My first week at Wellesley has been everything I expected (as cliché as it sounds) and quite a few things that I did not anticipate. It has been simultaneously familiar and somehow fresh and completely eye-opening. I’ve registered for the classes that I’d been eying ever since I found the course catalog online and I’ve finally finished unpacking and organizing my room (I’m kind of curious to see how long I’ll manage to keep it this neat. Feel free to make your bets). But I’ve also done things that I never would’ve thought I’d do like…running into the lake in complete darkness with the rest of the first-years from my residence hall, and giving a complete stranger a back rub in the middle of a guest lecture.

They say that this is the start of a great journey, the time to meet new people (hopefully befriend them…) and to try new things and attempt all the rest of that daring stuff that accompanies being a fresh(wo)man in college. And I am really looking forward to seeing what this year will bring me and who I will be at the end of it. But I think it’s both necessary and okay to allow yourself some comforts as well. You don’t need to force yourself to be social all the time; I’m a fan of solitude and so I’ve enjoyed taking walks by myself just to process all that has been going on and to give myself a breather. That said, talk to lots of new people, even if you don’t think you might have anything in common. I’ve been talking to people who could not be more different from me in terms of their personalities and interests, and I’ve found that those conversations have ended up being the most memorable. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; this is your time to get situated to a second home and everyone is trying to make you feel as comfortable as possible, so take advantage of it. And lastly, talk to your folks (whoever it is—family, friends, mentors, etc) regularly; as much as this might be a new transition for you, it is also a transition for the people who love you—a period of adjustment to your absence—and they just want to make sure you’re okay. (Side note: I video-chatted with my cat today (yes, my cat) and it was glorious.)

So all in all, try to merge a bit of what is comfortable and familiar in your life with all that is new. Try to remember that while this is a time for you to grow and experience many new things, it is also a chance for you to bring your unique individuality, passions, interests, and quirks to the table and to represent where you come from. As much as the world might have to offer you, you have just as much to offer it—and I don’t think anyone should take that responsibility and opportunity lightly. It’s all about going from your roots to new branches.