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Looking forward to freshman year

Incoming first-year students have incredible opportunities and new experiences ahead of them.

Rebecca Ortmann

This piece originally ran on the “Finer Points” blog.

Ever since college first became a subject of consideration in my sixth-grade classroom, I knew that above all else, I needed to get out of Idaho.

No matter how much I tried to convince myself that maybe staying in my home state wouldn’t be so bad, I couldn’t help but feel like my potential lied somewhere beyond state lines. For the next several years of my K-12 education, I had managed to figure out that I wanted to study film, but what I truly wanted to get out of my college experience was still a blur.

It wasn’t until I went to a small art gallery in Salt Lake City that I began to seriously consider going to the University of Utah. My short experience in the gallery gave me an incredible amount of insight into the bustling local creative scene, and I felt like I belonged.

Since being accepted and enrolling at the U, my eagerness to hit the ground running this coming August has only grown. With the bounty of opportunities and new experiences that lie ahead, incoming first-year students like me have so much to look forward to.

Here are the top five things that I’m eager to experience on campus this fall:

1. Events

Growing up in a mid-size farming town in southern Idaho, there wasn’t much in terms of artistically oriented events. This is why I am ecstatic to attend many of the on-campus showcases of creativity (COVID permitting). Whether it’s the Arts Bash at the beginning of fall semester, or the F&MAD Spring showcase at the end of the year, I look forward to experiencing it all in my first year at the U of U College of Fine Arts. Additionally, with Arts Pass, experiencing the arts has never been more accessible. By using only our UCard, all students can attend various performances, concerts and even guest lectures year-round for free, or for greatly discounted prices.

2. Opportunity

With Utah being one of the fastest-growing states nationwide, new internship and career enrichment opportunities are also on the rise in Salt Lake City. Both on and off-campus, there are ways to start to gain work experience either as part of the many ambassador and mentorship programs offered at the U or with new startups in the Salt Lake area. The wide variety of resources provided to students makes it easy to get connected, which I find very reassuring as a new student.

3. Support

When I was searching for more information about the U before applying last February, I was immediately impressed by its wide assortment of different resource centers, and helpful faculty members. Being able to have access to people that could not only help me with my academics but also my personal life helped me know that despite the large size of campus and student population, I would still be able to receive help if I needed it. The Create Success resources make it easy to contact advisors for information on classes, and helps to get a better picture of what the undergraduate experience looks like. This kind of support allowed me to feel comfortable trusting the U for the next four years of my studies.

4. Location

University of Utah’s proximity to both the metropolitan area of Salt Lake City as well as numerous national forests and state parks makes it a great place to experience both the urban and more rural sides of the beehive state. You can hop on the bus and enjoy dinner in the city one night, and go stargazing in the Wasatch National Forest the next. University of Utah’s Outdoor Adventure outlet also makes the outdoors more accessible with on-campus gear rental. You can also easily partake in many of the events Salt Lake City has to offer with your student ID. Being able to have access to both outdoor and city recreation means that if anything, I will not be bored at the U.

5. Academics

What ultimately made me choose the U over other film programs that some may consider more well-recognized, was its selection of different courses that I wouldn’t have been able to take if I were to go to a traditional film school. With over two hundred majors, minors, and certificates to offer, I will be able to study what I love without feeling siloed into one field. Additionally, the University of Utah’s partnership with different universities across the globe makes it possible for me to make progress in my studies while also immersing myself in another culture through the learning abroad program. As I register for my fall courses, I am also looking forward to what opportunities may lie outside of U.S. borders for me in the future.

With August and the first day of classes on the horizon and creeping closer with every day, I couldn’t feel more excited for the beginning of fall semester and all that the University of Utah College of Fine Arts has to offer.