Transitioning into college can be hard, I’ll be the first to admit that. It’s an adjustment, that’s for sure, leaving your home, your parents, your friends, everything. You’re being thrown into a completely new environment with an entirely new population around you. It can be tough, especially for people like me, coming from a different state, where the majority of URI is from under a half an hour away. It was a little rough, but there are definitely ways to survive.
1. Keep your door open
Especially for the first few weeks, when everyone in your hall is looking to make new friends. My roommates and I met some of our best friends by walking around on the 3rd day of school and popping our heads into open rooms, asking if anyone wanted to play Spoons in the lounge. You don’t have to be a master conversationalist, but keeping your door open grants you more opportunities.
2. Get Involved
It sounds cheesy and is said way too often, but that’s only because it’s true. Being part of a group that is interested in the same things that you are, or is cut from the same cloth, as they say, is really helpful. The majority of my best friends were found through auditioning and being a part of an on-campus a cappella group. Music was always an interest of mine, and pursuing it helped me adjust much better and faster.
3. Plan visits home in advance
This isn’t something you hear a lot, but I found it very helpful. Most people will tell you not to go home every weekend, that it detracts from the college experience. I agree with that, but I would suggest planning a few trips back far in advance. This is helpful for the first few weeks when you just want to go home, and you don’t think the college life is for you. It’s nice to be able to count down the days until you see your parents again, or more importantly, your pets.
4. Don’t be afraid to speak up
Feeling homesick is one of the worst things in the world, I can attest to that. It’s no fun when it seems like everyone around you is adjusted and having so much fun, and you feel like you’re the only one who is struggling. It is important to remember, that is not the case. It’s helpful to find someone, whether it be a friend, RA, or adviser, who you can talk to and ugly cry with, if needed.
5. Realize that nothing is permanent.
Transferring is ok. Choosing a different path is ok. Changing majors, definitely ok. Nothing you do is so permanent that it can’t be changed later. Just make sure you give yourself enough time to know that it’s really what you want.
6. Come prepared to make sacrifices, but don’t allow yourself to be walked on
Living in a dorm is a big change for most people, with constant presence of others, small rooms, and communal bathrooms. You need to expect that just because you’re used to falling asleep in total darkness and silence, doesn’t mean that’s going to be the case. Be prepared to have to deal with new problems, but also stick up for yourself, if you feel like you are being treated unfairly. Just do it nicely.
7. Be yourself.
There will be people you will meet that will like you. But there will also be people that don’t. Be prepared for this, and be okay with it. Remember that you don’t have to change for anyone else, and that you are perfect just the way you are.
The first year of college can be a hard time for incoming freshman, but the main thing to remember is that it’s all going to be okay. You will figure everything out, even if this isn’t the exact plan you expected. Everything will work out.