A Fresh(man’s) Perspective: My Thoughts on Transitioning to FSU

Long before I ever started thinking about life after high school, it was not lost on me that college was a huge transition. Whether it was Max in An Extremely Goofy Movie struggling to gain independence from his dad, or Raven-Symoné in College Road Trip stressing about which university to attend, it was clear to my elementary school self that when the time came for me to make these decisions, it’d be difficult, to say the least. The time came this past year, and while I haven’t had to deal with my parents sitting in class disguised as a student or hiding underneath the bed of a potential sorority sister, I am going through my fair share of challenges that come with being a college freshman.

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Florida State University welcomed its largest freshman class in school history this fall and I could not be more grateful or proud to be part of the 6,200+ noles starting college for the first time. Within my freshman class are individuals I will never get to meet, fellow members of various clubs and organizations, best friends, and world-changers. This reality was both exciting and daunting -  and I dealt with it by seeking involvement. I applied to write for HerCampus while I was still in high school, went through recruitment the week before classes started, accepted free t-shirts and food at every involvement fair, and attended interest meetings for many of the university’s incredible organizations. After the second week of trying to join everything within my line of vision, I called my dad sobbing. I started to lose it in the drive-thru of a Krispy Kreme over having to pick which donut I wanted. Feeling completely overwhelmed, I wondered how I’d ever find my “place” at FSU if I couldn’t even pull it together long enough to order in a drive-thru line. Don’t get me wrong – involvement is oftentimes what makes your experience at school, work, or in your community and I highly encourage it. What I had to recognize, though, was that I have the next 4 years and all of campus to explore where I really want to give my time. I can guarantee you that no one, especially not me, found their place on week two of freshman year. The happy ending to having forced my roommate to give up her parking spot in Traditions only to spend two hours crying in Krispy Kreme with the wrong donut is that I learned to give myself a break. After taking the time to recoup, I returned to those activities that were working out and cut my losses with the ones that weren’t. My encouragement to anyone who worries they’ll never find their “place” on campus is: don’t. It won’t be instantaneous but it will happen and take care of yourself in between.

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From walking aimlessly around Landis to laying on the floor of my dorm room just trying to kill time between classes, I have struggled with establishing a daily routine these first few weeks. Up to this point, my schedule has pretty much always been made for me and all I had to do was follow it. Don’t get me wrong, I do not at all miss the draining day-to-day that was high school, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t get bored sometimes. Most freshmen, like myself, are still figuring out how they want to spend their newfound free time. I’ve found it incredibly helpful to lay out my week before it even starts and build a routine depending on the day and class that I have. The key is attempting to stick with it. I can honestly say that I have come to love the things that are starting to feel familiar about my week, whether it be getting a bento box from 1851 after my 4 o-clock, or doing homework in the same study room. Creating your own schedule means that you’re aware of what you can and can’t handle that week, which will work to combat any unnecessary mental breakdowns or all-nighters you might’ve otherwise had - unless you’re a procrastinator because that’s an entirely different conversation.

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Excusing the Krispy Kreme meltdown that I mentioned earlier, I was impressed at how well I was holding it together being away from my family for the first time. Then again, your first few weeks of freedom don’t often allow for any thought of missing home. Figuring out how to get from point A to point B, driving on Tennessee Street, and mastering the printer in Strozier all had me feeling like I was killing it being on my own. But I think one thing we can all agree on was the onset of homesickness that hit when it was time to do the first load of laundry. Or when the fifth night of making ramen in the dorm just wasn’t cutting it. To be honest, in the past two weeks I’ve contacted my parents more times than they’ve contacted me. All of this to say, while I am thoroughly enjoying stumbling through my freshman year here at Florida State, I can’t help but think about how “home” is a completely different place for me now. I might never live under the same roof as my parents again. It’s not as easy to pick my sister up from school and take her to Starbucks. I am so fortunate to have a family that helped me get to where I am and wants to see my success now that I’m here, and it took moving 5 hours away from them to realize it. To all of my fellow freshman who are falling in love with FSU but missing home every time someone’s late to get their clothes out of the dryer, or you’re swiping in to Suwannee instead of sitting down to a home-cooked meal, or you see a dog that reminds you of your own on Landis, I’m right there with you.

Courtesy: Addy Crosby

So, there you have it - my raw and honest thoughts and revelations as I've transitioned into life here at Florida State University. I hope to encourage those like myself that, slowly but surely, we will figure it out. Put yourself out there, get enough sleep, call your family, and as always, go noles!