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A freshman’s guide to social success in college

Gael Araiza

As the tassel shifts from right to left on graduation day, signaling the end of high school, a wave of challenges, excitements and uncertainties await incoming college freshmen, bridging the gap between the familiar halls of adolescence to the uncharted territories of early adulthood.  

There are many things a freshman must learn how to do on their own, such as creating their own class schedule, navigating Blackboard, figuring out where to buy textbooks, buying a parking pass, and balancing school, work and their personal lives.  

I became a college freshman in fall 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. I struggled a little during this transition, but I was relieved when everything I needed to know and do was all on my computer. My orientation and classes were confined to a computer screen with them being online, so it was easy for me to keep track and focus.   

That all changed my sophomore year in 2021, when school was back in person, and I had to adjust to all the in-person challenges college had. Eventually, like everyone else, I figured it out and will now be graduating in May 2024.  

From a UTEP senior I would like to pass down some knowledge and tips I have learned from my four years at UTEP.  

The first bit of advice I would give is the importance of communication in college. Even though my major falls under the communication umbrella, I have struggled at times with communicating. Good communication in college means communicating with friends, professors, colleagues, classmates and family. It is important to keep in touch with these people because you never know how they can help you in the future or how you can help them. It is also an important aspect to be able to stay at top deadlines and possible mishaps that may arise.  

Another important piece of advice is to sit in front of the class and talk, of course not while your professor is teaching, but when your professor asks a question and all that can be heard is crickets. Even if you don’t know the answer or are embarrassed to get it wrong. Your professor will appreciate the effort and take note of it in the future.  

Talk and get to know your professors because they are a treasure chest of knowledge and networking. I personally have gotten most of my internships through the help of my professors and their contacts. Simply talking to your professor garners possible research opportunities, jobs and internships. 

Even though UTEP is a commuter school, join organizations and make new friends. UTEP has over a hundred different organizations that anyone can be a part of and enjoy. It can be easy to find yourself in a vicious cycle of going to class and leaving right after, instead, go to the Union or another UTEP building and eat lunch and socialize. Make an effort to put yourself out there.  

I know most of this advice has to do with being social and it can be nerve-wracking to socialize with other freshman in different majors or upperclassmen, but remember, everyone is in the same boat or was once there before.  

Socializing in college will help you network in the real world, especially when you are looking for a job. It’s not just about who you know, but more importantly who knows you. So be courageous and talk to people because you never know if the person sitting next to you in college will be your future boss, colleague, spouse or friend.  

Alyson Rodriguez is a contributor may be reached at [email protected]; @alyson_rod1127 on X. 

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About the Contributors
Alyson Rodriguez
Alyson Rodriguez, Contributor/Writer

Alyson Rodriguez is a senior at the University of Texas at El Paso, currently majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in leadership studies. She is a contributor at The Prospector. She joined The Prospector in the Fall of 2020 as a contributor for the Arts and Culture section and has now written articles for the sports and news section and has done podcast segments as well. After discovering her passion for journalism through The Prospector, Alyson has gone to intern at El Paso Matters, NPR Next Generation Texas Newsroom and the Texas Standard. 

Gael Araiza
Gael Araiza, Designer
Gael Araiza is the layout editor at The Prospector. Gael is a sophomore majoring in studio art with a concentration in graphic design and minoring in printmaking. Gael loves working with all things visual and plans to expand their creative capabilities through any and all mediums of design.
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