Dear B… how do I make my freshman experience better?

By Farah Bassyouni Oct 2, 2023

Dear B…

This is my first year at IWU and my year hasn’t started off very well. I’m an out of state student and I’m having a really hard time adjusting. I’m not necessarily homesick, I just don’t really feel like I belong here. It’s not the school itself; the campus is beautiful and everyone here is really nice and welcoming. I just have so much reading to do for classes, I don’t really get along with my roommate, and I haven’t found my group of people. I keep telling myself to stick it out and hopefully it will get better and my mindset will change. Everyone says that college was the best four years of their life, but right now it doesn’t feel much different than high school.

Sincerely, Floundering Freshman

Dear Floundering Freshman, 

I completely understand what you’re going through. I had a pretty rocky start to my freshman year as well (from throwing up on my first night in my dorm, to having to get stitches out the first week, to a months long carpenter ant infestation in my window), but I can thankfully say that this year is already going much better. Things that certainly helped me feel more at home at college were finding things/hobbies that I was excited about to make sure I didn’t have too much free time on my hands. My freshman year I wasn’t involved in much, so unless I was reading for class, I was sitting at my desk watching tv. I love my alone time, but too much of it can actually be exhausting. Getting involved in clubs and events on campus helped me find like minded friends and get me out of my own bubble. But most of all, adjusting just takes time. There are so many new things thrown at you your freshman year that sometimes it feels like it’s hard to keep up. Once you’ve had enough time on campus to figure out how everything works here, you’ll feel much more comfortable. After my crummy first year, I’ve gotten involved with the paper and honors society and become a tour guide. I’ve also finally learned how to use my meal plan for all of the food options on campus (my dumb self only used Saga and SubConnection my first year because I couldn’t figure out how to divide the meal points). And as for the highschool thing, I think adults try to trivialize things as “that’s so highschool”, like cliquey friend groups, immature and selfish people, and not knowing how to navigate a busy schedule, when in reality there are multiple aspects of the cliche high school structure that are actually just a part of life, no matter what your age. To sum it up, keep your head up, keep your mind open, and don’t let yourself miss out on something that could end up being great, or at least better. 

Sincerely, B

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