High school senior Florence Garcia is currently preparing for her freshman year at the University of New Mexico this fall, filling out housing forms, planning her schedule and visiting campus on a tour with her mother. She’s excited for college and has a variety of things she’s looking forward to in college.

Social exploration

Garcia anticipates meeting new people and is excited to navigate a new social setting. She hopes to find a new group of friends she works well with and with whom she shares similar interests.



“(I’m excited for) meeting new people, figuring out, I guess, my group of friends — seeing who I work with,” Garcia said.

Boasting 425 different clubs and hosting dozens of campus-wide events to kick off each school year, like the burning of the Aggie at Red Rally, incoming freshmen can expect plenty of opportunities for social engagement at UNM.

Career consideration

Garcia isn’t sure what major she’ll choose yet and is eager for the opportunity to contemplate different possible career paths.

“In high school you have to get up at the same time every day and with (college) I feel, like, free, and I’m happy about that,” Garcia said.

Offering more than 215 degrees, UNM has no shortage of options. While this can be overwhelming, nearly 16% of students begin their academic careers unsure of the major they plan to pursue.

Independent living

Garcia is excited to move out of her parents house to live on her own. While she’s felt pretty independent at home since her older siblings moved out, she’s ready to have her own space on campus.

“I’m just ready to move out; I just feel like I should go,” Garcia said. “I have pretty much been living on my own already … It’s time.”

UNM has eight residence halls for students to choose from if they opt to live on campus and 11 living-learning communities for students with specific academic interests, allowing for a steady introduction to independent living.

Dining challenges

Garcia is pescatarian, meaning she doesn’t eat meat aside from fish. While she anticipates dining difficulties at La Posada, UNM’s dining hall, she’s excited for the challenge.

“I’m excited … (for) the challenge of me eating food from the dining hall,” Garcia said.

UNM Food offers a multitude of dining plans for students with a variety of dietary restrictions and preferences, and most campus residents opt for a plan with La Posada.

Travel opportunities

Garcia is excited for the opportunities as a university student to travel the world. She hopes to study abroad and said that “any chance I get I’ll take” to travel, though her preferred travel destination would be South America.

“I really want to study abroad … My No. 1 is definitely South America,” Garcia said.

Offering a variety of study-abroad programs — both international and national — centered around different academic and cultural interests, there are many opportunities for those wishing to travel during their time studying with the University.

With four years of exploration ahead of her, Garcia is happily anticipating the start of the 2022-23 school year and the many freedoms that will accompany it.

Natalie Jude is the culture editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached on Twitter @nataloroni or at culture@dailylobo.com