Starting college can be intimidating. There is a lot of new information and stimuli to take in during the first few days.
You will no longer be living in the comfort of your own home. Instead, you are likely moving in with complete strangers into a small, shared space. You have no idea where anything is located on, or around campus. You are taking classes in rooms full of hundreds of students and the classes are more rigorous.
The biggest concern facing college students is creating new friendships. Especially being at a big school like San Diego State which enrolls more than 30,000 undergraduates, it is easy to feel lost in a sea of people. But rest assured, most other freshmen students feel a bit lonely and uncertain too.
It may seem daunting to go out and have to make an entirely new set of friends, but everyone is welcoming. All students are looking to find their sense of belonging as well. People on campus are open to having new conversations on just about any topic. You just have to put yourself out there and make an effort to form connections with others.
Surrounding yourself with people you can trust and rely on provides the base of support you need as you continue on through your college career. Your friends are not only the people who you go out with to all the parties, they are also the people that will be there for the times you feel homesick.Friends help you study for exams and they introduce you to opportunities and resources at school.
Students often don’t have family or friends that live close by to reach out to, so it is important to have friends on campus who can be there to cheer you up when you are feeling low. Friends from the dorms are especially good for this.
Living together in such close vicinity allows close-knit friendships to be formed as you are spending a lot of time together and see one another on a regular basis. People get close the first few months after move-in and begin to understand one another’s tendencies and emotions. They will be the ones who see you at your lows and highs, and be there to support you. Many of the friendships you make in the dorms will be the most fun and long-lasting.
It may be harder to get to know the people in your classes since many of them will be in giant lecture halls where it is challenging to make conversation. As the semester goes on having friends in your classes is important so you can still get a copy of the notes and turn in assignments if you miss a day of class. Friends are there to support you from cheering you up when you are sad to taking your clicker to the lecture you plan on skipping.
It is okay and normal to feel overwhelmed during your first few days of college. But once students begin to settle into their new home, they find their own way and their own people. People they can go to for a shoulder to cry on and bring out the best in them. They will be the people that ground you during the chaotic years and beyond college.
Catherine Van Weele is a sophomore studying political science. Follow her on Twitter @catievanweele.