The only thing you can know for sure before starting college is that there will be surprises. One of the biggest ones for me and many others is this: college is not an all-inclusive dream package. It is an immensely transformative time to make deep friendships, cultivate knowledge, and gain independence (yup, you know, all that stuff you put on your college applications). But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t take great adjustments and great shortcomings. That’s what I’m going to write about here.
I’m Miranda, a first-year college student attending Pitzer College in Claremont, CA. I will be blogging on this platform to pass on the many surprises, big and small, that I have encountered and will encounter as I navigate the transition from high school to college. Of course, my experience by no means speaks for all college freshman, but I think it’s important to open up a discussion about a life changing transition, one that no one prepared me for before I embarked on it. Hopefully this discussion can be a two-way street because honest discourse spreads through many avenues and voices.
Starting college is a very vulnerable yet exciting time. One of the most important lessons for me so far has been to be extremely gracious and patient with myself. Growing pains and lonely strolls around the dining hall are sometimes necessary (and character building) and once I stopped putting the pressure on myself to have the picturesque experience, I was able to map out solutions (ask a friend to lunch BEFORE arriving to lunch) and self-soothe when things go awry (I’m getting a glass of the endless supply of dining hall soda and rocking this solo-lunch.)
I will dish on making friends, academics, putting together a schedule, and the cold hard truth of FOMO. I will share strategies, mindsets, and support systems that have helped, and draw on peers on other paths to share their insights.
If you couldn’t tell by now: I am imperfect! And so has been my first year! But I think it’s worth speaking candidly and giving the advice I can for future college newbies, as well as current college students, parents, or my aunt who loves my Facebook activity.
I write with the risk of naivety, but much like the start of college: let’s just shake a stick at it. Thanks for being here with me.
Felicia Fahey PhD
Felicia is a comprehensive educational consultant. She works with college bound students of all ages close to home, across the country and around the globe.