Congratulations on not heading to Gainesville (or dare I say, Tallahassee). Bienvenidos a Miami, Class of 2017! There are a few things to know about your new home.
The city of Miami and its suburbs are extremely diverse, and our campus reflects that. At UM, you will find people from almost every culture, ethnicity, nationality and religion. Being surrounded by so many types of people is an asset, but it’s up to you to embrace it.
You can spend the next four years with people that look, think and sound like you — and that’s your choice — or you can use this time to become a global citizen who is ready for the real world. A global citizen has knowledge of what is going on outside of their country (or perhaps university). It helps as you begin your college career to be able to talk about world events and understand the cultural differences you will encounter on campus.
UM is not like other schools in that it is not situated in a college town. There are tons of things to do beyond campus. While a college town is centered on a specific university, Miami does not revolve around the University of Miami. They instead co-exist, each offering different yet inviting resources and activities for students to enjoy.
Much like our campus, the city offers something for everyone. It has neighborhoods influenced by other cultures, from Little Havana to Little Haiti. Miami also has the Wynwood Arts District and the Arsht Center, where you can watch a performance. If you are looking to spend the day off campus, there is the Seaquarium near RSMAS, Zoo Miami further south, shopping at Dadeland Mall and Sunset Place and beautiful beaches, such as those on Key Biscayne.
Diversity is a great thing, but students can sometimes experience culture shock. This is as a sense of confusion or uncertainty, sometimes with feelings of anxiety, which may affect those that are exposed to a foreign culture without proper preparation. If you are struggling with culture shock, your resident assistants are available to help, as well as the Counseling Center, which provides free counseling to students.
During the first few weeks of school, there will be lots of on-campus programing geared toward helping you make friends and getting you accustomed to campus. These are a great way to see what this campus has to offer and help you figure out where you fit in. But don’t let yourself be confined.
Your time at UM is what you make of it. Get involved, and enjoy all that Miami has to offer. Explore the campus and the city.
Taylor Duckett is a junior majoring in economics.