Starting, continuing, or going back to college is one of the most exciting endeavors.
But it can also be confusing. Where should you study? How do you find support for a difficult course? How do you find people with common interests? How do you find support for your physical or mental health?
UNC Greensboro strives to help all students feel supported and welcomed on campus. A few returning students offered their list of 10 things to know about our campus and words of advice, to guide new Spartans in starting off on the right foot.
1. UNCG is a great place to find new activities and take on new challenges, and so is Greensboro
“It may sound cliché, but stepping outside of your comfort zone is crucial for your college experience. Stepping beyond your personal bubble is a number one rule for evolving as a person during your time in school. So, I encourage you to explore the larger city of Greensboro, join new clubs, expand your mind, etc. I promise you won’t regret it!” – Daysha Bullock, senior in studio art, new media and design.
A variety of cultures and activities greet students on campus and throughout the city. An essential part of Rawkin Welcome Weeks is the Housing and Residence Life hosted Fall Kick-Off, an annual student organization fair. Over 250 of UNCG clubs and organizations will be welcoming students, and this event is a great place to start. The diverse and vibrant City of Greensboro has endless opportunities for fun, learning, and professional development through internships.
“Don’t be afraid to apply for or sign up for new experiences. College is the time to sign up for clubs and programs that you might not ordinarily try or have access to. You never know what new experience may turn into a life-long skill or interest!” -Hannah Ward, junior, English major
“One thing you should strive to do is get involved in anything that interests you as this is your time to find where you can be your best self. It could be a club that could help your future career or it could be a club that will let you feel right at home here at UNCG. After you have explored all your options, choose the ones you see helping you the most.” Andrew Nunez Roa, sophomore, Finance and Economics major.
2. UNCG has great health, wellness, and recreation resources
“Leaving your parents and your home and trying to adjust to college life is a lot of change for some people. A great thing to do is to create a new healthy lifestyle system.” – Jyesha McKinney, junior, pre-nursing major.
The Leonard J. Kaplan Center for Wellness helps Spartans play harder, grow stronger, explore farther, and enjoy life. The facility offers a beautiful aquatic facility, a climbing wall, an elevated jogging track, cycle studios, several wood-floor gyms, racquetball courts, a terrace, fitness assessment services, and much more. For outdoor weekend fun on the water, the relaxing 40-acre Piney Lake is open to Spartans, with shuttles during the spring and fall. Greensboro itself is home to many parks and outdoor activities. Outdoor Adventures offers many off-campus trips for activities like kayaking, backpacking, horseback riding, and more.
“Take care of both your physical and mental health! The Kaplan center offers FREE classes like cycling, lifting multiple times a week, and many types of equipment to suit your needs.” -Ayah Azzam, sophomore biology student
In taking care of their health in all ways, Spartans should be aware of the Student Health Center and the Counseling Center.
3. Academic support resources are abundant
“Seek help when you’re struggling in a class(s), UNCG’s AAC (Academic Achievement Center), is an excellent way to get FREE help, the AAC offers help for many classes and levels. I myself went to tutoring as a freshman and now I work as a tutor with the AAC and have enjoyed every minute of helping students. I found the perfect on-campus job and reached my academic goals all at once with the help of the AAC.” Ayah Azzam
Hone your skills at the Writing Center or Speaking Center, and stop into the Digital Media Commons for help with digital projects. Stay tuned into your Advising and Educational Opportunity options. New students can find many resources through the First Year Experience website.
4. Your UNCG professors and advisors are accessible to you
Professors aren’t there just to give you your assignments and grade them. They are there to help you cultivate your strengths, pursue your academic interests, help you learn to do research, develop your career goals, and understand you as a person.
“Finding mentors and having people in your corner can lead to good recommendation letters and open many doors you probably never thought about opening.” –Jyesha McKinney.
“Make connections! If you meet someone in a field you are interested in, try to reach out! It may seem strange at first to email or start conversations with people you don’t know well, but you never know what a small conversation could lead you to.” -Hannah Ward
5. UNCG has So. Many. Cool. Events.
World-class performers visit our stages. UNCG students star in theater productions and music students play in concerts throughout the year. Our arts calendar is bursting at the seams.
