First semester is pretty much over. We can all agree that this semester was anything but normal. The University of Delaware this semester was primarily online and had very limited on-campus housing. Other schools in the country had more conventional semesters, allowing on-campus housing, roommates and some in-person classes. In this interview, Her Campus talks with a college freshman from the University of South Florida, a university that held its fall semester in person, as well as online.
Her Campus: Hi, Ella. Thank you so much for agreeing to chat with me about your first semester of freshman year and how adjusting back to life at home is going. First, what university do you attend, and what is your major?
Ella Rovnak: I am currently attending the University of South Florida and am majoring in nursing.
HC: This semester, where did you live, and when did you come back home?
ER: I live on campus in Poplar Hall. I arrived home in Maryland on November 25th.
HC: What was your favorite part of being on campus?
ER: My favorite parts about living on campus were being able to explore a new environment, meet other students my age and form more personal bonds with new people since I saw them all day.
HC: What did you have to learn/adjust to this semester since you were living away from home for the first time?
ER: I had to learn how to hold myself accountable for simple things that I used to not think about. I had to remind myself to eat all my meals, to go to bed at an appropriate time and to manage my days. I also had to adjust to the fact that I was responsible for myself and that there was no one checking up on me and telling me what to do.
HC: How did you feel about leaving campus for break?
ER: I was really sad about having to leave all my friends and the warm weather. I got used to the warmth and was not ready to come back to Maryland’s colder temperatures.
HC: What has been the hardest part of being back home?
ER: The hardest part of being back home is having to move all my stuff back and not having one place where everything is. My parents are divorced, and having to get back into the rhythm of switching back and forth between houses has been taking a toll on me.
HC: What has been your favorite part of being back home?
ER: My favorite part of being back home is having home-cooked meals again and alone time. On campus, I was constantly surrounded by people, and it is nice to be able to take a step back and focus on myself.
HC: What are your plans for winter break?
ER: My plans for winter break are hanging out with my hometown friends, doing arts and crafts, catching up on TV shows and going to visit family. I am excited to be able to have time to do the things I enjoy without stressing about school and grades the entire time.
HC: How different is it living with your parents versus living with your roommates?
ER: It is very different. Living with your roommates is like having a sleepover every night and constantly being able to have fun and do whatever you want. Living back home with my parents means my life is structured again. I now have to report to my parents where I am going and stay more on top of how clean my room is and how late I stay out.
HC: When do you return to USF? How do you feel about returning to campus?
ER: I return to USF on January 8th. I am excited to go back and be able to live in Florida again. I also miss the campus amenities, like the gym. I know that when I go back, I am going to have to readjust to college life. I am upset that when I return to campus, I will be leaving my family and hometown friends though.
HC: Do you have any tips for other college freshmen who are returning home for break?
ER: Be patient and mindful that life at home has been going out without you. Understand that just because you left for a while, that does not mean that your expectations at home are any different. You still need to do chores, go to bed at a reasonable time and let your parents know what your plans are.
HC: Do you have any tips for college freshmen that get to move on campus for the first time in the spring?
ER: Make sure to put school first, and don’t get too caught up in all the freedom that you are going to have. Attend lectures if they are live, and do not bail on school work to go hang out with your friends. Go with the flow, step out of your comfort zone and be open to new experiences and new friendships. An extra tip is to plan out your week so you know what you are doing each day because it is super easy to get caught up in everything that is happening on campus.
HC: Once again, thank you for talking with me! I hope your winter break serves as a time for you to relax and take a step back.
ER: No problem! I really enjoyed talking to you.
Whether you were home or on campus this past semester, Her Campus hopes your winter break at home goes well! Remember to stay safe and that if we do everything right, hopefully we will be all back together soon on campus!