Ideas to Help with the Transition
By Melanie Kondor – former CHC intern
Moving away to college is tough – it can even be scary for some. For most, it is the first time leaving the comfort of home and it is the beginning of a brand new journey.
Oftentimes, going away to college means leaving behind long-term friends, your family, and sometimes boyfriends or girlfriends. Despite leaving all these things behind, college is an exciting and adventurous time in a young person’s life. It is a new beginning, full of fun and challenges and new experiences.
One of the biggest challenges of going to college is meeting people. Chances are, if you are moving to college, you are going to a different town, if not a different state, where you won’t know anybody. That’s the scary part. Luckily, as a freshman, it can be easy to make friends on campus, especially because everyone is in the same boat.
A great place to meet people is in your own dorm Just leaving your dorm room door open is inviting and it shows that you are open to having visitors, and that you don’t want to shut anybody out. You can also get to know your suitemates by sitting out in the common living area, like Emily did at Jacksonville University in Florida. Emily traveled from Connecticut all the way down south for her first year of college and she is loving every minute of it.
Another great way to make friends at school is to get involved in sports. Say you were on the swim team in high school, like Gretchen from Connecticut… what would be a better way to make friends than to continue this passion at the University of Vermont? That’s just what she did! Colleges have all kinds of sports teams, but if you’ve never played before, there are also intramural sports teams you can participate in to meet people.
If you’re like me, and you’re completely uncoordinated in sports, you can always watch the games from the sidelines and show some school spirit. This is a great way to meet people and to spend some time outside of the dorm. At some of the bigger games, a lot of schools give out free t-shirts too!
Once you get to college, you may meet students from other countries. At my school, I’ve met people from Jamaica, Germany, Fiji, Bolivia, China, Barbados, and Lebanon (just to name a few!). Think about how far they are from home; these students traveled thousands of miles and plunged into the melting pot that is the United States to further their education.
One student at the University of Hartford came from the teeny-tiny island of Bermuda, to follow in his father’s footsteps. Peter said he made a lot of friends during his freshman year of college through the various International Festivals that were held on campus, and now he has friends across the globe. Even if you’re not an international student, these festivals are great to attend. You can expand your cultural knowledge, meet a bunch of great new people, and most of the time there’s free food. It can’t get better than that!
Another way to meet people is to pledge a fraternity or sorority. Mary-Beth, originally from Connecticut, went to the Florida Institute of Technology, not knowing a soul in the state. She pledged Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed national service fraternity, and made a ton of friends while serving her new community.
Many sororities and fraternities participate in charity events such as Relay for Life and they also raise money for organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, so they are really great groups to be a part of in college. Not only will you meet new people and make new friends, but these types of organizations look good on resumes.
If going Greek is not for you, there are various clubs on college campuses where you can meet people. Joining a club is a great way to meet people because most clubs are interest-based; so if you like bowling, you can join your college’s bowling club (or start one up!) and meet people who enjoy bowling as well.
College can be unsettling in the beginning for many people, but the important thing is to remember that you are NOT alone. There are thousands of other students having the same thoughts and feelings that you are having during your first few weeks away from home.
We live in an age of technology, so your family and friends are just a call, text message, Facebook comment, or email away.
As for parents, it is important to remind your child that you will always be there for them if they need any help adjusting or need emotional support. Oftentimes, college campuses even offer support groups on campus (or on the web) if you are having trouble adjusting to being away from home. Be sure to check on your own school’s website for information about counseling, therapy or anything else the school may offer to make you feel right at home.
There are also several websites out there to help students get settled, choose a major, and even more advice for meeting new people and making friends.
Check out these links below: