UNC Charlotte, home of the 49ers, welcomes all new freshmen and transfer students with open arms. Photo by Haley Twist

For freshmen or transfer students about to embark on your UNC Charlotte journeys, you are officially Niners now. As part of the 49er family we can give you some tips about surviving your college experience. You’ve got your books, your 49er ID and your class schedule. Now what?

Survival Tip #1: Get Involved

When I first arrived at UNC Charlotte for my SOAR session, I was told many times that college does not have to be just going to class and then going back to a dorm or house.

It was reiterated that everyone should try to get involved with a club, organization or sport that best suited individual interests in order to make your college experience a memorable and enjoyable one.

As an introverted person I shook that idea under the rug at first. I figured I would only venture out of my dorm to go to class and to eat, and that every weekend I would drive home and see my family and friends from high school.

But my opinion totally changed when I joined Student Niner Media. I started writing for UNC Charlotte’s student newspaper Niner Times and immediately found my niche. Having this extra activity to focus on made me enjoy my time at school even more and it brought out strengths in me that I never knew I had.

Getting involved with something on campus, such as a sport, club, organization or even a campus job, will help you appreciate your time being a Niner even more.

Survival Tip #2: Meet New People

You know how people say that the friends you meet in college end up being your friends for life? From my experience at UNC Charlotte so far I have to say I think that’s true.

Some people already have those kinds of friends that they made in high school, and it can be hard to leave them as you all move in different directions in life or go to different schools.

And while this does not have to be a goodbye, as you will see them during weekends, school breaks or summers, it can make you feel better to meet some new people and make some new friends.

I got really lucky with the roommate I had as a freshman. She is now one of my best friends, and even though life has become busier and busier and I don’t get to see her as often, when I do get to see her it is like no time has gone by.

And I feel the same way about the friends I have made in Student Niner Media. These are people I work closely with almost every day and their company makes me feel more at home at UNC Charlotte than I ever thought possible.

I know these friends I made will be friends for life. So put yourself out there and who knows, maybe you will end up meeting someone who will be in your life forever.

Survival Tip #3: Get Out & Explore

UNC Charlotte is an ever-growing, ever-expanding campus. This will be my third year here and even in that short amount of time I have witnessed some new buildings, dorms, parking decks and statues arise on campus.

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that we have a beautiful campus. So get out and explore! From every angle of the school the campus looks different, so travel around it and sightsee.

Once you get your schedule explore the buildings where your classes are held before school starts. This will allow you to see many different buildings on campus and allow you to become familiar with the area before the first day of school.

There are sidewalks all over campus, so go on a morning run or an evening walk. Immerse yourself in campus life and you will feel like you are a part of the 49er family more than you would otherwise.

UNC Charlotte might be a large campus, but when you step onto it and look around you will realize that it’s YOUR campus. So familiarize yourself with it and be proud to be a Niner.

So now I’ve told you the three survival tips that I’ve learned in my time here so far. And we might joke about surviving your college experience, but really it’s not something you have to survive. It’s something you should enjoy and thrive in. So stake your claim and embrace your new Niner family.

Haley Twist is the former Niner Times Editor-in-Chief. A Religious Studies student who worked with the Niner Times for two years, she has previously served as the Lifestyle Editor and the Arts & Entertainment Editor for the paper. She is a 2012 recipient of the Randall Beavers Memorial Award and a 2013 recipient of the Shameka Smith-Hamilton Award.