Adjusting to college life is certainly challenging in many different aspects. For almost all new students, being at college is their first time being away from their homes and families. College can be overwhelming, especially if you are hours away from home. I talked with some first- and second-year students here at SUNY Plattsburgh to gather some tips and tricks to navigate college life.
Living in a dorm
Lisa Cimino, a sophomore at SUNY Plattsburgh, explained how the transition from living at home to living in a dorm was difficult for her. She expressed how living at home is much different, and the adjustment came along with challenges.
“Living in a dorm was not as bad as I thought, but adjusting to a new environment took me some time,” Cimino said.
Another sophomore at SUNY Plattsburgh, Erin Gelsomino, said it was a big change from living in a room by herself to having a shared space. She talked about how the biggest difficulty for her was the communal bathroom adjustment.
“It was really interesting to me how some people don’t respect shared spaces,” Gelsomino said.
Cimino and Gelsomino explained how it was a change going from cooking and eating whatever you want at home to eating at school. It can take a bit to figure out the campus dining situation, since it’s all new.
“The dining hall food is quite different from the food I was used to eating. It took me some time to figure out what foods I liked and didn’t throughout my first semester,” Cimino said.
Gelsomino said it was not a terribly difficult adjustment for her. She noted it is a little bit harder, as someone who doesn’t have a car, to get groceries and cook for herself.
“I definitely had to get used to the food offered on campus. It wasn’t terrible, but I will say on weekends there are limited options which makes the eating situation difficult at times,” Gelsomino said.
Homesick during your college years is inevitable. It is a completely normal feeling to experience when being separated from home, friends, and family. As someone who is a sophomore in college, I still feel homesick once and a while. So how do you cure this?
Cimino explained how she was very homesick during her first semester of college, but it got better her second semester. Something that helped her was planning out times when she would go home to see her family and friends.
“Planning when to see my loved ones gave me something to look forward to and helped me find a good balance between visiting home and staying at school,” Cimino said.
Gelsomino also spoke about how she has only been away from home for a week or week and a half at a time, so being at college was a huge adjustment for her. Something that alleviated her home sickness was calling home. She also said how her mom sent her a few surprise care packages.
“I really enjoy calling my family, even if it’s just for five minutes. It’s always nice to hear their voices and see their faces,” Gelsomino said.
Not everything that comes with college living is difficult, some things can actually be an easy adaptation.
Yashab Raymi, a college sophomore, explained how the easiest adjustment for college was the people. Raymi moved into college during the middle of the year, so everyone already knew each other, which spiked some nerves for him. A couple days later, he became close with some of the guys on his floor which he described as making school “feel like home.”
“Making friends with all the guys on my floor was something that really helped me adjust to college living. You just have to put yourself out there and not be stuck in your room all the time,” Raymi said.
Gelsomino expressed how living with someone was an easy adjustment for her. She described that living with someone can be a little awkward at first, but it usually ends up being quite fun.
“Living with someone has made being away from home much easier and much more enjoyable,” Gelsomino said.
Cat Rowan is a new student at SUNY Plattsburgh, and her overall tip for college living is to simply stay organized. She explained how being organized is your top priority because your work is easily going to pile up and stress you out.
Raymi’s overall tip for college students is to make your room feel as close to home as possible, but not to be in it too much. He expressed how leaving his room and going to talk to new people helped a lot because he made new friends and created a lot of life-long connections.
“Another thing that helped me was also having a roommate you get along well with. This doesn’t happen to everyone, but you should just try to get along with them anyways,” Raymi said.
Cimino said you need to be open to everything. You are going to experience many different types of people and experiences during your college years, which can shape you into the future.
“Although it can be easy to be closed-minded, college is all about having new experiences, whether they are what you expect or not,” Cimino said.
Gelsomino suggested embracing all of the emotions you are feeling. College is a huge adjustment for everyone, whether long-term or short-term.
“Don’t beat yourself up if it’s not going exactly how you expected. You are definitely not alone,” Gelsomino said.
College living is certainly not easy, but there are ways to have a smoother transition and experience. Remember to stay organized, put yourself out there, embrace all the emotions, and, of course, have fun.