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6 things I wish I knew before coming to Rochester

During high school, I always thought about what college would be like, which came with many expectations. As a first-generation student, my parents did not go to college so most of my expectations came from watching movies and shows related to college. Now that I am in college, I realize how influenced these expectations were and how much they differ from reality. In this blog, I will be talking about some things I wish I knew before coming to the University of Rochester. These are both Rochester-specific and related to college in general.

The academic rigor and pace are very different from high school. 

I attended a public school in New York City that followed the common core and did not have a lot of advanced classes such as APs and IBs. For this reason, the academic rigor in high school was very easy for me. However, in college, the rigor is much harder and the pace is way faster. Materials that were covered throughout a month in high school are covered in two lectures in college. Getting used to this pace and staying on top of your work can be extremely difficult if you have never experienced it in your life. But that does not mean you can’t do it, there are multiple resources outside of lectures where you can seek help. It’s very important to start asking for help as soon as you can.

The Learning Center offers great resources to help students succeed at Rochester. 

It’s normal to feel really lonely, but putting yourself out there helps.

Leaving everything and everyone you have known in your hometown can be very difficult and lonely. But it helps to realize that everyone else around is also going through the same situation. Introducing yourself to people in class/dining halls and starting conversations with them really helps to get to know new people. Studying in collaborative libraries such as iZone and Gleason helped me find some of my closest friends in college. Saying hi to people in my hall also helped me make friends. Lastly, joining clubs and student organizations you are passionate about can be very helpful as well.

E-Board Officers hold a lot of power in clubs.

In high school, even though there were officers, the decisions were mostly made by the club advisors. But it was so eye-opening to see club officers lead activities and events on campus. This really inspired me to run for E-Board positions and become one of the officers. It can seem intimidating at first because I definitely was somewhat intimidated. But don’t be afraid to submit an application and run for positions when they open up.

Learn more about student organizations on campus.

Explore campus during Welcome Week. 

The University of Rochester has a medium-sized campus and so far I have been okay with figuring out where most of my classes are. But I definitely wish I took advantage of welcome week and explored the different buildings and study spots on campus. Welcome Week is the one week when you are free from the academic stress of college. Take advantage of that and explore the campus and its surrounding areas. 

Apply to work-study jobs prior to the start of the semester. 

If you plan on working during college, it’s best to start applying as soon as possible. A lot of my friends started applying for their work-study jobs two weeks before they even arrived on campus. Try to apply as soon as JobLink opens up so that you have a high chance of getting a job. However, it’s also never too late to apply during the school year. A lot of jobs open up throughout the semester and at the start of both the fall and spring semesters. Make sure you have an updated resume that you can submit with the application.

Explore the Student Employment website

The weather can get very gloomy and cold. 

Depending on where you come from the adjustment might vary but as for me, I thought I was used to the cold and snow. But Rochester’s winter is very difficult from the winters I experienced in NYC. The wind feels colder and the days are gloomier. Sometime during December or January when it was almost a week when there was no sun. Weather is something to keep in mind because I think it affects your mood a lot. Now that spring is approaching, any sort of sunshine gives me so much serotonin.

Check out another blogger’s tips for making the most of the winter weather


These are some of the things I wish I knew before I came to Rochester but every day, the list continues to grow and that’s what makes college exciting and fun!

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