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College Counseling with Natalie: Entering the College World

By Natalie Daniels

With campuses going online or hybrid this year, there is definitely a shift in dynamic for college students. The most affected by this are the freshmen. Whether you’re a freshman experiencing your first year of college in a pandemic, or you’re still years away from university, entering the college world can be scary. There are many ways to get yourself situated in college your freshman year.

Deciding What To Bring

It can be super stressful to decide what things to bring to your college life and leave home. When deciding, I recommend creating a list highlighting things you really need. Important things you should bring to college include seasonal clothing, bed sheets, sanitary items for showering, washing your face and brushing your teeth, school supplies like pens, pencils, notebooks, a planner, and a laptop (if you have one or need one). Other items you can decide on bringing extra of can be snacks, pots and pans, cutlery, posters and pictures for your dorm room, etc. Once you look through your room, you’ll figure out what things you really need and things you don’t.

Getting Used to the Workload

College is a huge step from high school regarding work. Because you’re more independent, you’re expected to do more assignments with less time to do them. The most important thing is time management. If you have a paper due in a couple of weeks, start organizing how you’ll work on it the day you’re assigned it. I remember leaving projects and papers until the day before it was due, and it was not fun.

Even though the workload is more difficult, you’re focusing on classes you have more interest in and pertain specifically to what you would like to pursue as a career in the future. You might have to focus on the general education courses that everyone has to take your first year, but eventually, you’ll have more of an opportunity to pick classes you see yourself flourishing in. Planners will become your best friend! Use them.

Meeting New People

I think the most stressful part for me when I first got to college was finding people to spend time with. Specifically at the school I am at, Emerson, there aren't many ways to meet people just around the college. People don’t leave their doors open and it’s very unlikely to meet people on your floor. Luckily, I lived in a suite where I met two of my good friends. From there, I joined organizations on campus like an a cappella group and a sorority. There are always ways to get yourself out there whether it be through meeting people in your classes, going to sports games, joining a club, or even sitting with someone at the dining hall. The best thing you can be is yourself. Some people will click with you, and some won’t. That’s okay! College is all about finding people who enjoy you for you. Don’t try to be someone else.

Feeling Homesick

It’s common to miss home when you’re away from home. I go to school about 30 minutes away from my hometown, and I still would miss my family and the comfort of being home. The best thing I recommend to help with this feeling is to talk to friends and family from home as much as possible. With zoom being a big way to communicate now, it’s easier to connect with people more than ever! Also, don’t feel bad about making some trips home during the school year if you need it. Sometimes I would travel home for a weekend just to recharge. It’s perfectly normal!

College life is another world and it’s okay to feel scared. Just know that you’re not alone!

Natalie Daniels is an editorial intern for Dreamlette. She is a journalism major at Emerson College with a love of storytelling. Her favorite topics include entertainment, fashion, lifestyle, social issues, and music.

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