Now or never: How getting involved will allow you to make the most of your time at UB

I will be the first to admit UB wasn’t my top choice when planning which college to attend. Growing up just five minutes away from North Campus, I had dreams to get as far away as possible. To me, the entire college experience was epitomized by living on campus in order to be completely in the mix of everything.

I knew if I chose UB it would not involve dorming. In my parents’ mind, there was no point of paying all the extra money when the very free and viable option of living at home was available to me.

But here I am, four years later, commuting to campus every day.

To be completely honest, my choice had a lot to do with financial reasons. I sat down in front of the list of colleges I applied to and had one question: How much debt will I be in after attending undergrad at these schools? I know it’s not the most glamorous way to make that decision, but to me, it was the most practical.

Because I chose UB as the school of my coveted college years for purely monetary reasons, I was miserable.

I lived up to the commuter stereotype of only being on campus for my classes and maybe a little bit longer come time for midterms and finals. I made friends in classes but rarely would I hang out with them outside of our lecture hall. I spent much of my free time with my friends from high school and chose to spend my breaks getting coffee or studying with them rather than seeing if the girl I sat next to in Sociology 101 wanted to get lunch.

If I had the chance to go back and change this, I would.

Walking through the Academic Spine on my “last first day” as an undergraduate student, I felt determined to change my path.

I want to be cheering on the football team at our homecoming game just as much as I want to lose my voice rapping along to Big Sean at this year’s Fall Fest. If there’s an event on campus I think sounds interesting, I want to figure out how to be there. Basically, I’m going to use these next two semesters to pack in what I should have been doing this whole time.

But not all of my undergraduate experience was miserable.

After winter semester of last year when I had the opportunity to study abroad, I became more involved at school. I joined The Spectrum and got to know more people through my trip experiences and my experiences at the paper. I felt like I had finally found my niche and I genuinely started looking forward to school.

My advice to everyone is to find your niche as early into your time at UB as possible. I promise it will make your time here so much more enjoyable.

UB has over 130 clubs, which doesn’t even account for the fact that you can start your own club. Interested in field hockey? UB has a club for that. Is the Harry Potter series one of your favorites? Go out there and join the Quidditch team.

Take advantage of the fact that you’re going to a Division-I sports school for 20 different sports including football, basketball, and soccer by attending games and cheering on your peers. It’s a lot more fun than walking into class on Monday and hearing about the amazing three-point shot you could have seen in person.

Take it from someone who is going into her fourth year at UB and is just now having this epiphany – make your time on campus something you will look back on and be proud of.

If you’re a commuter and having a hard time making friends, talk to that person in class you think is cool. Chances are they want to make more friends as well. If you’re living on campus and find yourself spending more time in your dorm rather than going places on campus, take a look around. There are bulletin boards everywhere filled with activities that can take up your free time.

Rather than trying to jam everything into your last year, be able to walk through the Student Union on your first day as a senior and be happy you’ve taken advantage of every moment spent on campus.

Marlee Tuskes is the assistant news editor and can be reached at