Orientation does a great job of preparing you for your freshman year, but sometimes things get skipped over or you simply forget in all the excitement. Here are some things I wish I knew when I was a freshman at UH.
One thing I wish I knew when I started here as a freshman is that there is a lot to do on campus for very cheap. Many freshmen don’t have cars when they first start here and it may seem like a struggle to find stuff to do. Thankfully, the University of Houston has a lot to offer on campus in terms of the arts. The Katherine G. McGovern College of the Arts always has a show or two going on. Specifically, the Moores School of Music has shows all the time, almost every week.
Our music school is one of the best in the state so their shows are worth seeing if you like music. Tickets are about $10 for students and they have guest artists a lot, so you can get cheap tickets to see professional-level shows! We always hear about the sports on campus, but the arts are definitely impressive, too.
One thing I didn’t realize at first was that we have our own art museum in the art building! The Blaffer Art Museum puts up art by one artist at a time, often having art installations. They showcase a variety of artists and it’s free to students. It’s a small museum, so it doesn’t take up too much time. If you’re bored and have a half hour to kill, it’s definitely worth the visit.
One thing I wish I knew about earlier is the pond on campus. It’s tucked in a corner of campus, next to the Architecture and Engineering buildings. I never had classes over there, so I never saw it until I was strolling on campus and was totally surprised. It’s a small pond with a little bridge and it’s totally adorable. It’s a great place to visit if you like scenic walks or a place to take photos.
Something I wish I knew about Houston as a city is that it’s considered a food capital of the country. If I wasn’t eating food from the dining hall or Student Center, I was usually eating from nearby fast food places. Little did I know that Houston has such a diverse restaurant scene. Houston has a lot of great Thai, Vietnamese, Tex-Mex, Italian, and fusion restaurants. You can get a sense of the type of restaurants in Houston by going to the variety of Houston food trucks that come on campus. They have everything from Asian to Mexican to Mediterranean to Southern comfort to fusions of multiple! If you can spare some cash, I recommend trying out new restaurants when you want to eat off campus.
I’m not originally from Houston so I was totally blindsided by the crazy weather here. After the big freeze last February, I realized that anything can happen in Houston. I would suggest always having some emergency supplies like canned foods and bottled water if you live on campus. I would also suggest carrying an umbrella with you everywhere you go. Even if there doesn’t seem to be a cloud in the sky, Houston will surprise you.
As a freshman, I wish I knew about the UH Reddit page. Many people don’t know about it or just don’t use Reddit but it can be very helpful. If you have a question about something regarding financial aid, tuition, registration, orientation, etc. chances are, it’s been answered there. People also sell textbooks, look for roommates, ask for advice and post funny memes about the school. It can also just be a great place to rant about whatever is going on. As great as UH is, we all have time when we need to complain.
Hopefully this information helps you have a great freshman year!