Words and Photos by Kaitlyn Finchler

As new students come in for the semester, some might find themselves feeling like they’re distant from loved ones or that they don’t fit in. Some might find that they’re overwhelmed by a newfound sense of adulthood they encounter post-high school. Here are some tips and tricks to making the transition into college a bit smoother.

Make your room feel like “at-home” as possible.

It’s apparent that no one really likes living in the dorms, it’s overpriced for under quality utilities. If you average it out and compare the cost of an average dorm to monthly rent in an apartment, some campuses are ripping off their students. The dorms at Kent average out to about $1,000 a month when you break the numbers down. That’s factoring in sharing a room, fridge and microwave with one to three people; and bathrooms with almost 50 other people. 

Sometimes you just need a space you can call your own. Decorate your room, add a rug and some photos, make it as comfortable as possible. In the picture below, you can see that I have a tapestry, as well as a few cacti pillows and multiple photos of family, friends and my dog, Phoebe.

Get to know the people on your floor

Now, granted this might not be applicable to everyone, but talk to the people on your floor and make them acquaintances if not friends. It just so happens that a good half of my floor props their doors open and anytime one of us walks by, we’ll shout “Hey neighbor!” They don’t have to be your best friend, but it wouldn’t hurt to get along with the people you’re living with for the rest of the year.

Join a club or organization

This can help with the sense of loneliness students can encounter when entering a new environment for the first time. It doesn’t matter what campus you go to, there are hundreds of clubs you can join catered to every interest. Another good option to definitely gain some friends whether you actually end up joining or not is sorority recruitment. You make so many friends throughout recruitment, even from signing up, you’ll make friends regardless.

It’s okay to call Mom and Dad

Some people have the stigma that you can’t rely on your parents anymore, or that you can’t talk to them every day because you’re on your own now. This is completely false. Talk to your parents, I promise they want to hear from you too. 

All in all, life is what you make it, so you might as well make the best of it. We’re all learning about ourselves and who we are as people, so it should come naturally to do this in a comfortable setting.