What I Wish I Knew Before Transitioning To College
Coming to college is a huge transition, and it’s different for everyone. For some, adapting to a new environment comes second nature, but to others, getting comfortable in a new place can be a lengthy process. I can’t give you all of the answers to make a smooth transition, but here are a few things I wish I would have known before I started my experience at Iowa State.
Friendships take time
When I first moved in, I was immediately on the lookout for people to become best friends with. I was missing the close friends I had in high school, so I starting looking for similar people in college. However, it’s not that simple. It takes time to find the people you truly connect with, and while that could take a couple weeks, months, or even a year, it’s not something worth stressing about. Enjoy the people you meet and are with in the moment, and you will eventually find your true college friends.
A dorm room is a dorm room
I was so excited about decorating my dorm room when I got to school that I ended up bringing way too much stuff to put in the small space I had. Bring the things that remind you of home and make you comfortable, but don’t overdo it! Try bringing only what you think you need when you first move in, and slowly bring things from home as you realize what you would like to have. The fewer things you have initially makes packing to go home at the end of the year much easier…trust me.
You can change your major
I came to Iowa State with a pretty good idea of what I wanted to study, but many of the people I was living with and meeting in my classes weren’t so sure. After three years in school, all of my friends have found their niche. Whether they stayed in their major from the get-go or switched one or more times, everything has fallen into place, and it will for you too. If you have no idea what you want to pursue in school, don’t stress! There are people to help you and opportunities to take advantage of that will give you a nudge in the right direction.
Do your own thing
During my first semester at Iowa State, I constantly worried about what other people were doing and missed out on some of the things I was individually interested in because of that. As I’ve moved through college, I’ve realized that this experience is about finding what you want to do, not what other people are doing. Now I’m totally fine going to events by myself and encouraging others to explore things with me rather than sitting back and waiting to see what other people are doing.
College is weird
I can’t imagine any two people have the same college experience. There are so many opportunities to seize, so many obstacles to overcome, and so many different possible outcomes after your time at Iowa State. If at all possible, try to avoid mapping out a perfect college experience for yourself, because chances are it won’t end up working out that way. Set achievable goals and work toward your final end goal, but be flexible along the way. You won’t regret it.
Always take time to appreciate yourself
It’s easy to get sucked into focusing on grades and test results and finding the perfect friends and having the “perfect” college experience. But at the end of the day, it’s important to sit back and appreciate the growth you’ve gone through. Transitioning from high school into college is a huge step in your life, and you should be proud of yourself–not just your grades. Pat yourself on the back every once in awhile!