For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Aug 28 2016
by Alexandra Carpenter

7 Surprising Things I Learned During Welcome Week

By Alexandra Carpenter - Aug 28 2016

1. There were no tears.

If you are close to your parents, you're probably expecting them (especially your mom) to be a puddle by the end of move-in day. In my case, my parents helped me unpack, assembled my two small shelves, asked if I needed anything and left after a single hug. The idea of me moving to college was likely just as exciting for them as it is for me, so there was simply no need for anyone to be upset!  

2. I didn't over-pack (by some miracle)!

As my pile of belongings that I wanted to take to college began to accumulate in my living room, there were constantly comments being thrown around about how much unnecessary stuff I might have. This was further reinforced by the fact that my family had to rent a minivan for move-in day, and I had to make not one, not two, but three trips up to my dorm with my big orange cart. Ironically, once I unpacked, I realized I had tons of empty space even in my tiny suite. I even packed more containers and organizers than I had things to fill them! You may be surprised how much you can fit in your room, so don't worry too much about the packing process.

3. My room wasn't done in one day.

It also wasn't done in two. Or three. Or four. This is likely because my Welcome Week was packed full of meetings, fun events, and shopping. However, even between my four wall decorations, only two are hanging up as I write this article. There are so many other important parts of adjusting to your new life on campus, so your dorm might just end up at the bottom of your list. Don't stress too much about setting up your dorm. Rome wasn't built in a day, and it's possible your new home won't be either.

4. Portion control is *really* hard.

Thanks to my school's Welcome Week meal plans (three free meals a day until classes start), I felt obligated to eat all of my meals at the dining halls. With food court-like, all-you-can-eat-style locations, it's pretty hard to resist the temptation of getting a little (or a lot) of everything you lay eyes on. My school even tries to combat this plague by no longer providing trays to hold multiple plates. Even so, three trips to the table later, I find myself sitting in front of way too much food, even if I manage to eat it all. I can't say I've checked the scale yet, but I believe the Freshman 15 must be real.

5. Having orientation early in the summer was extremely helpful.

A lot of colleges schedule their orientation a couple days before classes start. However, I was thankful that my college offered orientation sessions all summer starting in mid-June. With the addition of 6 whole days on campus prior to classes, I was more than settled even just a few days after move-in. Don't take your orientation for granted!

6. I did not get lost on public transportation.*

*This is not to suggest that nobody else did. 

As someone who has lived their entire life in the suburbs, I was a little nervous about adjusting to new methods of transportation. Our honors program planned a cool scavenger hunt around the city...with one catch: we had to figure out how to get off campus and into the center of the city. Using the subway for the first time in a big city was a bit daunting. Luckily, I was with a large group of other clueless freshman, and we put our heads together to figure out how to get on/off the subway, get transfers, and get around the city. None of it turned out to be as confusing as I expected. Some things are simply a matter of getting used to them, and you'll quickly become a pro at all sorts of little things at college. 

7. My dorm (and my campus) started feeling like home strangely quickly.

Already on my third day on campus, while on an excursion in the city, I was starting to feel tired. I told the rest of my group, "Does anyone just want to go home?", and I of course meant our university. I hope that most new college students feel this way, but after a while, campus as a whole just feels like the place you belong. I asked myself numerous times throughout the week if I felt like I wanted to go home. While I was tempted to at least text my parents a quick photo or ask how things were, I didn't once feel that I would be happier at home than at college. 

Lead image credit: Tulane Public Relations via Flickr Creative Commons

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Alexandra Carpenter - Temple University

Alexandra is a rising sophomore with junior standing at Temple University and is majoring in psychology with minors in biology and criminal justice. She plays multiple instruments and occasionally writes music for piano. In her spare time, she enjoys collecting record albums and listening to music, mainly classic rock and heavy metal. She also is an avid writer of fictional stories and is working on two novels.

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