Hunter Johnson, Commentary Editor
For those of us who have the pleasure of returning to the University of Dallas for another year already have a good idea of what to expect from life in the place affectionately (by me, at least) referred to as “the Bubble.” Hopefully, though, there are many freshmen or transfer students reading The University News for the first time.
If you are new to our campus community, here are a few tidbits and pointers you ought to know in order to make your transition here a smooth one. For one, if you have somehow been unable to tell yet, UD is a small and quirky school. There are members of almost every social bracket you can imagine here, from theater lovers to partiers and study-holics, and with UD’s size, it isn’t hard to pick them all out. This is actually a great thing, as it’s easier to find a group of people like you to befriend!
To make that friendship-forging process even smoother, please go out and join some clubs or sports teams. As easy as it is to find friends here, it’s even easier to isolate yourself in the cocoon of a less-than-spectacular freshman dorm. Being active in at least one group forces you out of that mire and does wonders for your social life. I’m a living example; the cross-country team broke me out of my shell before I could fully create one. As a result, many of my friends today (for better or worse, as they’ll tell you), are the ones I made during those first few days of my freshman cross-country season.
Now, some of you undoubtedly feel that you’re so awkward that it’s nigh impossible for you to make friends. Please. If that’s how you feel, here’s a little secret: Everyone’s awkward, but some people are better at covering it up and moving past it than others. This isn’t something hard to do, shockingly enough. Again, I speak from experience as a typically quiet kid back home. So if you’re new here, embrace it! Let your true self explode on the scene, and don’t worry about embarrassing yourself. The odds are good that in no time you’ll have yourself an ole-fashioned band o’ brothers (and/or sisters) with whom to hang out.
Now that you’ve gotten your amigos assembled, what are you to do? UD is pretty good at ensuring that something is happening most days of the week, from Sunday Sundaes to various annual celebrations, like Charity Week and Groundhog. Individual departments and clubs are also great at putting on different events that vary from talks by guest speakers to socials. And, of course, there are the sporting events hosted by UD. Even if sports aren’t exactly the crispy skin to your fried chicken, attending some of the games on campus is a good way to pass the time, as well as to support UD athletics.
But, you ask, what is there to do in your new home – the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex? For this, I recommend that you consult our fantastic Arts & Entertainment section regularly, but for starters, just go out on the DART and explore. There are the Fort Worth Stockyards, the museums and attractions of downtown Dallas, the games at the Cowboys’ and Rangers’ stadiums – the list goes on and on. Essentially, if the UD Bubble has got you down, get the heck out of it for a while each weekend.
Alas, you’ll always be called back to campus and its classrooms. When this happens, be prepared to work hard, seriously hard. I know my high school was a cakewalk compared to my first semester here – something I didn’t expect in the slightest. Just buckle down and bite the bullet, especially (with all due respect) you insane science majors. Don’t fear, though – your social lives won’t be destroyed by the fanatical schedules and assignments your classes will impose upon you.
Keep these points in mind as you make the University of Dallas your new home, because it really will be a home. This isn’t just a campus to plant yourself on for the next four or so years, but an experience that will shape the decades of your life to follow. So embrace, utilize and enjoy all that the Bubble has to provide.