Recently, I got a news notice from my alma mater and the main topic was “Welcome Week”. Nearly every college in the country has this week which is a basically just another term for orientation week. A whole new group of new students will be entering various campuses and for many of these students, it will be the start of a new chapter in their lives. It will be the first time that many will be living on their own for any extended period of time. A huge and brand new experience awaits many young adults in this country.
I once had that experience myself; it was time to move off to a 4 year school and I can remember that day like it was yesterday. I had many mix feelings of that day when it finally arrived. In some ways, I was extremely excited to have that much-needed freedom of living on my own and not under the tyranny of my parent’s home. However, I had many good friends who I would be greatly missing and the thought of being extremely homesick really crossed my mind. Sure I would be coming home frequently to visit, but leaving my girlfriend back home would be extremely difficult.
One of the major adjustments that I had to make was adapting to the lack of privacy that living in a college dorm brings. Many incoming freshman come from homes where they have their own rooms and plenty of access to any bathroom. That is not the case with a typical college dorm. You are required to share a bathroom with several people along with the showers. The dorm I was living in had 2 shower stalls for 10 people. As you can imagine, their was a little jam in the morning to use the showers. And of course, the idea that you will have complete peace and quiet in a dorm is a far-fetched dream. There are always those individuals who feel the need to stay up late at night and create some noise due to an overindulgence in alcohol. Looking back at my college years, I don’t know how I ever survived living in those dorms! But do not be alarmed. Eventually you get used to the lack of privacy. I know I did.
If someone who is going off to college came to me for advice, I would tell them a couple of things. First of all, get involved with many activities. There is a lot more to college than just going to class and studying all the time. Get involved in groups that share your interests. By doing that, you will meet many new and exciting friends. While on the meeting new people topic, don’t be afraid to take the initiative. Invite those new dorm mates of yours to dinner at the dinning hall. Or get together to play some touch football or other games. Little social activities can really go a long ways in developing deep friendships. I also think that it is very important to keep an open mind in meeting new people. Just because that person down the hall from you has a weird poster in their room doesn’t mean that they are to be avoided like the plague. You never know, that individual could end up being your good friend for life.
Going off to college is definitely one of the top moments in a person’s life. Some people handle it better than others. Many young adults get a bad case of home-sickness. That is very common and can be a major problem. Sometimes going off to college and the school you picked out is not what you thought it would be. I would definitely give it a chance though. Wait for a least a semester before making a decision to leave. The first school that I attended was not what I wanted and I decided to transfer the following year. Ideally, you want to stay at a school for 4 years but why waste your time and money for such as huge investment if you are not happy.
I want to wish any young person who is going off to college this fall the best of luck and may your next 4 years of school be the best years of your life. With the right approach and attitude, it will be.