In Transition: Advice from the Class of 2016


Dear Class of 2017,

First of all, congratulations! You each survived essays, interviews, and even Dr. Voit’s mind games, and you handled it like champs. The ‘16s could not be happier to welcome you into the McDermott family, and we know you’ll have an amazing four years at UTD. But we also know that college is a big transition, and we wanted to bestow upon you some unsolicited advice and pictures from our own college transition. So read on, ‘17s! Here’s to your next four years.



Be Prepared, Be Organized, and Work Hard!

“In most college courses, basically every exam and assignment is laid out at the beginning of the semester. Staying on top of what’s expected of you academically, whether through planners, the Notes app, Post-Its, or motivation from the people around you, is the best way to make sure you have enough time and energy for the things you want to do outside of class.” – Kinnari

“Remember where your car is parked. Or don’t have a small, grey, ninja car like mine.” -Mark

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. You’ll be a much happier, more relaxed person if you know (at least roughly) what the day will bring. No, you can’t manage it all in your head. Trust me.” – Kermit

“Get your work done as soon as you can.” -Antonio

“Go out to Ikea with your roommates the first week and buy some coffee tables so you don’t end up spilling water all over your nice cardboard furniture.” – Brian

Take Care of Yourself and Use the Resources Available to You

“One of the many great benefits of the program is how accessible the staff are. If you ever have any issues or want to talk something through, you’re always in good hands by going to the office (It’s also just a fun place to hang out)” – Carson

“Even if you had class at 8:30 in high school, DO NOT sign up for an 8:30 class first semester.” -Sarah W.

“Charge up your laptop, rent a hammock from Rec Center West, and enjoy the beautiful Texas weather.” -Kenzie

“Get yourself a bottle of super miracle bubbles. Seriously, I don’t think there is a better way to de-stress, and you can get a 100 oz. bottle for $3 at Walmart” – Carson

“Take the time to regenerate every so often in the day – 5-10 minutes of closing your eyes and doing nothing may help you power through the next few hours.” -Mark

“As of this year, twelve nuggets at Chick-Fil-A costs around five dollars. If you space out your meal money right, that’s a hundred twenty nuggets per semester, or almost a nugget a day. Alternatively, you can get one very large bucket of ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s once a semester. It’s really up to you.” – Brian

Get Involved and Try New Things!

“I know this sounds as cliché as it gets, but don’t be afraid to explore who you are as a person and what you believe during the next four years. McDermott has provided me the support to feel comfortable in trying new things, taking risks, and exploring opportunities – I hardly recognize the person I was a year ago!” – Benji L.

“You don’t need to follow set paths. Just because you hear that a lot of pre-meds do research or pre-law students have to join mock trial, doesn’t mean you have to do the same things. I had a ton of fun going to New York for Model UN and even though it doesn’t really pertain to my major, and I’m incredibly glad I went. You should only join/do activities that you’re truly interested in because you only have so many hours in a day.” – Danni

“Get ice cream together at Braum’s down the road” – Brad

“There are no mountains in Dallas. Just FYI. Dog parks make a pretty good substitute.” -Sara H. (who is from Alaska, where there are lots of mountains!)

Make New Friends but Keep the Old

“Make sure to attend some campus social events during your first week. There’s 27,000 other people out there attending the same university as you are – your first week is a good chance to meet a lot of them!” – Kermit

“Bond with your roommates. Buy a fish. Name it after someone special. (Sorry, Eugene is taken.)” -Kenzie

“Make new friends! It’s super easy to stay in the same circle, especially if you know people coming from high school, but college is all about new experiences. Step out of your comfort zone. It’s pretty cool how many amazing people are out there.” -Sarah S.

“Karaoke is a pretty good icebreaker.” – Brian

“People are often cynical about keeping in touch with people back home. Don’t be! It’s just about how much effort you put in and receive. Your relationships will change, so be ready for that, but they won’t become less significant” – Samee

“Facetime facetime facetime. Use time that you’re not doing anything else (like walking to class) to call and check in. It will make everyone feel better.” -Kenzie

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