Dear New Wildcat,
Welcome to the family! When I went through orientation, AKA "see blue.” U, I couldn't have been more nervous. Now, just a year later, I have the amazing opportunity of witnessing the start of your story at the University of Kentucky. My biggest piece of advice is to enjoy the journey. It's easy to get caught up in the busyness and excitement as you walk through the Singletary Center for the Arts doors for the first time. For my orientation, I made it my mission to have the best possible schedule, gather as much information as possible and befriend anyone and everyone in sight.
For the two days of orientation, you will be assigned a group called UKonnect with a leader to assist you. The leaders will take you where you need to go and help you make friends. The same thing will happen during our welcome week for new students called K Week. But at orientation, you will also meet students in your chosen college when you schedule your classes – study buddies, get excited!
I love scheduling my classes now. At my orientation, I was overwhelmed by all the different classes and choices. I didn't understand how easy it is to change something, get the help I needed and I spent too much time being stressed about it being perfect. If you're feeling the same way, don't worry. Changing your classes is easy, and the classes you register for during your orientation are not set in stone. I changed up a few of my courses during the first week of school. Maybe you don't even know what you want to major in; that's completely fine. I came in as a freshman expecting to major in one thing but found my niche in the College of Communication and Information, and it's the perfect fit.
There are so many resources to help you find a career that you will enjoy. I recommend taking your UK Core classes and seeing which of these you enjoy the most. Reach out to your professors, friends or advisers. In fact, the Stuckert Career Center is an awesome resource that can help you narrow down your interests once you get your feet wet. Ask other students once you get on campus about what classes they've enjoyed at UK, too!
“see blue.” U is a resource for you and your parents to get a better idea of the university's goals for you and to understand what all is available to you. The resource fair has a good amount of the clubs and programs offered at UK. Visit the tables that interest you and make an effort to get involved - plus, there's a ton of great free stuff being given away. If nothing speaks to you immediately, that's okay. There are more than 700 organizations on campus – check out different organizations on BBNvolved and show up to events in the fall. You never know what you might like until you try it. It may take some time to find your thing, but once you do, it's super rewarding.
Interest sessions are to help you get more detailed information on specific topics like living on campus, education abroad and campus involvement. Deciding which interest sessions to attend can be tough since some of them overlap. Utilize one of those new friends you’ve made and each go to a different session – take good notes and share with each other. Refer to your booklet to read more about what they cover to help you decide. The good news is, if you have any questions you can email and call us at any time.
Maybe you're like me and you recognized a few familiar faces at “see blue.” U from your high school but maybe you don't know a soul here and that's perfectly okay, too! Either way, your community is in that room with you; it's in your UKonnect and K Week groups and your future friends are waiting for you this fall. As a college student, you will learn you are ultimately responsible for you. You're responsible for your relationships, your classes and how you manage your time. At the same time, you are in charge of yourself, and that freedom is so liberating. I learned that making friends is the first step, but without follow-through, it didn't matter how many people I met. Getting involved is one thing that helped me make some friendships that were long-lasting, because I saw them regularly and we had a common interest. If you manage your time well and put yourself out there, you’ll be able to foster those friendships that will change your life.
The transition from high school to college can be scary, but “see blue.” U is the perfect opportunity to learn University of Kentucky culture, get involved, plan out your semester and make new friends. Even though I grew up in UK's backyard (shout out to my city, Lexington!), I still felt excited and nervous to come to college. It's so different from everything I was accustomed to – a good kind of different. You grow and learn so much about yourself, you make life-long memories and you have a home on campus that always has your back.
Welcome to the best years of your life; we're so excited to meet y'all!
UK Class of 2021