For some, the thought of leaving home and going to a place that one may not be familiar with can sound pretty intimidating. At least it did to me when I prepared to leave for college. Being from New York City, I am use to the fast paced lifestyle New Yorkers live everyday. I took public transportation to travel to school everyday with working people, people entertaining subway riders for donations, and other students. That all changed when I graduated high school and came to Utica College. My first time on the campus was during new student orientation and all I could think was, “how will I get use to this?” I did not have the answers then, however, I figured it out as time went by.
I didn’t look at the change as it being inconvenient. I instead looked at it as starting a new chapter in my life. I was living in a place that I never thought I would see myself in, and there were so many great people around I was anxious to mix and mingle with. Within weeks I had become familiar with the campus and its surroundings, and I then began to accept it. When I went home for long breaks like Christmas break or summer vacation, I would anticipate coming back to school after a while. I noticed I begin to enjoy the slower pace of Utica that I did not know anything about before. I begin to appreciate the large open space, the plants, the clouds that look like they are within arms reach, the trees, the silence at night, etc. I realized later being on campus felt like a vacation away from the city.
Now as a senior, I’ve become accustomed with the lifestyle here in Utica and I learned to appreciate it. On top of that, there are several people on campus who are from the city who struggle with the same issues. The answer to getting over the change is talking to different people and making many connections as possible. This way students can attend events together, join organizations, and give each other advice about adapting to the change and how to feel, “at home.” Team work makes the dream work!
5 Tips to adapt to change away from home:
1. Don’t look at it as an inconvience. Look at it as a learning experience.
2. Connect with several people. The more the better. If you meet someone who lives close by or in the upstate area, it’s possible they can introduce you to new activities or even show you the fun things available to do.
3. Stop for a moment and take in the beauty of the campus. It will make you appreciate the pace of things and nature around us.
4. Have an open mind. If you’re open about meeting people, attending events, and trying new things you won’t get bored and become homesick, eventually missing the things you were use to back at home.
5. Don’t be afraid to come out of your comfort zone. You may try something you never tried before and end up really enjoying it, or graduate college with a diverse group of friends.