As a senior now at UT, I am among the eldest group of students on campus.
Some say that along with age comes wisdom, and, though I don't feel very wise in most areas of my life, I think there are possibly a few words of wisdom I can offer to UT's newest incoming class regarding the place I have called home for four years.
1) Get involved right away!
This is the biggest mistake that I made, and a lot of other freshmen make, too. As a freshman, I was scared to go out and join groups and activities because I assumed all of the organizations were a bunch of upperclassmen who did not want to hang out with some silly freshman.
I was definitely wrong.
Now as a member of several organizations on campus, I know that most of them are begging for freshmen to join. Plus, the earlier you get involved in one group, the easier it will be to land a leadership position in that organization later on.
These organizations are also the ones most likely to help you make friends at UT. If you join something you're interested in, more than likely you are going to meet people with similar interests, making friendship building that much easier. Just choose a handful of commitments and really devote yourself to them – it will not be something you regret.
2) Balance, balance, balance.
Honestly, this one is still an issue for me even now, but it is going to be one of the biggest lessons if you want to be successful in college. You might already be under the impression that school is always going to come first, but you'll quickly realize such priority is not always possible, or even something you consistently desire.
I cannot release a secret formula for trying to figure out the amount of time you should invest in each of your responsibilities; it's just something you have to figure out on your own – usually through a little bit of trial and error. Whether you are juggling work, athletics or extracurricular activities, just make sure that you give yourself a pinch of restoration time.
Even if you have piles of homework due, sometimes a simple 30-minute hangout session amongst friends can cure your productivity struggled before they set in.
3) Time in college is short, so make the most of it.
You thought your four years in high school went by fast?
I feel like I looked up at the end of last semester and suddenly realized I was on the brink of graduation. College is like its own little bubble.
Once you get involved on campus and comfortable with the rhythms of daily life, you will blink and it's going to be Christmas break. Another bat of the eyes and your sophomore year will already be upon you. It goes by in a flash.
Take advantage of this high speed ride. Live in the little moments – look around you as you're trudging up the Hill and admire the beauty of Ayres Hall, take some time to sunbathe with your friends in the HSS amphitheatre and even get caught up in the anticipation in the air the Friday before the first football game.
Those are the things you are going to remember when it's all over, not the grade you made on your soon-to-be-forgotten general chemistry exam.
College is one of life's greatest adventures. So go get out there, and start experiencing it. Remember, all of us college seniors would probably kill to trade places with you, just so we could live it all over one more time.
Victoria Knight is a senior in microbiology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.