The part of college no one talks about

If I’m being honest, my first few months at Geneseo have been difficult. As a first-year, you think that you’ve made some good friends, but then people change. They stop inviting you out without an explanation, and it makes you feel like you did something wrong or you’re not likable. It can really mess with your mental health; personally, it made me more cautious about meeting new people than I already was. Just when I feel like I’ve gotten the hang of college life, there’s a sad night when all I want to do is go home and be in the comfort of my own room. I assumed it would be easy to meet people and make friends, but it turned out to be a lot harder than I thought, especially when it looks like everybody around me has already made lifelong friends and is having an amazing time. Luckily, my dad knew someone who helped me get a job with the hockey team here, which keeps me busy, and I’ve even met a few people through it as well. I get to go to all the hockey games and film them—getting paid to watch my favorite sport is an added bonus! Along with school and my new job, I need to have something to look forward to in order to keep myself motivated. Right now, it’s visiting my brother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my sister for Thanksgiving. I’ve grown used to not seeing my older siblings very much throughout the year. They both left the house when I was going into 7th grade: my brother went to Ann Arbor, Michigan to play for the USA NTDP hockey team and my sister was attending college at Florida State. It was a hard transition for my whole family, so any time all five of us get to be together, we make the best of it. Hanging out with my brother and sister is one of my favorite things. They are basically my best friends but, of course, we fight like all brothers and sisters do. My family is an important part of my life, and I’ll happily spend time with my parents, siblings, and extended family whenever I get the chance. But this has made creating a “home” on campus challenging. I have been spending most weekends at my parents’ house, so my dad and I agreed that I need to stay in the dorms for a little longer than a week, so I can get used to being independent for longer stretches of time. I love my family and I get homesick quickly, but I’m going to try my best.

Finding friends, or people to just hang out with, has been the biggest issue for me. I’m someone who likes to do stuff and go places. In the spring, I will be able to rush a sorority, which seems like a good way to meet like-minded people. My mom and sister were both in sororities in college, and it’s where they met their best friends, so I’m putting my hopes into that. Since August, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, good and bad times, but I know my family and childhood friends are just a phone call away. They will always be there for me when I need them, and this helps me stay positive. The adjustment to Geneseo has been one of the toughest experiences that I’ve gone through. College really pushes you mentally to take control of yourself and your life. In every way, it’s a whole new world, but it’s rewarding when things finally feel like they are falling into place, and this is what I trust next semester will be like for me.

First chapter of the last book

Coming to the realization that my childhood was ending and I was about to go off to college was a very real and hard thing to process. Buying things for school and my dorm was exciting, but I don’t think I’ve ever experienced something as difficult as move-in day. That morning I had a panic attack in my bedroom, not wanting to leave home. I was pretty silent on the drive to campus and while my parents and I moved my stuff in. Before I knew it, I was hugging my mom and dad goodbye, and they told me to smile and try to stay positive. I had to go immediately to orientation with red eyes and cheeks from crying. I met people in my group and talked to everyone—the usual orientation stuff. The first weekend at Geneseo was filled with orientation events like casino night, presentations, games, and interactive activities. It was really fun to see people doing things all around campus. I had a feeling of reassurance that everyone was in the same boat as me; I wasn’t the only one struggling. One day, I received a text in the GroupMe for my floor about cupcakes that some girls made, so I went over and started talking to them. Angelica, Maddie, and I talked about our families and interests, our favorite music and hobbies. We shared a similar sense of humor, and the three of us clicked instantly. Plus, we found out we had classes together, so when it came time to go to these classes, I was lucky to have someone I knew in a few of them, and I felt more comfortable. Yet starting classes made me kind of anxious, too, because it was my first time taking college courses. Fortunately, I liked all my professors and courses, and everything went smoothly. As the first week ended, I felt good and was happy to have some friends to hang out with to make the start of this new chapter easier.

One of the most important things about transitioning into college life is making sure you meet people and keep yourself busy. As fun as I might sound like I am having, there have been some really hard days and nights where I just want to go home and see my family and high school friends. To help me pick myself up at these difficult moments, I listen to music, watch one of my favorite movies, or Facetime my friends from home. But what is crucial is also having new friends who can help take your mind off your homesickness. Overall, my time at Geneseo so far has been positive, but there will always be ups and downs. This transition into college and independence has felt like the beginning of the last book of my teenage life.