During the first week on campus, I overheard numerous conversations among the first-years about not knowing how to get acclimated to campus life and make friends. Though it may seem like the end of the world when you’re dropped off in a brand-new environment and left to build a brand-new routine with brand-new people, speaking from my experience as a sophomore, you just have to give it time.
I know, I know. That’s the classic advice you’re given from your family and pretty much everyone else, but it holds a lot of truth.
Even though most might not admit it, almost everyone misses home a little, gets nervous about making new friends and struggles with the transition to college as a whole.
Adjusting to this change means building a solid routine for the school year. The school days might be long and painful with having to attend classes, get assignments done and study for assessments, so I suggest filling the remainder of your day with things you enjoy.
Implementing hobbies and interests into your daily routine can almost always turn your mood around by giving you something to look forward to. I joined The Miami Student and took workout classes at the Rec to get involved with some new people that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise.
Additionally, sitting in Armstrong Student Center, King Library or Starbucks to work on school work can make such a difference, even if you’re not sitting with anyone. Whether it was getting my daily dose of human interaction or needing motivation to be productive, this was one of my go-to’s last year.
Being surrounded by people who are also trying to get work done is so much better than sitting alone in your dorm room.
As far as the social transition goes, you just have to put yourself out there. Everyone is in the same boat, so why not introduce yourself to the person next to you in line at Starbucks or sitting next to you in class?
One of the biggest things that helped me find “my people” was rushing a sorority. I was on the fence about rushing, but I’m so glad I did because I have developed so many close friendships that I probably wouldn't have made otherwise.
Living in Peabody Hall last year, it was so easy to just stay in my residence hall and not socialize with people. I had a solid routine to get my work done and exercise, but I wasn’t seeing friends as much as I should have been.
After getting tired of always feeling so isolated, I started making an effort to go to the dining hall or study with friends almost every day. Though it may seem like such a small change to make, it made my daily routine so much better.
Now that I'm finally in the center of campus in the sorority residence halls, I’m constantly surrounded by my friends, so there’s always someone to study or grab a bite to eat with. Not only do I love my living conditions this year, but I also love my daily routine even more. I was able to resume what I was doing last semester, but now that I'm so much closer to everything, walking to class or the gym doesn't take me an extra 15 minutes.
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Making positive changes in my daily life and making an effort to meet genuine people last year brought me to where I’m at as a sophomore. This summer, I was more than eager to get back to Oxford to resume my beloved routine.
Though it may sound hard to believe, sitting with my friends and grinding out school work on a Sunday was definitely missed!
I know the advice sounds repetitive and cheesy, but step out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to people on campus, get out of your residence hall and do something you love every day. It’s easy to slip into a slump when your schedule is the same week after week, so give yourself something to look forward to, whether it’s joining a new club or even grabbing a bite to eat with a new friend.
The first year of college isn’t supposed to be easy by any means, even if it looks like some don’t struggle as much as others from the outside. Your first year is about figuring out how to function individually now that you’re away from home in order to prepare you for the following years.
At the time of writing this, I’m only a week into my sophomore year, but I have made a full one-eighty from last year in terms of feeling comfortable on campus. You just have to give it time and “trust the process.”