors Village had a buffet and was more like the dining halls I had seen in movies. It had great food, but it was expensive and is far from the rest of campus.
I had purchased a meal plan but had to rush to spend all of the money because it expires at the end of the academic year, and I had been going to the store to buy all the food I would eat throughout the week. I wish I had researched more about the food options, especially the meal plans, before purchasing the one I used.
I would advise incoming first-year students to go to the sporting events and purchase the ZonaZoo pass so you can always go to the football and basketball games. Talk to everyone around you in your classes because if you miss a day, you can text them so you can know what you missed. Keep your room door open in the first week so people can say hi to you. Explore the campus to find the best places you can hang out between classes and have places to study besides your room.
If you dislike the course or the professor, you should drop the class because attending a class you dislike will be challenging. Go to your professor’s office hours; even if you do not need help, you can still go and connect with your professors.
Having only one year of college under my belt, I can say that it was one of the best years of my life. I am glad I got to experience a new town on my own and meet some of my best friends. It was hard not being with my family or friends, but it was worth it. Choosing the University of Arizona was the best decision I could have made.
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Kelly Marry (she/her) is a freshman majoring in journalism and public relations. She loves to read and travel in her free time.