Last year, I began my journey as a college student. Living on my own, five hours away from home. I was worried about being homesick, but I figured that I could go home as often as I wanted. I had chosen to live in a dorm that none of my high school friends lived in. Although I did know a few people from my high school, I was not very close to them, so I felt as though I was starting over at a new school. Except for this time, I was living on the opposite side of the state.
After finishing my freshman year, the one thing I would recommend for incoming freshman is to take advantage of the opportunities given to you. Living in a dorm can help tremendously with meeting new people. The university also plans events for the first week you arrive at school. They have nights where you can go socialize with other students in your grade and get free food. Please take advantage of these opportunities!! It changed my attitude about school. I went from nervous and homesick to excited and optimistic.
For me, move in day made me slightly anxious because I realized that I am moving somewhere without my family and friends. I was about to live on my own… but guess what? This day I met so many new people in my dorm. People who felt the same way as me and were all in the same situation. Everyone was walking through the halls, getting their stuff moved in at the same time. The doors to every room were all open because you literally cannot shut them when boxes are blocking every aisle way. I met one person that day, someone that is now one of my best friends. She lived diagonally from me, across the hall, and came in to introduce herself. Her name is Emily. We didn’t become best friends right away, it happened throughout the week. We went to an event together during the first week of school. It was a “welcome week” event that honestly changed my whole attitude of college.
The week of move in, I went to a welcome week event with Emily, the girl I had met on move-in day. The event was held at the student union building. They had free food, basketball, Karaoke and more. It was kind of overwhelming seeing all the other freshman students, but it was fun going with a new friend I had just met. We went to the karaoke room and watched people get up on stage and do karaoke. We also met people while we were standing next to them and just started dancing and singing along to the songs. It was so much fun just letting loose and dancing with strangers who were about to be my classmates for the next four years. We had no intention of getting up on stage, we thought every going up was so brave… Eventually, about five songs later, we decided to go up on stage and sing with two other girls we met that night. First, I was terrified because I have stage fright and barely knew anyone in the crowd of at least 100 other freshmen, but I did it. We requested to sing Start of Something New, from high school musical. I thought it was kind of ironic because, like Gabriella, I was a new student in a new town, dancing with people I had only met just recently. I could really relate to that song. I had gone outside my comfort zone and sang in front of 100+ people, at a new school, new town, and new people. The reaction we got from the crowd was riveting. People started singing along, dancing and clapped when we were done. It was straight out of high school musical.
This experience made me so excited to start college. I didn’t want to go at first. I just wanted to stay in my room, finish decorating and facetime my friends from home. Emily really helped me just forget about home and encouraged me to go and meet new people.
To any incoming freshman reading this, I encourage you to go outside your comfort zone and meet new people. Attend these “welcome week” events that you may think are silly. You may think that people are just going to stay with the people from their high school. But you never know who you will meet. Those who are attending are there for a reason, they want to meet new people. They went to socialize and get to know other students.