A Fresh Perspective: Settling In

BDDRyanAs freshmen, the transition to college can be exciting but also nerve-wracking. For me, it was a combination of both. We are so ready to leave the nest and be on our own that we sometimes don’t think about what it really takes to live by ourselves. 10726649_10153479998695752_1997461677_n

I struggled with getting in the pattern of doing everything for myself. I had two weeks of dishes piled in my dish cubby before I realized I was the one who needed to wash them. 

The best pieces of advice I can give to any students – not just freshmen – is do not get behind on anything, get out and meet people and be involved. Getting out there creates an enormous number of connections with people, who can help you adjust and get through those rough days.

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Another piece of advice: It’s just easier on you and your roommate if you stay on top of things. Sit down with your roommate and talk about your expectations.. Don’t just do the roommate agreement; actually talk to him or her. The best thing I ever did to calm my nerves about living away from home and with a stranger was talking to Chris (my roommate). Not only are we helping each other get through things, we are really good friends.

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Last thing to add: enjoy yourself. You are here for four years; make it an enjoyable time.

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* * * * * * * *

BDDAnnaliseAs fall begins to roll through campus, adjusting to the cool weather when walking to and from classes and meetings reminds me how bittersweet the transition is from high school to college.

The first month has set a new high in terms of free living, being able to hang out with new people at any time of the day and not having class for eight straight hours, Monday through Friday. I do appreciate the freedom, but I also have learned that such freedom of living comes at a price – and I’m not just talking tuition.

 The bitter:

  • You miss the people (and pets) you left back home.

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Sure, it’s nice to try things on your own, but you can’t just walk into the next room and chat with mom and dad about your day and the complications it brought. You have to make a conscious effort to pick up the phone and call them when it not only meets your schedule but theirs too.

As the weeks go on, you find so many clubs and activities you want to be part of. Just sending a quick text to check in with everyone back home becomes extremely hard.

2At the end of the day, those people matter and you still need to make sure they know it, even though you’ve started a new chapter.

  • It’s all you now
  • Waking up on time for class
  • Showing up for class
  • Making sure the dishes are clean
  • Having clean clothes to wear
  • Eating healthy
  • Managing your spending
  • Going to bed at a decent time
  • Locking the door behind you
  • Studying enough and staying off of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.

The list goes on and on, but overall everything is up to you now. Parents might have an impact here and there via lectures over the phone, but like I said it’s all up to you how things play out. Not to mention, the consequences are all on you too.

Now, don’t let the bitter over power the sweetness!

The sweetness:

  • New people, new places, new things (Oh my!)

4Around every corner is something or someone new. I’ve been craving this adventure for what seems like forever. Plus, I’m lucky to get along with my roommate. We do almost everything together and have expanded our group of friends with each new adventure, whether it’s hitting up meals between classes, playing ping pong in the basement of our residence hall or catching a free concert.

  • You can find pieces of home around every corner.

5Living away from home is challenging and rewarding all at the same time. For me, the simple things like meeting someone from a rival school back home is so much fun. I enjoy reminiscing with them about those football games that were a close call. Also, I am incredibly fortunate to have various people from high school join me at UW-Stout. They keep me looking forward and remind me that home isn’t far away when things get challenging.

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