With 35,000 new faces, whether you come from a small or big high school, starting life at UGA is guaranteed to be a change of pace for everyone. I grew up in a small Georgia town where almost everyone in my high school knew my name. Transitioning from a big fish in a small pond (cliché analogy, I know) to the big pond I found at UGA was challenging for me, as it is for many college students. I felt lost and invisible. I was no longer the Alana that everyone knew and loved; I was just a face in a sea of countless freshmen sorority girls. I vividly remember walking to Tate the morning of my Pref round, surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of girls wearing black from head to toe, just like I was, and I questioned how I would ever make a name for myself at this huge new place. I’m a junior now and coming to UGA was undoubtedly one of the best decisions I ever made. Two years later, I can’t imagine myself anywhere else. UGA is home! So hey, if you’re feeling like I did, you’re not alone! And I PROMISE it will get better!
Sometimes it’s hard to not think something is wrong when you don’t feel completely comfortable within your first week or two at UGA. It seems like everyone around you is having a blast and has already made so many friends. But hey, I’ll be the first to tell you that it took me a while to find my place. Everyone moves at her own pace, so be patient! Stick it out, girl!
To get you off to a good start, here are 5 pieces of advice for finding your place on campus:
Go through sorority recruitment. You’ve already got one down! Whether you’re meeting girls in your Gamma Chi group, talking to other PNM’s outside of the houses before rounds, or eating with your hallmates during breaks, these girls will be your go-to for your first few weeks at school!
Talk to people in class. People always told me that it’s rare to make friends with the people you sit next to in a college class, but that’s definitely not true! You’re with these people at least 2-3 days a week, so be friendly, say hello, and take advantage of an easy friendship!
Stay in Athens on the weekends. My rule for freshman year: don’t go home for the first 6 weeks of school. Weekends are the perfect time to hang out with some new friends! Get a group together, even if you don’t know each other that well. That’s how friendships begin! It’s easy to go back home and spend the entire weekend with your parents when you’re homesick, but you’ll ultimately be hurting yourself when you don’t make an effort to make UGA your next home.
Be friends with your roommate. My roommate and I met on the Dawghouse before freshman year, so we were basically strangers at move-in. Within 3 days, we were best friends and I don’t know how I would have gotten through freshman year without her! Push aside your frustrations with each other (if one of you is messy, stays out too late, whatever) and make the most of a yearlong sleepover with an awesome gal!
Get involved. We are so lucky to go to a school with an endless amount of clubs and organizations. Join one! Your sorority sisters can be your backbone at UGA, but no one can ever have too many friends, so build a circle outside of your sorority in UGA Miracle, HEROs, a campus ministry, or a club sport.
I’m so excited that you’re starting your journey at THE University of Georgia! I hope that you’ll learn to love Athens as much as I have. Make friends, study hard, and have fun! Go get ‘em!!
Written by Alana, Gamma Chi