How to make the most of your time at the U

Students walk through rows of booths showcasing a portion of the 300+ student organizations and departments at Canefest 2021 in the Watsco Center, on Aug. 22, 2021.
Students walk through rows of booths showcasing a portion of the 300+ student organizations and departments at Canefest 2021 in the Watsco Center, on Aug. 22, 2021. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

Starting college can be daunting. Traveling to an unfamiliar place, not knowing anyone there and trying to navigate adulthood all at the same time is a lot. But here at University of Miami, “‘Canes Care for ‘Canes’” and want to support you during the transition to college life.

Though you’ve likely watched all the UM “Dorm Room Tour” and “Day in the Life” YouTube videos that exist, here are six tips from The Miami Hurricane to make the most of your time at UM:

Get involved

Everyone says this, but it’s true — getting involved in something on campus. Whether it’s a club, job or leadership position, your involvement will make the college experience that much more fulfilling.

Learn more about all the clubs on campus through UM’s Engage page, where you can find everything from performing arts and volunteer organizations to club sports and multicultural groups. With nearly 400 clubs to choose from, it’s guaranteed that you’ll find one you love and actively participate in throughout your undergraduate career.

Immerse yourself in ‘Canes spirit

It’s great to be a Miami Hurricane! Don’t miss out on football games at Hard Rock Stadium, basketball games in the Watsco Center or volleyball at the Knight Sports Complex. The festivities during Homecoming Week are unforgettable and the school spirit at the Homecoming football game is unmatched. Above all, get ready for green and orange to become your most-worn colors.

Explore different majors/minors

On the Undergraduate Academics website, you’ll find over 180 undergraduate majors and academic programs available at UM. Often, students come in with one major and end up graduating with multiple majors and/or minors. It’s completely normal to change majors or pursue more than one. Given that you don’t have to declare a major until the end of your second year, freshman year is the best time to explore. Check out the Academic Bulletin for a full list of all majors, minors and concentrations.

Leadership, leadership, leadership

It’s never too early to hold a leadership position at UM — many student organizations have leadership positions open to first-year students. Organizations like Student Government, United Black Students, the African Students Union and the Department of Orientation and Commuter Student Involvement (among others) all have first-year leadership programs where students get support for professional development, social networking and access to various leadership opportunities.

You might not be a club president the second you step onto campus, but taking advantage of these opportunities early on will pave the way for bigger opportunities down the road.

Take advantage of resources

Here at UM, there are people ready to help with all aspects of college life, from academics, career development, social life and more.

Looking for jobs or internships? Offices like the Toppel Career Center and the Office of Academic Enhancement frequently host events and workshops that promote opportunities outside of the classroom. Need mental health support? The Counseling Center is free for students and they provide individual and group counseling, among other services.

The Writing Center and Math Lab are excellent resources for students seeking help with any writing concern or personalized math tutoring. For academic help in general, the Camner Center offers peer tutoring for many courses here at UM. For a full list of resources and services, check them out here.

Embrace change

The friends you make during orientation may not stick around, but someone you meet in ENG 105 could become your best friend. Maybe you change your major three times before finding the right one. And if you’re not used to public transportation, taking the Metrorail might feel weird until you realize it’s one of the cheapest ways to get around Miami.

Change is inevitable, but it’s up to us to accept it or not. Starting a new chapter of life at UM means leaving what you’ve always known, but it also opens the door to even greater adventures.