An Open Letter to ALL UMASS Dartmouth Incoming Freshmen

An Open Letter to ALL UMASS Dartmouth Incoming Freshmen

Dear Incoming Freshmen: Welcome to My World.
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Dear freshmen,

As an incoming college freshman, I'm sure you're feeling one of two ways: 1) Oh no... college... this is scary. I won't know anyone, and I'm going to be on my own for the first time. What if I don't know where to go or what to do? My classes are going to be so hard and I'm going to get lost and I should probably just stay home, or... 2) OH MY GOD COLLEGE I CAN'T WAIT TO MOVE IN I FINALLY GET MY OWN SPACE I'M AN ADULT MY DORM IS GONNA BE SO COOL ROOMMATES AND PARTIES AND ADULTING YAY. Either way, college is a new experience that can be life changing for all of us. However, attending college at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth will provide you an experience like no other.


As an incoming UMASS Dartmouth student, there are a few things you should know upon arrival. Typically, we have more male than female students. We have students representing 43 of the 50 United States, and 48 countries across the globe. We have over 75 undergraduate areas of study, two pre-professional pathways (pre-law and pre-med), and an undeclared track in four different major areas. We have over 150 student run clubs including Greek Life (fraternities and sororities), the Black Student Union, and an a cappella group. There are endless opportunities for student involvement, as well as ample opportunity to create new clubs or groups if we don't already have something that interests you. We are home to a multitude of betterment and awareness organizations including Active Minds, Eovove, and Global Health Collaborative. There are also multiple opportunities for student employment and professional advancement. The university offers many paid positions, work study and other, including library staff, the student activities department (SAIL) and undergraduate teacher's assistants.


You can find all of that information on our school's website. However, what you can't always find on our school's website is the real deal about some of this stuff. This might be the fun stuff, like that you can almost always find a crazy party if you look hard enough, or the not-so-fun stuff, like the fact that you're at least somewhat likely to fail an exam or two during your time on campus. But there's other things that some of us veterans wish we knew when we were walking in your shoes. First, the freshman quad is the least impressive of the living arrangements, but what did you expect as a freshman? You get two parking lots and a volleyball court and us seniors think that makes us even. The dells are.. crazy. To this day, I'm not entirely sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but you've been warned. As a freshman, you will more than likely get rejected to at least one party. You'll get over it, and everyone will move on with their lives. No one, and I mean literally not a single person on this campus calls the dining hall "The Marketplace." Short for "residential dining hall," it's res. That's it. Additionally, you don't know anythingggggg until you've had a Rose cookie. One day, you'll meet Rose. You'll eat a Rose cookie. Then you'll know. Networking is crucial. Get yourself out there and meet people, and never burn your bridges. You never gonna know who's help you're going to need one day. We offer hundreds of clubs. Go out of your way to research them and then check them all out at the Corsair Fair. I promise you, you will regret not being more involved as you cross that stage on graduation day (which, even though you like don't even go here yet, is waaaaay closer than you think). Go to those study sessions. These classes are too expensive for you to waste your time retaking them because you dun goofed the first time around. Utilize your resources: books, clubs, the school website, staff, students. If you don't know something, please ask. Any staff or student will gladly direct you. Upperclassmen want you to experience all things that they didn't get the chance to, and they always have the inside scoop. Your RA is your friend, but remember that friendship is a two way street. Most importantly, this isn't high school anymore. This is the real world. This is your world, and it will be whatever you make of it. Now, I know you've all seen the movies, but let me tell you- college is not what you see on television. It is real and it is wonderful. Don't take it for granted. Your time here will fly by. Spend it wisely.


Sincerely,

A Senior

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Goodbye Freshman Year

I miss you already

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Flashback to mid-August, the most emotional week of my life when I anxiously packed my mom's car with all of my belongings. I carefully closed the trunk, thinking it would bust open the second we hit a pot hole or took too sharp of a turn. We began the 6-hour drive and I had no idea what I was venturing into. I texted my friends about how boring the car ride was, I posted a goodbye message to my house on social media, and I laid down in the backseat listening to the radio and singing along with my parents for the last time. I mean… not for the last last time but for the last time as a kid that actually lives at home.

Moving away from home, from my small little town, from everything I knew… it didn't scare me. I looked forward to it and I eagerly awaited the day I would start my own life since I began thinking about college in elementary school- even back then my dream schools were always out of state. Even back then, though I didn't know it at the time, I wanted to prove to myself and to the world that I could be independent.

It's funny when I think about it now because I am the most independently dependent person I've ever met. I mean, I moved over 400 miles away from everything I knew but I still call my mom whenever I get the sniffles even though I know what medicine to buy and to drink orange juice. I moved over 400 miles away and I still ask my roommate to go across the street to get food with me because I don't like waiting in line by myself. I moved over 400 miles away, but I still call my mom almost every day and talk for over an hour each time because I miss the sound of her voice. I moved over 400 miles away, but I still sleep with the stuffed animal I got when I was 2 because it smells like home. But even that is funny because I call college home. I call my dorm home, I call these new people home. But now I have to say goodbye to my freshman year, and I miss it already.

