A Case of the Freshman Blues

 

 

When it was finally time to pack up my bags and head to Ohio for college, I was a little bit nervous but mostly excited. I had waited all summer for this moment, and I couldn’t wait to start college life in a new place. The newness of everything, from being in a different state to being in an entirely different community, was something I had anticipated enjoying. I soon came to realize that college would be a much larger adjustment than I had thought. 

The “honeymoon” phase wore off before orientation even ended, and I found myself distraught over small things. Though I had purposely chosen a small campus, I felt lost in every possible way. I missed my friends, my family, my room, and the sense of familiarity I felt at the school I had attended the past seven years, where I knew everyone’s name and favorite color. I was calling my friends, my parents, even reaching out to past teachers. I felt misled...wasn’t college supposed to be the best four years of your life? I am beginning to realize that struggling your first semester in college is a lot more common than most people let on. Whether you moved down the road or left the country for college, moving away from home for the first time is a daunting experience; all of the sudden you’re in charge of your schedule, you’re probably living in a room with at least one other person, and you have to seek out new relationships, all while you’re trying to get used to your new environment. I’m only finishing week three of college, but I am beginning to discover things that help me feel more secure and comfortable. I am hoping that these things might be helpful to anyone else who might be experiencing something similar:

 

  1. Get active with other people: Whether it’s going to the gym with a friend or trying a workout class, getting active releases endorphins and helps you feel less stressed. When you do it with others, you open the door to new relationships. I tried a free Zumba class this past week and had a blast attempting to dance alongside others who showed up. It was fun and took my mind off things as I tried my hardest to follow the instructor’s fast paced dance moves. 

  2. Call home: It’s okay to call home. Your people want to hear from you. They want to know how you’re feeling. They’ll remind you that you aren’t really alone, even if it feels like it. When I reached out to my best friend from home about how I was feeling, he gave me some solid advice: “call home at night, and try to be present with the people around you during the day.” 

  3. Make your dorm feel like home: Your dorm room is your new home, so make it feel like it. I live in a triple, and our original arrangement wasn’t ideal. Our three beds were in a row and it felt cramped. We took matters into our own hands and rearranged our room so that two of the beds were made into a bunk, allowing for a lot more space! We added lights and a tapestry. I had no idea how much I needed that change until it happened!

  4. Sign up for things that interest you: Signing up for hercampus is the best choice I’ve made here. I already feel a part of a small community of strong, supportive women! Go to things because they interest you and not because you feel like you need to meet people. Friendships seem to just happen, and you’re likely to find friendships in a space where you share a common interest. 

  5. Be patient: This is something I’m working on. It’s easy to jump to conclusions about yourself and question the decisions you made, but change is hard. Forming relationships and routines takes time. As one of my favorite teachers said, “growing pains are called that for a reason!” 

In conclusion, the transition from high school to college is a big one. The freedom can be both daunting and exciting. I hope that these tips gave you some ideas about ways that you can feel more comfortable at your school.