I remember being very terrified of not fitting in at college. I was specially worried that I wouldn’t find friends, that I would get lost finding my classes, that nobody would want to stay in and play board games etc. During my freshman year, as a first-generation student, I didn’t know what college would be like and it sounded so weird to hear my peers call the college campus their “home”. I remember constantly thinking, “I’ll never be able to call this place my home.”, but I was very wrong.
This month I want to talk about why I was wrong in thinking that my college campus wouldn’t ever be “home”.
I was wrong because I had a fixed mindset about what “home” really means. For most of my life, home was the place that my parents lived in. Since we’re only three in my family and I don’t have family anywhere near Illinois (where my parents and I live)… I was very used to only having one “home”. The first night at the college campus was annoying. Being an only child, I had never shared a room with anyone else before and suddenly I had two roommates. New noises and people all living with me was very hard for me. In addition, I wasn’t meeting people who I thought would be my friends. I barely saw people who looked like me around and frequently ate dinner by myself.
I thought that I couldn’t turn to my parents and tell them how bad school was going for me because… well I was living the dream. I had made it. As far as I could tell, everyone back home wanted their children to get to college and “make it out” of Waukegan, IL. I had successfully done that so I thought I couldn’t feel bad about how my first year was going.
I felt alone. I felt invisible. I felt homesick.
Then, I met a few amazing people that helped me get out of that mindset. I met the people that I consider my best friends: Miriam and Nigel. At first, I was hesitant because I didn’t know how to have friends (as weird as that sounds). I was usually focused in school all throughout high school and barely had time to make connections with my peers. Slowly, but surely, I started coming out of my shell when those two were around. Sure, there were many others that were really nice and sweet to me, but those tow are the reason I can call that college campus my “home”.
They were the ones that asked me how I was doing. They’re the ones who were ok with staying in and playing games all night. They’re the ones who would go into classrooms inside Case Center and blast music while being goofy and dancing all night. They’re the ones who stood by me when my world was falling apart.
I owe these people so much for helping me get through college. They’re the reason I was wrong to say that my college campus wouldn’t ever be my “home”. Now that I’m studying remotely (due to COVID), I realize how much I miss them.
As a first generation student, I know how hard year one can be. Sometimes you may feel homesick and/or alone, but trust me when I say that college is going to be amazingly fun! You will meet the people who will stick by you no matter what. Look for them, they’re going to make everything 100% better. You’re not alone <3
This one goes out to the two most incredible people I know at Skidmore College: Miriam and Nigel! I can’t wait to see you both and give you a huge hug! Thank you for sticking by me.