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Adapting to the College Lifestyle As a Freshman

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Montclair chapter.

Becoming a college student can be one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking experiences of your life. The change from high school to college is probably one of the biggest in your lifetime. Being on your own for the first time is something new for most college freshmen.

As a college freshman myself, there were a lot of expectations I came in with that were either correct or far off. One of the biggest expectations I had was that I was going to find friends within the first few days here. I was wrong in so many ways. Throughout the first few days at college, you’ll meet and hang out with new people each day, and the cycle continues as time goes on. You’re constantly meeting new people and then not seeing them again, and it’s fun but draining at the same time.

On my first day, I expected to find my best friends the first few hours I was here, but that’s not necessarily how it works (at least not for me). I also had the expectation I would be on the go and have something to do 24/7. This is definitely not the case. There are so many moments when you’ll be alone and have no plans whatsoever in college, and the best idea is to take advantage of this time by doing your homework, calling your family and friends, etc.

College classes are definitely a lot different than your high school classes, as well. You have a lot more freedom in these classes, but you need to learn how to use that freedom wisely. In college, there’s no one telling you to go to class or do your assignments, so you need to learn how to keep track of what you need to do yourself. You should definitely get a planner, digital or paper, to help you keep track of your class schedule and assignments.

One of my biggest problems when adjusting to college was being on my own for the first time. I was so used to relying on my family for different things in my life, but now I can’t do that anymore. I’ll be honest; I never did my own laundry before I got to college, and I was not excited to try. It wasn’t that hard to learn, but I definitely would’ve preferred not having to worry about it. I was definitely homesick too when I first got here. I probably called my mom about five times a day for the first few days. It’s definitely hard for most freshmen to adapt to not being home anymore and being in a brand new place with new people you’ve never met before. As the weeks went by and classes started, I definitely got used to being here, and I don’t miss home as much anymore.

Another thing that’s definitely hard to adapt to in college is the party culture. Whether the school you attend is big or small, there are definitely parties going on. These parties are a lot different than ones you might have attended in high school too. One big piece of advice about partying in college is to always go with a group of friends you know and trust and to be safe. A lot of advice that your parents give you for these parties is good and something that you should follow. You need to make sure that you know your limits and are aware of your surroundings so nothing bad happens to you at these parties.

There are so many aspects that make adjusting to college difficult. It will definitely be hard at first when you get here, but that helps you in the long run. I’m definitely still learning how to adapt to all of the new experiences here, but so far I feel like I’m on the right track.

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Emily Spillar

Montclair '25

Emily is a Junior, Communication & Media Studies major at Montclair State University. She loves all things fashion and beauty, while also finding new experiences.