The college transition process is one that millions of students worldwide embark on every year. Often times, it is a central focal point for discomfort for many people, as it is a new, vastly different experience; however, this process can be much easier, that is, if you know the tips and tricks to help you acclimate to your new environment just that much more efficiently. Over my freshman year at Stony Brook University, I embarked on this same journey. Though this process had its ups and downs, I wouldn't trade any of the experiences I've had this year for anything. From one college student to another, here are 13 things that helped me with the college transition process.
1. Go in with a positive mindset
I can't stress to you how important this is! The college transition process is an extremely difficult one; it is going to take time, patience and whatever else you have to acclimate to in your new environment. The most important thing is to acknowledge the fact that this process isn't easy. Try your hardest to keep a positive mindset while in the midst of your transition. Know it will be difficult, but will become familiar in due time.
2. Meet your neighbors
Whether you particularly like it or not, initially, the people residing in rooms next to you are now your neighbors. It's important to get to know these people, as you will generally see them more often than some of the other people you meet on campus. Also, these are the people whom you will meet first, so interactions should come fairly easy. Just introduce yourself; you never know when you'll need soap, paper towels, Lysol, garbage bags, paper plates, and so much more (totally not speaking from experience or anything...)
3. Attend class
This seems like a fairly obvious one, but many students in college just do not attend class. This is partially because college is a very independent experience. There is no one breathing down your neck telling you to go to class anymore. This is on you. Going to class can help you interact with other students who may have similar, or even different, interests. You may also need one of these classmates to hook you up with notes or sign your name on the attendance sheet one lazy day.
4. Go to the club fair
I guarantee if you have ANY interest in something, your campus will have a club dedicated to that something. The Harry Potter Club, the "Kink" Club, and the Dungeons and Dragons club are only a few oddball clubs I've seen on my college campus. Finding a club that interests you can help you escape the stresses and discomfort of college and give you something to look forward to, as well.
5. Bring keepsakes with you
I believe this topic is another extremely important piece of advice. College can, sometimes, become very lonely; sometimes you will just want to be reminded of home. A special blanket, picture, or sweater will help you feel just that! In addition, I'd also recommend pictures that you can hang/string on your walls!
6. Make your room familiar to you
Upon arrival, your room will seem bare—extremely bare. It's up to you to dress the room up to your own personal liking (of course, keeping in mind what your roommate may want.) String lights on your walls, bring 6 pillows and set them up after you get out of bed every morning. Bring your television; better yet, bring a mini fridge to store cold drinks in for when you're watching television. Get creative with your room, you're the one whose going to be living in it!
7. Watch a series and/or movie
Keeping yourself distracted with a movie or a Netflix show is a great way to escape the world of college. Perhaps you can get your newfound friends involved and watch something with them. I, personally, have done this and it has served as a great way to relax after the end of a long day.
8. Find a new hobbie
In college, you will change in many ways. It's just inevitable. Embrace this change and try something new! The campus is your new canvas, explore new things. Perhaps you've always wanted to learn how to play an instrument or join a dance team—NOW IS YOUR TIME TO DO SO! Finding a new hobby will help you feel more comfortable in the new environment that is the college campus. If all else fails, you'll always have your hobbie(s).
9. Explore your new surroundings
Many of you are probably moving out of your home to live on a college campus. This means that you will be in a very different place. Get to know the town/towns surrounding the campus and explore the little things your new environment has to offer. For example, I've come to learn that there are many great mom and pop shops in the town of Port Jefferson, the next town over from my campus. In addition, late night walks with friends or a significant other are wonderful.
10. Greek life
I know this topic is a bit controversial sometimes, but Greek life is a great experience for some people (it is not for everyone, and that's okay.) Joining a fraternity or sorority allows you to form a bond with many other students on campus and allows you to build up your network. From my own personal experience of joining a fraternity, I instantly had 43 more friends that I could call my brothers. Greek life also gets you out of your comfort zone, sometimes, which is important as well.
11. Travel with friends
There are many clubs that are solely dedicated to traveling with your friends or other students. For example, Stony Brook University has Alternative Spring Break Outreach (ASBO), where 60 students dedicate their spring break in a different part of the country doing community service. This past year, ASBO went to Florida and I am proud to say I accompanied them there. Some of the people that went on this trip with me became my very close friends. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have slight depression after returning back from the trip; that's just how fun it was!
Not really too much to say about this topic. Music is extremely comforting and can help give you a sense of purpose on your college campus.
13. Have pride in your school
Having pride allows you to form a connection with the school you now attend! You are there for a reason, through years of hard work and diligence; be proud of it! This is an accomplishment that you should be proud of and boast about. Wear your school's sweater, cheer on your school's team, yell your school's chant, go to events that are exclusive to your school. You'll see, you will start to form a sense of community with those around you.