The Weatherspoon Art Museum hosts free ongoing exhibitions and associated events. (Stay aware of the $5 tickets for students to any University Concert and Lecture Series event.)
Our outstanding student-athletes excel each year and each season there are exciting opportunities to cheer them on. Fun festivals pop up on our campus and in downtown Greensboro.
And speaking of Greensboro: Enjoy large concert venues within two miles of campus. In future months, the Greensboro Coliseum will host Encanto – The Sing Along Film Concert, and a Mary J. Blige concert. The Tanger Center brings Smokey Robinson on August 20, and later this year Broadway musicals like “Mean Girls,” “Pretty Woman,” and “Jagged Little Pill.” The Carolina Theatre hosts a variety of classic films, musical performances, and other events. The weekend of Sept. 9-11 get to know downtown at the North Carolina Folk Festival, which hosts world-renowned musicians on multiple stages.
6. People will welcome you here.
Our campus environment is inclusive, friendly, and welcoming. We prioritize diversity. And, there’s just something about Spartans – we reach out, we try to understand each other. We reflect. Each person has a story, and we share them.
“Starting college is hard for anyone since it’s a whole new experience. In college, there are many different personalities, and it is up to you to find the people that will help you flourish in your college years.” –Andrew Nunez-Roa
7. Cool spots on campus – they’re abundant and accessible
Have you seen the stairitorium in the new Nursing and Instructional Building? What about Taylor Garden outside the Elliott University Center? There’s the Meditation Room, Fountain View Dining Hall, Moran Plaza, Foust Park, the Weatherspoon Art Museum Sculpture Garden, common areas throughout the EUC, and the connector to Jackson Library.
“I really like to sit outside and read when I have time between classes. I like to sit by the Minerva statue. That’s probably not exciting to most people. But I think it’s so pretty over there. Another fun thing I like to do is just find a corner of the library that no one will ever find me in break and just read, right? That’s one of the nicest things about any campus, but I think UNCG has a lot of those spaces, like surprise spaces that you can find in little areas.” – Kathy Goodkin, English PhD graduate student
Ever sit in one of those cozy wrap-around chairs in the library or look out the window from a study carrel on the ninth floor? And there’s nothing like walking down College Avenue in the fall, passing by the Petty Building, and eventually crossing the bridge to the lush natural environment of Peabody Park, and to the gardens behind the Music Building. And finally, if you traverse through the wooded park, you’ll find two secret habitats – the campus wetlands – on the way to the outdoor courts and Irwin Belk recreation track, and the UNCG Athletics soccer and softball stadiums.
8. We have cool campus traditions.
Place an apple at Minerva’s feet for good luck, make a daisy chain, meet up with friends to paint the Rawk, step around the clock tower, not through it, and more. In October, give yourself a scare at Mary Foust Haunted House. Just off campus, grab some coffee with a friend at Tate Street Coffee. In November “Storm the Streets” down Spring Garden St. to kick off basketball season. In December, there’s the lighting of the Vacc Bell Tower, and in winter months if it snows, join students sledding down Petty Hill.
9. Undergraduates can pursue research with fantastic mentors
Are you interested in biology, plant physiology, astronomy, chemistry, service-oriented communication studies, English, or classical studies?
Students should consider if they may be candidates for research programs such as McNair Scholars, MARC-U-STAR, STAMPS that support undergraduate research, as well as the Lloyd International Honors College.
10. You can be yourself here.
“Authenticity: Being yourself is my number one piece of advice to anyone coming into college. This is because authenticity leads to truly finding your way here at UNCG. Being authentic leads to nothing but positive things such as scoring your first on-campus job, building strong relationships, feeling most secure at your new home away from home, and so much more!”- Daysha Bullock
“One thing that you should always do is be your true self – don’t change for anyone. There is only one person that can be you, so do that! It can be scary, or you might just want to adopt a whole new personality, but if you go into college being you, that will achieve the best outcome. You are unique, so don’t hide who you are. Always remember that even if someone is pushing to become someone else, push back and show who you really are” – Andrew Roa Nunez
Interviews by Dana Broadus, University Communications
Story by Susan Kirby-Smith and Dana Broadus, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane and Jiyoung Park, University Communications