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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Going to Madison has its rights of passage, timely traditions and a school pride the size of the world. Here is what you are going to experience and love when you finally become a Badger. 

What to expect when you’re becoming a Badger

Congrats! You’re almost there. If you’re reading this, it means you’ve embarked on your first student experience on campus called SOAR. You’ve done the tour, you’ve registered for classes and your parents have already planned to book their hotel for parents weekend. If you don’t know this already, a word from the wise: book all your hotel needs FAR in advance. 

Aside from what you’ve been told at SOAR, campus visits and your friends already in school, there are a lot of things that you will encounter as a Badger student. Similar to a book for helping people when they’re expecting a child or some other big life event, this article aims to prepare you for what being birthed into the Badger family is going to feel like. 

Get ready to be bursting with Badger spirit

If you haven’t already seen videos on YouTube, Wisconsin game days are some of the biggest and most important factors of fall semester. This isn’t an exaggeration by any means either. The spirit around the entire fall semester feels like the 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, New Years and every other holiday all wrapped into one.

Our fight song, Varsity, Build Me Up Buttercup and of course, Jump Around will echo through Camp Randall stadium as well as your dorm your first game day in undergrad life, and the pride that comes along with being a Badger is buzzing through the air. Your closet will accumulate an obscene amount of cardinal red and white — but never too much, as there is no such thing. 

Don’t worry about not knowing any words, by the second game, you’ll be a pro.

Falling in love with Madison

The friends that you meet will quickly become your “Madison family,” and you will continue to grow closer over dinners at Gordon, Rheta’s, Dejope or any other dining hall on campus and late nights at the library. Being a Badger goes beyond the classroom and into the unique opportunities that the city and university have to offer. 

After class, grab a couple friends and watch the sun go down over Lake Mendota at the Memorial Union Terrace or hit the farmers’ market on a Saturday morning.  All of the changes  don’t really become real until you complete your first day of classes.

Being a Badger is all about continuing traditions and creating the future of UW. In this competitive atmosphere, know that you are worthy of being a Badger, and that you belong in Madison. Now is your chance to not only pave the way for those after you, but make history here as well. 

Before you go

Whether you feel like you’ve been needing 10,000 other classmates your whole life, or you are trying to go out of your comfort zone, coming to a big school like ours is daunting. It is a lot. Everything I’ve told you has been the general experience of most of my friends, but that doesn’t include everyone. 

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When going into college, the most important thing to remember is that everyone’s experience is different and changes them in different ways. Everyone endures different challenges and obstacles throughout their four, five or six years on campus, and that is what makes UW a perfect place to find yourself. 

Never forget that once you’re a Badger, you’re always a Badger, and the experiences you have here will not only change your life but change the lives of your Badger classmates. There is always a place for you here. Welcome to the family and On, Wisconsin! 

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