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Good Morning Miami: Look around, you’re home now

Welcome to Oxford, freshies.

Several months ago, you probably took a tour of Miami and felt completely overwhelmed. You probably couldn't tell one red brick building from the next. You probably hadn't even decided where you'd be attending college.

But something drew you to this little town in Ohio, and now you get to decide exactly what the next four years are going to look like.

Those four years probably began with countless mini vans clogging the Oxford streets. You nervously clung to your Miami ID card because summer orientation leaders deemed it your lifeline. Dozens of people sporting red shirts emblazoned with the red "M" greeted you with friendly smiles and helped carry overflowing cardboard boxes into your residence hall.

Opening the dorm room door revealed a bed frame, an empty dresser and four white walls. Before you had time to worry, your family set to work putting sheets on the bed, placing picture frames on the desk and filling drawers with neatly folded clothes.

A couple of hours later, that dorm room transformed into a piece of home.

A quick meal, tearful goodbyes and several hugs later, your family drove away, leaving you to navigate your newfound independence.

As a junior, I'd like to offer some suggestions on how to handle these first few months.

First, leave your dorm room door open. Seriously, do it. It seems weird at first, but people walking down the hall will stop in, and that's how you make friends.

Put the Mobile ID app on your phone. You're going to forget that ID card at least once and this app will save you more often than not.

Talk to people in class. I met one of my best friends by sitting a seat over from her in a microbiology lecture and striking up conversation.

Go to your professor's office hours. College is different than high school. If you're struggling in a class, you have to advocate for yourself. And don't wait until the week before finals to decide that you care about your grades.

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Call your parents. They want to know what you're up to, and they're going to have a lot of questions. Answer their questions. Keeping in touch helps them let you go just a bit.

Some people act like the transition is seamless, but understand that no matter how confident the guy on your floor seems, or how talkative the girl walking down the sidewalk appears, every single kid is nervous.

Pay attention when you're walking around campus. Take your headphones out once in a while and look around. You miss a lot by just staring at your phone.

Hang out with your roommate, but don't be afraid to branch out. Find friends who like to do different things and who will nudge you out of your comfort zone.

Take time for yourself. I've made the mistake of booking my calendar to the point where I hardly had a free moment, and all it did was create stress. Take time to watch some Netflix or go to the gym.

Find a comfortable spot to study. For some of you, that'll be your room but don't be afraid to head to Armstrong, King Library or the coffee shops uptown.

Say yes to spontaneous trips to Target or Walmart. Car trips are a nice break from having to walk everywhere for everything at school.

Don't feel trapped in your major. When you were applying to college, you probably chose your major without knowing what the classes were going to be like or what career paths you could choose based on it. If, after a few classes, your major doesn't interest you, switch it to something that does.

Choose your major because it's what you love to do. And to those of you who haven't quite found your passion or area of interest, don't worry. There's no time-clock to find that dream job.

Try Bagel & Deli. Get the mac bites at Skipper's. Go to the bars. Grab a Starbucks drink and sit on the quad. Join an intramural sports team. Go to a hockey game. Buy a Miami t-shirt and wear our red and white with pride. Look around. Those red brick buildings, beautiful quads and ringing bell towers are yours now.

Welcome home, Miami University class 0f 2023.

dattilec@miamioh.edu

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