Before we even had time to realize it, National Decision Day came rolling around the corner and, with that, a flood of new, incoming freshmen—bright eyed and a tad unaware about their future. Even before there was a global pandemic in the form of COVID-19, putting additional stress on students, the transition from highschool to college was already infamous for being tough on some students. Adjusting to college life can be difficult at the beginning since many new students deal with issues like living away from their families for the first time in a new environment surrounded by strangers or like being saddled with more homework and responsibilities than they ever have been before.

These struggles are all too familiar to practically any student in college. So by that logic, who better to ask for college advice from than current UTD students and alumni? Us folks at Comet Life decided to ask our followers on Instagram for the best advice they would give incoming freshmen and our followers DELIVERED. 👏

Out of all the pieces of advice we received from our followers and current UTD students, here’s a few that stuck out:

“Go to office hours and get to know your professors!” –@lesiemedina

The professors and staff at UTD are there to help students succeed and, despite how it seems sometimes, I promise that they truly care and want all of their students to grow into their full potential.

“Make use of the library to the fullest.” –@saicharnsirangi

In addition to the library, there are so many resources available to UTD students, including free tutoring at the Student Success Center to free sessions at the Counseling Center. Use them to help ease your transition into college and throughout the rest of your college years!

“Rate My Professor and UTD Grades are your BEST FRIENDS.” –@diyaduttaaa

I can’t even count the number of times that these sites have saved my sanity and GPA. Before registering for classes, it’s always a good idea to check out reviews left by other students to know if a course is the right class for you. Some professors have different teaching styles and workloads and you should always try to get a professor that will help you learn the best.

“When you have to take an elective course, take a class that is interactive or one that will keep your interest.” –@spindecks

With electives, it’s easy to slack off, but don’t forget that those classes affect your GPA. I’ve purposely chosen classes with mandatory attendance because if not for that, I probably would’ve skipped lectures and only showed up on exam days. Students are more likely to attend and participate in interactive and interesting classes and, therefore, are more likely to learn better and get better grades. So if you care about your GPA, I suggest listening to @spindecks’ advice.

“If you can take classes at a community college to save money, do it!” –@cachiisx_

This is a good idea for SOME classes. For courses that are major-related, UTD highly suggests students take them at UTD because each university teaches the material differently and has unique teaching criteria. However, for electives, community college is fair game. Just make sure to check with your advisor that the course credits from community college can transfer to UTD before signing up. With that said, as long as you pass the course(s) at community college, you can transfer those credits to UTD and it won’t affect your GPA at all.

“Please don’t overestimate your ability to wake up early! Take afternoon classes if need be. Also, don’t be afraid of changing your major if it’s not a right fit! So many people change theirs!” –@rystershort

Choose your courses based on what suits you best. For example, if you’re a night owl, don’t take 8 AM classes. I’ve accidentally slept through enough of my 8 AMs to be able to tell you that it’s a bad idea. The same goes for your major! College is a time for discovering who you are and if you find out that your current major doesn’t suit you at all, go ahead and change it!

“Stay focused and, at the same time, have fun and meet new people.” –@jesanchez8, and “Try not to procrastinate. Focus on your goals and have fun but BALANCE is key. :)” –meghaghosh_

Listen up guys, gals, and nonbinary pals!! Save yourself from extra pain and suffering and go get a planner. Schedule sections of time for school, fun, and rest and try to stick to that schedule. College isn’t just about academics or about going out and partying or hanging out with friends. The best college experience is a healthy mix of both, and having a schedule will help give you those “best four years of your life” that everyone always talks about.

“Enjoy, laugh, and be positive. Know that it’s okay to be overwhelmed and don’t fall for comparison.” –@snehal.pendharkar

Remember that you’re not alone in your struggles. There are people and resources around you that are more than happy to help you. As long as you’re putting in effort and trying your best, you’re a success in our books. 🧡

“Get involved on campus and have school pride! It’s not lame and it makes everything more fun.” –@actuallylillian, and “Go to the athletic games!!! They’re so much fun and I wish I went to more.” –@erictigerawr

Although UTD is more well known for its academics than its school pride, that doesn’t mean we’re completely void of any school spirit. Showing school pride makes attending events and games even more exciting!! Not to mention that you can get tons of free food and merch by attending those events and games. (I once got 9 free shirts in the span of one week.)

“Try and socialize as much as you can. Get involved in campus life. There is so much on campus to do.” –@sja160530

The easiest way to meet people with similar interests and make new friends is to join student organizations on campus!! I made so many friends by joining my sorority and Comet Life. If you have a passion or a hobby, there’s probably a club at UTD for it! You can view all the registered student organizations here. And if you love all things UTD and school spirit, you can go apply to join Comet Life!

“Pick the major that makes YOU happy. It’s YOUR degree!!” –@xnnette___, and

“Follow your heart. Study what you are passionate about. It makes everything worth it.” –@shaletsbaby

I’m not saying you have to absolutely love your major, but if you’re learning that your current major makes you miserable, don’t be afraid to switch to a different one. Your mental health should always come first. Use college as a chance to get a taste of different industries and professions. You’ll find a major that fits and when you do, you’ll go on to do amazing things. 

“Bee yourself 🐝” –@cordelchang

Last but not least, be yourself. In college, you’ll grow and start figuring out your identity as an individual so don’t put on a mask. Just be true to yourself, and you’ll attract new friends and find a community where you belong and are loved, bad puns and all.