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The first year dilemma: From move-in to melt-down

By Hayley MarksSpecial to the Chronicle

On August 29, thousands of first-year students bombarded the campus with truckloads of dorm necessities and a myriad of cardboard boxes and suitcases. All summer, we’d been preparing to embark on one of the most exciting adventures of our young lives so far: the college experience. We were in a rush to grow up and finally become college students, to be granted with endless possibility and more independence than we had ever known before. And so, when we arrived at Hofstra on move-in day, it seemed like a fresh start.

The next four days integrated us into the college lifestyle we’d always imagined. The barbecues, showcases and ice-cream socials were fabulous gateways into the life of a college student. Each of the required events helped us to better get to know our surroundings and our peers, as well as educate us on our imminent exposure to sex and drinking. But then, after we were no longer able to depend on fun orientation events to fill our schedules, after the university stopped holding our hands, we had an epiphany—we’re on our own.

Our moms aren’t here to pack our lunches and wake us up every morning. We need to plan our own meals and find the best time to shower and do our laundry. It’s a rough transition, and an even rougher adjustment. We are becoming adults, and being an adult requires adult responsibilities.  Of course, being an adult also entails freedom, and though we’re ecstatic to have this newfound freedom, we find ourselves lost with what to do with it. So, we sit and ponder items to put on our to-do lists and what’s realistic to get involved in this semester, while lying in our beds missing taco night at home.

The anxiety and depression we feel during this change in our lives has a name: homesickness. We feel like we’re alone, even though we’re surrounded by a dense pool of over 8,000 individuals just like us. But the best part about college is that we are never truly alone; we’re all in the same boat together, figuring out just how to be truly independent. We’re learning who we are, and we’ll keep moving forward, even through our darkest moments. We’re here to learn, to dream, to take risks, to become adults. We’re here to have fun and to create unforgettable memories.

What we mustn’t forget is that time isn’t on our side. Things pick up pace. We find a solid group of friends and grow comfortable in our role as college students until one day, we’re sitting in our caps and gowns on graduation day reminiscing about orientation and Welcome Week and wondering where all the time went.

 As freshmen, it’s our job to get involved in the community of our university. Embrace your class standing. Join a club. Take challenging classes. Work hard, and try new things. We’re bound to find our place here. And hey, mom’s cooking will always be there when we go home for the holidays.

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