Adjusting to Freshman Year

I cannot believe that there is less than a month and a half left of my first year in college! The time is flying by and I will admit that I am a little sad that my freshman year is coming to a close. The year was very exciting, full of new adventures and lots of “first times.”  Catholic has transformed from a place that was my school in name only, to my home away from home.

Last year, after the initial excitement of choosing a school and getting the chance to be independent from my parents came a time filled with nerves. I had obviously visited Catholic and done my research on the web, but other than that I had no idea what to expect. I needed a map to navigate myself around campus and the directions and stops of the metro might as well have been rocket science. I was nervous that I would be constantly lost and forced to fend for myself without the help of my family and lifelong friends. I had begun to think about how I would miss walking my dog, my favorite lunch special at my high school, and even fighting with my sisters. Being away from home and coming to live in a new place in which you know nothing about is one of the scariest things about college. However, I can assure you that at Catholic you will quickly find yourself feeling as if you have acquired a second home.

Here are some of my tips and pieces of advice for smoothing your transition to college. I believe that keeping these things in mind can help make you feel at home and comfortable at Catholic, without abandoning the memories and routine of your childhood home.

  1. Keep Yourself Busy

I think this is particularly important in the beginning of first semester. Joining activities and clubs and attending events helps in a multitude of ways. It introduces you to friends and peers who help make you feel welcomed and a part of the community. In addition, all of these events and organizations require some of your time and energy. They don’t allow for much time to mope in your room and spend time missing your family and friends. In a sense, they distract you and help you begin your own routine here. Having a routine and niche through different events will help make Catholic feel like your home.

  1. Make the City Your Home

While it is essential to make Catholic feel like your home, I personally believe that accustoming yourself to the city and exploring everything DC has to offer helps tremendously in ridding the home sickness blues. It’s the opportunity to extend your comfort from the small area of the campus to the larger DC area. Exploring different museums, shopping in Chinatown, or eating out in DuPont will help you feel like a local. If your family and friends ever come to visit, you can feel proud of your new home as you show them obscure, local coffeeshops or your impressive metro navigating skills. You will feel a proud sense of pride for the city and will be able to explain it as your home away from home.

  1. Keep in Touch, To A Certain Degree

I think that it is very important to maintain contact with everyone at home. Your family and friends have supported you your whole life and they deserve to hear updates from your college experience. Just because you live away from home doesn’t mean that you can’t maintain long distance relationships. Calling home to talk about a great grade you got on a paper or asking your sibling about their big soccer game will always boost your mood. Hearing your family’s voices is a great reminder of the love and support you have in your life. With all of our modern technology, from FaceTime to Skype, it is very easy to stay in touch. However, this can be dangerous. If you spend all of your time living vicariously through FaceTime calls and stalking Instagram photos from home you will never feel at home at college. I think many people struggle with spending too much time comparing their new friends to their high school friends or speaking to their mom all day on the phone, that they have no time to make new memories and new experiences. Nothing will ever be the same as it was, but that can be a good thing. You need the time and energy to spend making new memories, so when you do contact your loved ones you have some monumental updates. The key is balancing your time spent contacting home and getting involved in school.

– Anna Hallahan

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