Ella’s Declassified School Survival Guide

Ella’s Declassified School Survival Guide

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Rocky Top can be intimidating at first but there are ways to make transportation, friendships and campus life a little simpler.

We’re about a month into the fall semester and hopefully, things have calmed down a bit by now. If you’re still feeling uneasy or a little overwhelmed since getting to campus, I have a few tips and tricks that might just make things a little smoother. 

First of all, you need to get the Tennessee app, it has so much good information all in one place. The most useful feature in my opinion is under the “Parking” tab which shows real-time parking availability for three main garages. It’s also great for checking bus routes and times (especially if you’re trying to avoid the parking crisis) which you can view under “Ride the T”.

Speaking of apps, I highly recommend downloading UTPD’s app, LiveSafe. The “SafeWalk” feature allows you, your friends or your family to virtually walk/ride together as a safety precaution. You can also report an emergency, suspicious activity or just a general issue.

If you come across a non-emergency problem, contact UT Facilities Services through OneCall at 865-946-7777. They take care of any maintenance, construction, etc. on campus and will get the issue taken care of as soon as possible. You can also use the LiveSafe app previously mentioned to submit pictures or videos of problems to UTFS. 

Marissa Perkowski, a graduate assistant with the Center for Student Engagement, suggests taking advantage of VOLink.

It “is a great resource to utilize to see the 500+ Student Organizations housed on UT's campus. Through VOLink, not only can you see organizational events but you can search through "Categories" to find what aligns with your personal interests,” Perkowski said. 

It can be difficult to get outside of your comfort zone but I promise if you get involved it won’t be so bad. Go to CSE events, career fairs, clubs, sporting events or whatever else is happening!

Everyone else is there for the same reason so don’t be nervous, just say hello. You don’t have to become besties but small talk never killed anyone so say something next time!

“Students choosing to engage with offices and involvement opportunities will tremendously impact their time on campus, but they have to decide to show up and show out for that experience,” Perkowski said. 

Rebecca McCurry, a senior speech pathology and audiology major, recommends finding a few clubs or organizations to be a part of and to try not to spread yourself too thin. 

“I got very involved in the Christian Student Center because I knew my faith was important to me and it was a place to deepen it and meet like-minded people. This allowed me to meet most of my best friends at UT,” McCurry said. 

I know it might sound lame but I cannot stress enough, please check your email regularly. UT loves to send emails (sometimes important, sometimes not) but staying up to date with what’s happening on campus will make such a difference. Plus, it’s good practice for the future too.

Most importantly, know yourself and do what makes you feel the best. Relax, have fun and the memories will come. Go Vols!