I was a freshman once
Published: Saturday, June 23, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
High school graduates are gearing up for their freshman orientations and getting ready to attend their respective institutions in the upcoming fall. If you are an incoming freshman and reading this I would like to say that on behalf of my peers, welcome to the University at Buffalo.
You have chosen an institution that provides students with a plethora of activities, clubs, and diverse cultures. Although the size of the school may seem overwhelming to some, you will be able to navigate around the university in just a few short weeks.
We were all in your position before and it can be uncomfortable the first few weeks.
Before I lend you some advice on how to “make yourself at home” here at UB, I would like to tell you what my first day on campus was like.
Like most kids at 19 years old, I was looking forward to being on my own. No rules – I could do whatever I wanted. I lived at home with my family for 18 years and had to live there an extra year to attend a community college to get my grades up to attend another SUNY school.
It was terrible.
So my family followed me to campus from Rochester, which is about an hour away, with all my belongings. My mom was a mess. Her youngest was now off to bigger and better things. My father was happy to get me out of the house. (I have never seen a man in his fifties carry a fridge, TV, and a speaker system up two flights of stairs so fast.)
I said my goodbyes to my family. My mom was crying harder than a teenage girl who just met One Direction, while my dad already had the car started. My mind was set on enjoying the college life and finally being free from the teenage rules that once tormented my life.
As my dad’s Chevy Impala pulled away, it all began to sink in.
I was on my own.
For the next couple of days I felt homesick and didn’t feel like doing anything; I just wanted to watch TV and mind my own business.
When I finally stepped out of my room to make some food, I was greeted by a couple of roommates who lived in the same quad as me. They asked why they had never seen me before and I replied, “I wasn’t feeling well.” When in actuality I was thinking, “Boy do I miss mom!”
After conversing with the two roommates for a few minutes, they asked if I would like to join them to get some food. As much as I wanted to tell them “No, leave me alone,” I gave them a chance and agreed to join them.
I am glad I made that decision. The three of us became good friends.
The reason I am sharing this story is because the first few weeks of school can be uncomfortable, but they get better.
My first piece of advice is to keep an open mind.
College is an experience. Make as many friends as you can, and enjoy everything that this university has to offer. It will make your transition easier.
Second, create a routine. Creating a routine during the semester helps take your mind off of being homesick. (Just make sure your routine includes studying and schoolwork.)
Third, check your email. At a university with over 20,000 students, professors are always sending out mass emails to their pupils regarding class. Professors also post syllabi, important assignment dates, and extra credit assignments.
One more thing about checking email: class cancelations. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve made the mistake of not checking my email in the morning, having to travel across campus in the middle of winter, only to find out I could have slept for another hour.
Fourth, you are not alone. You are a part of a freshman class that is also here on campus and away from home for the first time.
Lastly, have fun! And remember like the late great Tom Petty said, “College ends, but work never does,” so enjoy it while you are here!