I didn't cry about moving until I went grocery shopping with my parents for my dorm, and I didn't stop crying until at least three days after that. I knew I could do it, but nonetheless I was terrified of failing. I was so scared that I was going to disappoint my mom, or any of my family really. I had worked so hard for so long to get here, but I didn't know what came after that. I made it, I got into college, I moved in… but now what?

Well

Now, I have some of the best people I ever could have imagined in my life. The friends I have made in the last nine months have truly changed my life. I have the best memories with these people; from football games to study parties with pizza at 3 am, from church to horror movie marathons, and from holiday celebrations with crafts in my room to going on last minute adventures to places we've never been. They have seen me cry, they've seen me laugh so hard I couldn't breathe, they've seen me have breakdowns through stress, but most importantly they've seen the real me. I've changed a lot through the last two semesters, we all have. But they've stuck with me-they've loved me for my quirks and for my insecurities, for my ten-minute laughing fits and for my makeup obsession, for my shady comebacks and for my annoyingly optimistic view on everything. They're my home.

Now, I know what I want to do. Yes, I've made some questionable decisions and mistakes in my first year here, but I've never lost sight of who I am and who I want to be. I'm still working some things out, but I am reminded every single day why I am here. I can honestly say that even while I sit in my classes I genuinely love being here, and I am falling more and more in love with my major every single day. I still have three years left and I can't wait to see what they bring, but so far I'm in love. I'm in love with life, I'm in love with my school, I'm in love with my future.

Now, I walk around this campus that seemed so huge at first, and I am still in shock that I am here. I see the groups of high schoolers on tours around campus and I smile, remembering what it was like when I toured here with my dad. I think about how this school, full of over 30,000 students, can somehow feel like such a close-knit family and how it really has become my home.

Now, with less than two weeks left in my freshman year, I'm just as emotional as I was in my first week. I'm excited to go home and see my family, and I'm stoked to see what the next few years will bring, but I don't want to leave. I don't want to wake up in the morning and not see my roommate or not be able to take walks around this gorgeous campus. I don't want to finish packing all of these boxes and squish them back into the car. I don't want to wait three whole months to be back at Willy-B screaming with the rest of my gamecocks.

I never expected my first year to go the way it has, and I never expected it to fly by this fast, despite what everyone told me.

Now, in two weeks when I move out and make that 6 hour drive back to my first home, texting friends, posting goodbye messages to my dorm, and singing along to the radio, I think I will actually cry. Not only because I'm sad about leaving, but because now...I know. I know now that I am capable but that I do still need my mom. I know now that I have to say goodbye to my friends here but that I won't lose them. I know now that I will be okay, and my future will be brighter than I ever could have imagined. I know that I have a home and a family to come back to in three months and I know that because of that, there's nothing to be scared of.

Goodbye freshman year, I miss you already.

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Being Homesick Is Normal For College Students, Don't Feel Bad About It

I've heard enough horror stories to know that being home is honestly an escape from negative people, negative feelings, and even just being homesick.

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When you first move into the residence halls and get all settled, you will feel really excited about being in a new place. If you're anything like me though, it was a really hard adjustment. Many students enjoy the freedom they've wanted for so long, no more checking in, going out drinking, parties, etc. However, for others who are homebodies, this is a really hard change to handle.

It's also a struggle to overcome what seems the norm for a college student, which is taking advantage of your freedom from adult supervision by staying out until the early morning hours. However, I have to say that that norm isn't really the typical college life because there are a lot of different kinds of students — one of them is the homebody.

Basically, what I mean by this is someone who prefers to be home with their family and dogs; just being back in their hometown make them happy. For me, I go home every other weekend, which would be more frequent if it wasn't because of my work schedule. I don't really want to party. To be honest, I have never felt like I'm missing out on anything by being this way.

Sure, I still like spending time with friends and even drinking occasionally, but nothing beats being at home. To me, being home is the best — watching tv in my own room, sleeping in my own bed and eating homemade meals cooked by my mom have no equal. I look forward to my mom making my favorite meal when I am home. Also, I get to watch the Chicago Blackhawks with my entire family as my mom gets frustrated and yells at the TV as if the players can hear her tell them what exactly they need to do.

Being home shouldn't be something to shame college students for. People need to understand that this is where they escape to and relax. College is extremely stressful, considering you're pretty much thrown into adulthood — we're all being repeatedly punched with new responsibilities throughout the four years. Home is a safe place for so many students because this is where they can go for love and support when life gets them down.

Leaving behind your own space to share a small space with someone you've most likely never met can be really stressful. I've heard enough horror stories to know that being home is an escape from negative people, negative feelings, and even just being homesick. So, stop judging someone who foregoes parties and opts out to heading home instead.

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