If you’re anything like me, the years leading up to college were filled with nothing but impatient anticipation. I couldn’t wait to go away to school and have a completely different life, to meet new friends and learn new things and to grow outside the confines of my small Massachusetts hometown. And OK, going three hours away to the next state over and to a similarly small town wasn’t the most drastic of changes, but that just goes to show how transformative college can be. The same setting plus different people yields vastly different results and is just one piece of what makes Fairfield University such a positive environment.

Whether you’re as excited as I was to be starting college or you’re terrified out of your mind, I will say that this first year in a new place full of people you’ve never met is going to change you. If there’s one thing college has taught me this year, it’s that the experience is what you make of it. Make yourself comfortable in whatever ways you can, but you shouldn’t go into college with a
high school mindset, and this has been my philosophy since my orientation in June of last year. It was honestly because of this mentality that I put myself out of my comfort zone and met two of my best friends that I have at school, and is what also made it possible for me to make so many more after that.

Luckily for you, you’ve decided to come to Fairfield and though I can’t guarantee your time here will be great just by virtue of it being Fairfield, I will say your transition just got easier. Like I said before, if you want to make the most out of your experience, it’s going to require some work on your part. You have to make those connections yourself, you have to talk to people you don’t
know, go into a club full of upperclassmen who all know each other and carve out your own spot, and know that every other freshman who looks like they know everyone could be just as alone as you. But because you’ve come to Fairfield, you’re not going to want to keep to yourself. The people, the activities on campus, the professors and classes, they all want your participation. One of my fears as a freshman was going into a new place and finding a disdain for the students coming in and that is something I never encountered.

Though it’s possible that your time at Fairfield won’t match the positive experience I had, I will say there’s a good chance it will if you take the opportunities it gives. Getting involved at college is all about entering it with an open mind. College isn’t about cliques and finding the coolest group to be involved with, it’s about finding the people and things you love, and Fairfield makes that easier, not only because of the clubs offered but the people that inhabit them. I can wax poetic for ages about all the information you’ve been inundated with in orientation brochures, about clubs and sports teams and on-campus organizations, but the bottom line is people at Fairfield are kind. I’ve got a circle of friends representative of the various activities I’ve joined this past year and each feel like a kind of second family to me.

College is everything you’ve ever heard about it; it’s every bit of fun, pressure and self-discovery that anyone who’s been will tell you about. It does sound cheesy and cliché to say, just because it’s been said so many times before, but I’ve found it to be imperative to put yourself out there. Because if you think about it, when is something like this ever going to happen again? When is the chance to meet so many different people all at once with all different beliefs, backgrounds and cultures ever going to happen for the first time again? You’ve come to Fairfield to find all this, to find it reaching out to you. I encourage you, therefore, to reach back.

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