How to Survive Being a Late Comer

If you know anything about entering college midyear, you know that it’s far more difficult than starting in September. Being a transfer student or even just a late comer is like getting to a party and finding out everyone has already gone home.

Fortunately, with a little work you can get back on track and learn more about yourself than you ever have.

So after getting past the initial shock of being in a new place, what’s next for the late comer?

FIRST THING’S FIRST: Make yourself at home.

This first step is most specific to the dorming late comer, but can also apply to anyone moving to a new place for college.

Remember how comfy your room was at home? How your bed felt and how you saw a little reflection of yourself when you looked at the walls of your room? Well it’s time you made your new abode a little bit like home, because for the next several months...it will be. So bring your expensive tapestry, your favorite books, your baby pictures and whatever else will put you at ease, to do exactly that. No matter how homesick you are make an effort to feel at home, because that’s the only way it gets better.

NEXT THING’S NEXT: BE FRIENDLY

No matter how down and homesick you are, make sure you’re smiling because no one wants to get to know the moody antisocial newcomer who doesn’t make half an effort to be approachable. So whatever you do, don’t build your walls up so high that no one can see who you truly are.

ALSO: PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE

Just like you don’t want to be stand-offish, you have to be courageous enough to get to know people. This may be the most difficult step for the latecomer, because what separates the old and the new is time and people that have been in school from the start have had time to develop relationships. So when you sit down in your first class of the semester, turn to the person next to you and put yourself out there. Ask for the person’s number and suggest coffee or a study date, because the worst that can happen is that they say no (which says a lot more about them than you).

AT THE SAME TIME: GET INVOLVED

While being studious always comes first, being involved in extracurricular is also extremely important. The great thing about joining clubs or sports teams is that it’s a surefire way to meet people with the same interests as you. So head to campus recreations, student life, and activities fairs to find what your campus has to offer.

THEN: GET OUT

For the first days, weeks or months you may have to be more independent than you’ve ever had to be in your life. So on those days that you feel you couldn’t be more alone: get out. Get out of your room, because that’s the worst place to feel lonely. Get outside, go for a walk, get off campus and see what your city has to offer. If you’re in a sprawling metropolis, then you’re pretty much set and can easily google a fun thing to do alone in the city (just make sure you’re doing something in a safe place and a safe time of day). For those in more rural environments, even better! Go out and hike, go to your local coffee shop and people watch, take this time to make your own adventures.

So to all of the college late comers out there, remember it takes time to adjust. It does not and will not happen in one day. So be gentle with yourself in these lonely and stressful days and remember you are not alone. Remember to be independent and search for opportunities that will make you happy. While it’s not easy to be a latecomer it is doable.

If you are feeling like you can’t handle the stress and loneliness of being a latecomer also remember you always have people to talk to at your campus counseling center, make sure to take advantage of this resource.  

“The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” -Steve Jobs

“Don’t worry about being worried. You’re heading out on an adventure and you can always change your mind along the way and try something else.” -Tracy Kidder

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”. -George Bernard Shaw

“I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.” -Jose N. Harris

Don't forget to reward yourself for being bold, brave and incredibly you! If you follow these easy tips at the end of the semester you'll be able to say: