First-year feelings: Adjusting to life away from home

Gabriella Boretti, Herald Contributor

Coming in as a freshman, going to a university with 18 to 22-year-olds can make for a nerve-racking first day and an unsettling first year. Having been on campus for four weeks now, I can see first-year students are settling in. They are finding their way, discovering their people and finally feeling “at home” here at RWU.
 
On the other hand, I have also witnessed first-year students somewhat lost. Whether they are missing home, their parents or old friends, they are struggling. It’s hard, we all know that. The most important thing is to open your mind and try new things. If you go into campus with a closed mind and keep to yourself, you won’t find your people.
 
Personality is everything on this campus. Quiet, loud, crazy or sensitive, there are people just like you. You just have to find them. I’ve asked many first-years how they are doing and have gotten answers like, “I’m okay,” but I have also received, “I love it here, let’s go Hawks!” It’s different for everyone. As I said, we have only been here about four full weeks now, so we still have some adjusting to do.
 
Being in charge of ourselves is very new. Keeping the dorm clean, studying, staying organized, all on top of balancing a social life is hard. On the other hand, walking around this beautiful campus and smelling the ocean can definitely brighten a nervous freshman’s day. Eating food that is ranked top 5% in the nation for college food when you are having a bad day is also a plus.
 
The university offers many support systems and has staff here to help all students. For us freshmen, that’s a huge help. Some of us need those extra vent sessions to let the tears out. Most of us have done it, and we feel much better after.
 
As long as we are keeping a positive attitude, trying our absolute best to adjust to campus life and living our best lives here at RWU, that’s all we can do. Before we know it, we will be upperclassmen. Those students are our role models — older, more mature and wiser. Those with only one year here have even changed for the better. When we look around, we see the bright smiles, outgoing faces and bubbly voices. They love it here, and that makes us feel safe in a way — comfortable.