Welcome to UW-Whitewater! I hope that your learning experience here is a positive one. Our university currently has a student enrollment of just over 10,700. Don't let that number scare you as there are many ways to get involved on campus. I encourage you to get involved. You will find your college experience more meaningful by meeting other students, and having fun doing the many activities available.
If cheering on an athletic team is your thing, our athletic teams are often at the top of their conferences. Academically, our College of Business and Economics is one of the best schools in the nation. We also have many student organizations that you can participate in. If you cannot find an organization that suits your fancy, it is very easy to get one started. I, personally, am a non-traditional/adult student myself. I enrolled here because I wanted to pursue my Bachelor's degree in Accounting. I transferred from Gateway Technical College, from which I earned my Associate's degree. Right now I am 31 years old, taking 7 credits, and commuting from Elkhorn. I have found numerous resources on campus very effective.
I was surprised to learn, when I was admitted, that there is staff here specifically for first year students. They have their own office where you can stop in to ask questions, or receive guidance if necessary. They are committed to making your first year experience a successful one. Another source that I have found useful is the course, "New Student Seminar." This one credit seminar/course was implemented a couple of years ago to help non-traditional/adult students find the resources they need to be successful. The "New Student Seminar" has helped me get off to a good start here on campus.
I have faced a few challenges that I hope you don't have to go through. First, at the beginning of the semester, I paid $60 for a gym membership that I did not use. I found out after I had paid the money that I would not have the time to go and exercise. Another challenge that I have faced is finding other students with free time to study in a group. Everyone has their own schedule, and it is often hard to find a time that everyone has free. I have found that I learn more effectively when I can teach another person. A third challenge that I have faced is finding an area, either in the library or University Center, where I can eat and study when I want to, without feeling to "crammed." As you may know, UW-Whitewater has grown in student enrollment in the past few years. That means that there is less room for students, especially those who commute, to "call their own."
I have had some successes here at UW-Whitewater also. First, I have tried to stay in a "rhythm" each day. To me this means making a to-do list, and trying to accomplish as much as possible each day. A second success that I have achieved is that I have attended every class period this semester. My grades are reflective of the hard work that I have put in because of my attendance. I have read all the assigned readings, and kept up with every assignment so far.
I have a few "strategies for success" for you. First, like I have mentioned, attend all class sessions. Instructors often formulate exam questions on material they have introduced in class. Second, read the assigned readings from the textbook. Also, ask questions if you don't understand something in class. Furthermore, use the Academic Support/Tutoring Center if necessary. I, myself, had to go to the Academic Support/Tutoring Center for help with my math course. The staff is very friendly, and is flexible in scheduling help.
There are a few things that I wished I knew before this semester. First, there are a lot of buildings on campus. This requires good walking shoes, a good backpack, and a warm coat in winter to get from building to building. Second, I wished I had known that gym memberships are non-refundable. As I have mentioned earlier, I have not used the gym yet this semester. Third, I think that I would have a better grade in my economics course had I known just how useful the non-talking, first floor is in the library.
To wrap things up, hopefully I have given some useful points of advice that you can use. You have made a good decision by furthering you education at UW-Whitewater. Enjoy the time you have here, and don't be afraid to seek out help from the many resources on campus. They are here to help.