As I scroll through my Instagram feed, I keep seeing freshly decorated dorms and eager (also slightly scared) faces; it’s college move in day! The first half of my freshman year was spent on a two hour car ride away from home, at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. I ultimately switched schools because it wasn’t economically feasible for me to stay; I was constantly worrying about financial aid, and in doing so I found I couldn’t really enjoy my time there and I couldn’t focus on classes. Marist College was my first choice school, and I applied early decision but now I truly believe there isn’t one specific school I’m supposed to attend.
However while I was away, and when I came home to continue at a local college, I learned a couple of important things about myself and college itself that I’d like to share with any incoming freshman that might be feeling a little uneasy about the adventure they’re about to embark on.
Roommates, roommates, roommates: If you’re staying on campus at your school, you’ll more than likely have a roommate (or in my case three roommates). While your school will have you fill out a room questionnaire to help put you in a room with someone who aligns with your personality the most, it’s not a perfect system. If your roommate or roommates are doing anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, speak up now or forever hold your peace. Having three roommates taught me patience, but also how to be there for someone when they really need it.
So little time, but so much stress: School work, clubs, internships, part time jobs, and a social life; you’re going to learn how to balance all of those things. It may not seem like it now, but you will. There isn’t one good way to balance them, you have to figure that out for yourself through trial and error. My recommendation? Invest in a calendar or a planner. And when it comes to stress sometimes it’s best to take a step back, breathe (or cry), and get back to it later with a fresh mind.
Homesickness: I cried as soon as my family left. You’re going to miss your family, and even your hometown no matter how much you swore you hated it in high school. It’s okay to feel homesick, and everyone around you feels homesick to a certain degree as well. Call your family and your friends back home, and never take a care package for granted.
All by myself: Remember how you rarely did anything alone in high school and always had friends to go shopping with or go to the movies with? Yeah you may not have that right away in college. You’re going to be very independent from here on out, but it’s actually fun to do things alone. Seriously. Don’t be afraid to see a movie alone, to go to the dining hall alone, or to go shopping by yourself (I actually found I shop better by myself). Plus, it’s good to have a little alone time especially when you’re surrounded by other people all the time.
Shower shoes are a must. There is nothing clean about those communal showers, so put on those rubber flip flops. My school did separate bathrooms by gender, and the bathroom was still disgusting. No one flushed, feminine products found themselves in the toilets, there were food particles in the sinks occasionally, and there was hair among other things in the showers. Don’t second guess the shower shoes.
Be your unapologetic self! Wear the outfit you were too scared to in high school. Live loudly and boldly, because who cares if the girl next to you in English 102 doesn’t like you; there’s a whole campus filled with people. Join whatever club you want, be friends with whoever you want, eat whatever you want, and most of all major in whatever you want. You’re carving out your future here.