When I was in high school, I always had this preconceived idea of what college is supposed to look like, and how it is supposed to be the best four years of your life. That’s why I eagerly applied to schools all outside of New York, with the hopes of meeting new people, discovering myself, achieving success, and being independent. Now as I am halfway through the second semester of my sophomore year, I can proudly say I have accomplished these dreams of mine, but it did not come as easily as I thought it would or should.
Before I left for college, I spent 18 years of my life living in the same town as my entire family; this includes my mom’s twelve brothers and sisters and all of my fifty something cousins (yeah I know crazy right?). I was used to seeing my family almost every day, hanging out with my friends who I have known since we were in diapers, and spending much of my free time going to the mall, the beach, the city, or other places where I was constantly surrounded by other people and loud noises. I had received all A’s in my classes while managing to work five days a week and participating in various clubs and extracurricular activities. I thought I really had my life together, and I was expecting to be able to just continue what I was doing in college with ease.
Nobody ever warned me how difficult the transition from high school into college can be for some people. I walked into UConn without knowing anyone, and I remember how scared and lonely I felt those first few weeks. I remember looking at my home friends’ social media accounts and seeing them post pictures of themselves with their new friends at their new schools looking like they were having the time of their lives; I was thinking to myself that maybe going away isn’t right for me, and I started to consider transferring back home. No amount of work in high school could have prepared me for the workload one receives in college. On top of having a hard time making friends and meeting new people, I was running on four hours of sleep every night trying to study and finish all of my homework and labs, and I was mentally and physically exhausted. My heart ached for home and for my friends and family, and a home cooked meal (unlimited swipes for the dining hall gets old fast).
The night before registration was due, my roommate convinced me to sign up for Panhellenic recruitment. Although I was a little unsure of whether Greek life was right for me, I figured I had nothing to lose and that it was a way for me to meet new people. Joining Greek life and becoming involved on campus was easily the best decision I have ever made. Although it took some time, I began to meet new people and form friendships that will last me a life time. As a result of joining Greek life, I met people with similar majors and interests as mine who encouraged me to branch out and become involved in other organizations on campus such as PAPCA and College Ambassadors. As for the workload, I learned study habits that worked for me from trial and error and from my FYE class and ways to efficiently manage my time. As time went on I started to feel adjusted and that I belonged at UConn.
Although there are still days now where I miss home, I could not imagine what my life would be like if I had decided to leave UConn. The transition into college can be extremely overwhelming and nerve wracking. My advice to everyone is just remember that most people feel the exact same way you do even if they are not expressing it and that it takes time to adjust to a new life with different people and places. In the end everything always works out, and if I never stayed at UConn I would never have discovered my home away from home.