I remember the feelings of being an incoming freshman at Fairfield University like it was yesterday. The joys of summer, stress about buying every dorm room necessity, anxiety about living away from home and excitement over college all still seem so real to me; even two years later as an incoming junior. 

The transition to college is no easy task, but having gone through two years at Fairfield University I have learned the best tips and practices to overcome the college transition. I won’t lie to you, my college transition was pretty tough, but hopefully, these tips will guide you into making Fairfield your new home!

  1. Keep an open mind.

While this one may sound obvious, having an open mind is an essential part of getting the most out of your freshman year. The first year of college is all about meeting new people, getting involved in new activities, and learning more about yourself. The best way to do this is to be open to any new scenario that presents itself. Go join that club that you’ve always been interested in but never tried before. Go say yes to hanging out with the girl you met in the dining hall (I did and she turned out to be my future roommate!). Say hi to the person sitting next to you in class. Your open mind and attitude will attract great people and great experiences! 

  1. Find something you love doing each day. 

When I was a first-year, I frequently found myself overwhelmed by all of the changes I was experiencing. When I felt that things were getting to be too much, I would take a walk down to Bellarmine Pond, set up my hammock and listen to music to clear my mind. This became something that brought me a lot of peace and mental clarity, and I would always leave feeling better than before. 

Things like this may seem small, but they make a massive difference. Making time for self-care is super important for everyone, especially freshmen. College life can be a lot to handle at times and it is important that you make time for the things you enjoy. Whether this is going for a walk, hitting the gym, journaling, drinking your morning coffee or watching a show, make sure that you find time each day to do something specifically for yourself. 

  1. Alone time is good!

It’s time to break the stigma about being “alone” at college. Being alone is completely different than being lonely. Once you are able to make this distinction, alone time feels freeing rather than isolating. I am such a people person and even I got overwhelmed with being around people 24/7 in college. Because of this, I quickly realized that I needed to prioritize my alone time, so I started eating a solo lunch in the dining hall after my morning classes (side note: I promise you that no one cares if you are eating alone in the dining hall). This became one of my favorite parts of the day, as I used this time to chill by myself and map out the rest of my day in my planner. 

Sometimes I would even go into town and visit a coffee shop by myself for a change of scenery. While I adore spending time with my friends, this alone time really helped me feel grounded and take a breath of fresh air during my college transition. 

  1. Get involved!

This is probably the number one thing you will hear during your first year at college, but it is completely worth it. The best way to get the most out of your time at Fairfield is to get involved with various different clubs, organizations and jobs around campus. Take advantage of the activities fair at the start of each semester and sign up for anything that sparks your interest. I had never written for a newspaper before, but writing for The Mirror has been one of the best experiences I’ve had at Fairfield and brought me so many new friends! Getting involved with things you love will also connect you with like-minded people. I have made so many of my best friends through clubs at Fairfield and can attest that getting involved really is worth the hype. 

  1. It’s okay not to feel your best.

Let’s be honest, college transitions are messy. Homesickness sucks, but it is felt by everyone. If you feel like everyone around you knows what they’re doing and is living their best life, I promise you that they’re not. You’d be surprised how many people are feeling the same emotions that you are. All college freshmen are in the same boat trying to navigate how to make new friends and live on their own for the first time. 

While you may feel alone, I guarantee that you are far from it. It’s okay to be down sometimes, it’s all part of the process. Just remember not to be too hard on yourself and you will get through all the challenges that the college transition throws at you. Grow through what you go through! 

Hopefully, these tips will give you a sense of comfort during your first year at Fairfield. You are all stronger than you think, and with a positive attitude and open mindset, you will be ready to master your first year of college. Best of luck and welcome to Stag Country!

About The Author

-- Junior I Assistant Vine I English Creative Writing --

Jacqui is an English: Creative Writing major in Fairfield University's class of 2025

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