There are always things that people tell you before going away to school that can sometimes make it difficult to do, or even know, what is right for you. I thought back to last summer before I went to JMU and came up with the statements below. After being at school for a year, I realized there were some things I wish I knew when I heard these statements for the first time.
“Don’t go home during school! You’ll miss out on everything.”
Reality: While you really should try not to go home in the first month, it is OKAY to go home. You miss your family, and they miss you, too! Being away for the first time can be very stressful, especially if you have not been away from your family before. In fact, if you can, go home at least once other than breaks. It is a great refresher and prepares you to take on the next wave of work in your classes.
“You have to be BFF’s with your roommate if you choose each other.”
Reality: You may really like your roommate, and you get along as roommates. The keyword being: roommates. You may not end up being best friends, but that fact forces you to widen your social circle and make new friends outside of your room! It is difficult living with someone for the first time - even if you think you know her. Living with someone else can be a total shock to some people.
“You have to drink to have fun.”
Reality: You do NOT have to drink to have fun. You do not have to drink at all. There are people who do not drink when they go out. If you would rather stay in, there are people who do not go out. And no! That does not make you a “loser.” You have to do what is right for you, and the people you become close with are the people who respect that.
“You should start making friends right away or you will never find where you are supposed to be.”
Reality: It is true that you should start making connections right away. However, “everything turns out fine in the end, and you do find your place. It might not happen within the first weeks, or first month, but it does happen.” –Katherine Hussey, 15
“You HAVE to join a sorority in order to make friends.”
Reality: I went through recruitment last year and I received a bid but I dropped after about two weeks because it was too overwhelming for me. I really needed more time to adjust to college in general. The girls I met in the process were amazing and I am glad to have gotten the opportunity to expand my circle of friends, but I have also made many friends in classes and just by saying hello to people in Starbucks.
Ultimately, I decided that I really would love to a member of a sorority and plan on going through the recruitment process once again. So, just know you can always change your mind! There are also a TON of non-Greek fraternities for other things like art majors, community service, and even languages. Everyone has a place, it may or may not be in the Greek community, but there is no harm in trying it out.