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Advice for New College Students From a Recent GradCambria Pilger
As summer comes to an end and I begin my sophomore year at the University of San Diego, I’ve found myself reflecting a lot on how different this summer felt from the last, when I was about to start my first year of college.
Coming home from college this summer in some ways felt like a relief. I got to step away from a year of huge adjustments and unfamiliarity and settle back into my life at home, where I knew everything would be the same. Life at home meant working the same job I had last year at the local bagel shop, lots of hikes, afternoons at my friend’s pool, and relaxing with my family. All my high school friends were back in town and after just a few weeks, it was easy to almost forget that I had another life waiting for me in San Diego.
While many aspects of this summer did feel the same as the summer after senior year of high school, there was one major difference: I no longer felt anxious about heading to college in the fall. There were so many conflicting emotions when I was getting ready to move to campus for the very first time. Part of me was thrilled to start something new at a university I was in love with, but another part never wanted summer to end because the thought of heading to another state with no one I knew was absolutely terrifying. I spent every second I could with my high school friends and tried to soak up my last months as a full-time resident of the home where I’d grown up. Summer’s end was inevitable, but my friends and I mostly avoided the subject of college in an effort to keep all those mixed emotions at bay.
This summer, when I thought about going back to college, the anxiety was gone and I was just plain excited. There was so much comfort in knowing that I know my way around campus and actually had friends waiting for me there! Saying bye to my hometown friends was still tough, but we know now that we can handle not seeing each other for a semester. In college time, four months goes by in the blink of an eye; as soon as we know it, we’ll all be back home for winter break.
Packing was another improvement — no longer an impossible task since I’ve learned what I need to have at school. It was fun FaceTiming my USD friends about everything we couldn’t wait to do this fall: take classes together, live in an on-campus apartment with people that we chose, hit the beach on the weekends. The prospect of diving back into a routine of full-time studying is daunting, but this year we’re all starting to take classes in our majors so we’re hopeful we’ll be studying things we’re passionate about.
Still, there are a few unknowns that come with second year. I’m trying to figure out what major to declare, and I don’t know yet what life with my new roommate will be like and how difficult my classes will be. However, these don’t feel half as scary as last year because now I know that I can do it. My friends and I will all be going through it together.
So, as I say goodbye to the summer of 2019, I feel at peace. I expect sophomore year will go by even faster than freshman year, and before I can even process it I’ll be heading back home for another summer. It could look really similar to the summer I just had, or it could be completely different. That’s one of the coolest parts of college — I never really know what’s around the corner!
College move-in is approaching! Help your student prepare by making sure they have everything they need for a successful freshman year.