More than 12,000 students spent the sometimes rainy day hustling and bustling throughout the university searching for classes, ironing out schedules and meeting with old friends as well as making new ones.
Arnold Cano, an 18-year-old incoming freshman from San Juan, arrived on the campus two hours before his first scheduled class.
“I got here just a little early today to get my parking permit,” Cano said, enjoying the last few minutes before his first class while sitting under a tree. “I’ve never attended a college before, so I had no idea what to expect. I’m a little nervous, but just a little.”
Cano said UTPA has so far met with all his expectations of college life.
“College so far is great,” he noted. “It’s so different from high school, no one here judges you, you can be just who you are.”
Cano said he selected UTPA because he wanted to be near his family and because it is affordable for him.
“Other colleges are just so expensive,” he added. “If I do transfer to another college, it won’t be for another year or two.”
Jaime Cantu, an 18-year-old incoming freshman from Mission, agreed.
“If it wasn’t for Pan Am, I don’t know where I would go to college,” Cantu said. “Other colleges are just too expensive.”
Cantu said he hasn’t decided exactly what he will be majoring in, but said he felt confident that he would complete his studies.
“The big difference between college and high school is that in college you have to work for what you want,” he said. “ I plan on working hard on my education because it’s important to me as well as my family.”
Fabiola Moreno, a sophomore at UTPA, said she was on campus Monday to iron out a few wrinkles in her schedule.
“Things are always a little confusing during the first week of class,” Moreno said, “but I should be completely organized by next week.”
Moreno said she spent the summer visiting her father in Chicago, but was looking forward to getting back to class.
“It’s good to be home,” she said, while waiting for her next class in the Communications Arts and Sciences Building. “The weather might be a little hot, but there is nothing else like it.”
According to the Office of Admissions and Records at UTPA, as of last Friday (Aug. 28), 3,361 freshman are enrolled, 2,075 sophomores, 1,879 juniors, 2,645 seniors and 2,054 graduate students.