Moving away to college is a challenging, intimidating, overwhelming, and exciting time. Leaving everything you’ve known your whole life and starting over in a new place is scary! A month ago I was in my childhood home (very) anxiously anticipating that big step and feeling afraid of what would come next. And though I haven’t been here long, I feel that I’ve grown a lot in the last month. Here are some things that I have learned.
- People in college are way nicer than they were in high school
At my high school, the thing everyone cared about most was what other people were doing, and sharing their opinion on it. Loudly. In high school, everyone had a critique about the things you were doing, and they were not afraid to share it and share your business with all of their friends. Gossiping fuels the fire of all the hatred that is high school culture and college is simply not like that. In college, people go about their days, smile when you walk past them on campus, and honestly, just don’t really care about others’ personal business. It’s refreshing and it’s contagious.
- You need good walking shoes
I know I’ve only been here a month, but I’m not sure if I will ever get used to walking up or down Jeff Hill. I’m embarrassingly out of breath by the time I get to my lecture halls and after the day is all said and done, I have walked miles around campus and my legs are tired and sore. It’s more walking than I anticipated, and without a good pair of walking shoes I’m not sure if I would be making it to class anymore!
- No matter how alone you feel, there’s somebody else who feels the exact same way
Whether it’s missing your family, worrying about an assignment, feeling lost around campus, or disliking the dining hall food, someone else here feels the same way. That’s the thing about being in a new place like this, it’s a new place for lots of people. For a portion of us currently on campus, we have only been here for a month and are still learning the ropes and that’s okay! Developing an entirely new routine and life takes time. And soon enough we will have found our groups, learned which Green is East Green and which is West Green, and which dining hall we should definitely not eat at. But for right now, we are all lost and confused and figuring this whole adulting thing out together, and for me it makes the change seem less frightening.
- Local restaurants and coffee shops are always better
In my hometown, local restaurants and coffee shops are few and far between. That leaves mainstream chain restaurants as the place to go. The weeks and months leading up to move-in day, I made sure I visited all of my favorite restaurants that I wouldn’t have here in Athens. And all of my friends would ask me, “What are you going to do without Chick fil a? Without McDonald’s? Or Canes?” and I didn’t know what to tell them because before I got here I wasn’t sure. Chain restaurants were the only places I went to. But in the last month, Athens and all of the local treasures have stolen a piece of my heart. I spend my days studying at Brenen’s on Court Street, choose Big Mamma’s Burritos over Chipotle, and I’m currently writing this from the couch of Court Street Coffee. And supporting local businesses is always a good thing! Although I’ll always be a Cincinnati girl at heart, and I miss Skyline Chili a little more than I should.
- Your professors actually do want you to succeed
Walking into my first college class ever, I was terrified. All through high school, teachers burned it into our minds that college, “wouldn’t be like high school,” and professors, “wouldn’t be as generous,” as they were. But after meeting and interacting with my professors, they’re not as intimidating as high school teachers made them out to be. I can speak for all professors, and maybe I just got lucky my first semester, but all of my professors are very approachable, helpful, and wish for success for their students.