An honest letter to freshmen
By now you’ve been in classes for not only two, but three weeks. You’ve encountered the befuddling tangents of epic similes, you’ve realized there’s both a Haggar and a Haggerty, and you finally know where all your classes are without checking your schedule fifty-something times. During my freshman orientation last year, I was told over and over to “just give it two weeks” and then I’d finally feel settled in.
After two weeks, I knew where my classes were, but that was it. Three weeks wasn’t a lot better.
If you don’t feel fully settled in after the first few weeks either, don’t worry. The entirety of your first semester is a series of firsts, which is what makes it so difficult. It’s your first time writing a Lit Trad essay, your first time registering for next semester, your first time taking midterms and each thing seems intimidating because it’s your first time doing it!
Throughout all these “first times,” it’s so important to have like-minded friends. One of the biggest lessons I learned my first semester is that we aren’t meant to bear our burdens alone. Between editing essays, studying for tests and the emotional ups and downs of life, having trusted friends to turn to when things feel overwhelming is crucial! Having good friends also makes campus feel a lot more like a home rather than just somewhere you go to school.
In order to meet people… join a club! I was in two clubs my first semester and met some of my closest friends that way. Also, don’t be afraid of making friends with upperclassmen. They’re really nice and when class registration comes around, they’re able to give advice on which professors to take. Lastly, if you’re more on the introverted side like myself, know that making good friends takes time and that your friendships will deepen and grow as time goes on.
These first weeks are certainly overwhelming and a huge adjustment. However, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing! The G.K. Chesterton essay you were probably given a copy of during orientation, “On Running After One’s Hat,” perfectly captures the magnanimous spirit which will help you through these weeks. I’m going through a similar adjustment myself as I begin my sophomore year on the Due Santi campus and am finding it is crucial to remember to maintain a spirit of adventure!
My last piece of advice is that you get enough sleep. I know you’ve heard this before, but trust me on this one! (I promise I’m not your parents undercover.) I’ve learned through experience that coffee is not an adequate replacement for enough sleep. I’ve tried it before and I felt miserable. You should know that the best kept secret of college life is that not everyone is caffeine-addicted.
Though these first weeks are definitely hard, do your best to embrace the challenge and adventure! UD is going to become a home to you and you will meet some of your best friends here. Pretty soon you’ll have your favorite study spot, your favorite pew in the church and your favorite Greek epic. Until then, it’s okay to take one day at a time. That’s where I am right now and that’s where all the other returning students are as well. The oft-mentioned “two weeks” isn’t enough to make UD feel like a home, but a few weeks is about the amount of time it takes to begin to settle into a new routine. Persevere, embrace the season of life you are in, and enjoy Charity Week!