UT is extremely lucky to have the Strip, which provides a multitude of places for new people to meet in a convenient location. If you get bored with what the Strip has to offer, the Old City is always an option. There are so many nightspots in Knoxville, there is a pretty good chance you will find something that fits your personality. Most freshmen, however, will not have access to these places until they turn 21. Five years ago, bars on the Strip let just about anybody in. Security has been extremely tightened in recent years due to a few mishaps, and the police keep a close eye on any large concentration of party-goers.
Until your 21st, there are still plenty of places you can go and socialize. Have a good time, and be careful so you can return next year to party!