By Mariah Nichols
School colors of vibrant red and mellow green fill the eyes of new Mocs as they arrive on campus. The hustle and bustle of unloading over-stuffed suitcases, mini fridges and various dorm necessities begins. Excitement hovers in the humid atmosphere as students move into their new rooms. Among the first time grocery shoppers, room decorating and friend making there is often a lingering sense of trepidation in beginning the journey of college.
Adjusting to a different structure of class schedules and living on campus, away from the comfort of your own bed and parents’ home, is a little daunting. Thankfully, there are upperclassmen, alumni and teachers to help guide the way and offer advice on how to embrace college with vigor.
Start with the dorm. Those bare white walls and that drab, plain looking furniture might look unwelcoming, but think of it as a new beginning. It is empty space waiting to be filled with your personality and shaped into your new home. Among the decorations and desk embellishments, find a way to mix in mementoes and memories to give the room a homey feel.
“I’ve found that the best way to feel at home in my dorm is to surround myself with plenty of photos,” junior Amy Rooker said. “When you can’t physically be with your friends and family from home every day, then the next best thing is to hang their faces on your wall so that you can see them every time you wake up in the morning or walk into your room.”
The next step to acclimating to college life is submerging yourself in the culture. Events ranging from nighttime pancake parties to thrilling sports games can be found in almost every week of the school calendar. Don’t skip out on fun opportunities. “Reflecting back on my time at FSC, I wish I had taken more advantage of the events that were held on campus,” Florida Southern College alumni Jessie Dobbertin said. “You get to meet more people and have fun.”
According to Joseph Reynolds residential advisor Megan Miller, getting involved carries more benefits than just making new companions. It helps with homesickness as well.
Consequently, college can get hectic at times and planners are prone to becoming crammed. Dobbertin said the next step is to find a happy medium with all that college offers, doing everything in moderation. “You need a balance to keep your body healthy, your mind at ease, and your grades up.”
Within that balance is learning how to juggle college classes. The transition from high school programs to the college classroom can be intimidating. Dr. Sara Harding from the religion department says that attending class, being attentive, keeping a planner, staying organized and participating in class will make for smooth sailing.
“Students should expect classes filled with discussion and activities that build upon readings, demonstrate concepts, and facilitate deep and critical thinking,” Harding said. “That is what college is all about.”
There is no final step because there are endless steps ahead to take. College offers countless opportunities. Seize them! “Live life with no regrets! Enjoy these years, because you can’t get them back” Dobbertin said.