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Your First Weeks on Campus

Welcome to “Senior Insights,” a series written from seniors’ perspectives all about life on Rocky Top! We will cover everything from our favorite spots on campus to conquering the first home football game. We are here to provide you with all of the insights that we have discovered throughout our years at the university. Make sure you follow us on social media @utkstudentlife to get updates when we add a new story!

by Noah Redmond and Kiera Przygoda

Your first weeks on campus will be exciting and daunting at the same time. We compiled some tips we discovered through our experiences transitioning from high school to college.

Go to class.

We know for some that is self-explanatory but for others you may think you can skip your first couple of classes because it is “syllabus week”. Most classes take attendance and allow only a few absences so using one of those absences early in the semester is a waste, save it for the middle or later in the semester when you really need a break. Along with that, class syllabi are important. They tell you what assignments you’ll be doing, when they are due, and most importantly your class grading scale.

Along with attendance, you should wait to buy your textbooks until after you attend your first class. We say that because some classes say they require a certain textbook but then you’ll get to class and your professor will say it is optional. This is not the case for all classes but for those where this does come into play you could end up saving a substantial amount of money.

Focus on meeting new people.

We know some of you are coming to college with your best friends from middle school and others are traveling across the country. In either case you should attempt to branch out and meet new people. Everyone has different opinions, ideas, and beliefs, so by branching out you may learn new things and realize some you never would have thought about prior to college. One way to meet others is simply by talking to those in your classes. You are going to be in class with these people for a whole semester so you might as well get to know each other.

Along with meeting new people, you should try and go to all the welcome week events. We know it may sound “lame” and something you don’t necessarily want to do, but it’s actually fun and you can get a lot of free food and gear! While you are there it is the perfect time to meet new people. We mean they must be alright if they showed up for all the welcome week events, right?

Talk a walk down Pedestrian Walkway.

Remember the free gear we mentioned earlier? You should try and walk down Pedestrian Walkway (the sidewalk that extends from the Hill to Hess Hall) every day. This should not be difficult because most first-year students have classes every day which require walking on Ped Walkway. Taking Ped Walkway is great because many organizations, groups, and companies set up booths along the walkway. Not every booth will be there every day but if you see them, they are most likely trying to recruit you, share information with you, and in most cases handing out free stuff! We have received everything from t-shirts to Jimmy John’s sandwiches so make sure you try and walk there as much as you can.

With all of this said, these tips were developed from our personal experiences. There are many others we can give you, but we are sure you will find your own personal tips the more comfortable you get on campus. So, good luck in your first semester and as always, Go Vols!

“Senior Insights” is a series written by two seniors, Kiera Przygoda and Noah Redmond, who share their personal experiences, advice, and insights into college life on Rocky Top.


Noah Redmond is a senior majoring in marketing with a collateral in entrepreneurship. He has worked for the university in multiple capacities for three years. He love sports and is always trying to learn new things.



Kiera Przygoda is a senior at UT majoring in communication studies. She is the undergraduate public relations intern for the Office of Communication and Marketing. She has a passion for writing and media and a love for Disney. Kiera is also a student assistant at SEC Network and VFL Films.