Dear Incoming College Freshman,
You are about to begin a new, scary chapter in your life, going to college. Now, some of you may be going far from home, while the rest of you felt it was best to stay nearby. Either way you are about to enter a new world full of, in simple word…craziness. In my personal experience, college could not come fast enough. I was done with high school and all the drama that came along with it. All I could tell myself was that college was going to be the best four years of my life. Now going into my sophomore year I am reflecting on all the things I wish someone had told me before I ever stepped foot on campus. Utilize these following tips to make for a smoother transition into college life:
Firstly, mom or dad is no longer there to make sure you get all of your assignments done or that you study for that test. In a way, you have to become your own parent. For example, not forgetting to do your laundry at least once a week (including your bed sheets, which I often forgot to wash until my mom called and reminded me it has to be done once every two weeks). Creating either a written or mental schedule of everything that has to get done each day throughout the week can be beneficial in helping you manage your time and tasks.
Secondly, it is time to start setting your own alarms. No roommate is going to wake you up each morning to make sure you get to class on time like some of your parents may have before. My roommate and I are not morning people, so we struggled with getting up for our 8 AM classes. We quickly adjusted and managed our sleep schedules and alarms, because no one was there to make sure we got to class on time.
Surprisingly, I was fortunate enough to be best friends with my roommate, but many I know were not so lucky. Fights can be pretty commonplace between roommates in college. To help lessen the amount of roommate in-fighting, make sure you all create a roommate contract together. This contract should outline all of the rules for the dorm,
and all roommates should agree to, and sign it. Sadly, even a roommate contract does not completely safeguard against drama. Thirdly, it does not matter if you choose your roommate or get paired with one randomly; remember that in the case of disagreements or arguments there are people on campus to help you. If you tried simply talking to your roommate to work out the problems/issues, and no solution has been found, do not be afraid to talk to your RA. All RA’s should have policies/procedures in place to help negate arguments/fights between roommates. If no solution comes of this, you may contact your housing coordinator to see what other solutions may be available.
Now all of this living independent stuff can be intimidating, but remember there are thousands of other students in the same exact position. Everyone has those days when they are homesick, or become so stressed they need to come up for air. There is nothing wrong with admitting that college is overwhelming, I will be the first to say that. I was lucky in that I did not get home sick too often and when I did I would call my mom, helping me to calm down. Surrounding yourself with quality friends makes the transition into college life a lot smoother, so make sure you get out and meet new people!
Your college campus also offers hundreds of resources to help incoming freshman adjust to this new life style, like the campus-counseling center. Do not be scared or ashamed to utilize these resources; they can help you get back in control. My biggest piece of advice for you incoming college students is to not take on too much. Remember you are at college to learn first and foremost, but do not forget to let loose and relax from time-to-time, just do not have too much fun! Oh, and do not forget to call your parents at least three or four times a week! They are going to miss you a million times more than you miss them, even if they do not say it out loud.
Dear Parents of Incoming College Freshman,
Your child (or children) is about to embark on a whole new adventure in their life. It is scary knowing that you will not be able to protect them from everything that goes on at college, but you can do your best to prepare and remind them that you will still be there for them in a loving and non-judgmental way. I am an only child, so my mom and I were like two peas in a pod. We did almost everything together leading up to my leaving for school. She constantly reminded me how much she loves me and that she will miss me, but was overjoyed at how happy I was to start this new chapter in my life.
Parents, I know letting your child go is never an easy task but they will not be gone forever. They need to go out and discover who they are while learning what is it like to fend for themselves. Make sure you let them know you are always a phone call away, but will also not be a helicopter parent that calls five times a day. Hopefully, you will hear from your child a couple of times a week, but not every day. Do not get upset. That just means they are settling in to their new life and are probably busy with school, making new friends, and joining different activities. Fewer calls to you hopefully mean less problems for your child.
Written by Julianna DeStefano
SPTS Summer Intern