The minivan is all gassed up, all the bags and boxes are in the back, and off to college you go.
It's the moment you've been waiting for since you could remember. FREEDOM. NO RULES. NO SUPERVISION.
For a lot of students, this moment is the time where your feelings shift from excitement to anxiety. The summer before entering college is full of final memories with high school friends, Pinterest boards full of artsy things for dorm rooms, and lots (and lots, and LOTS) or shopping. As soon as August hits, you just can't wait to finally be in college.
When you walk into the white-walled cinder-block closet that is going to be the bane of your existence from that point forward, it's kind of terrifying.
How are you ever going to be able to fit all of that stuff from your car into half of this room? How are you going to meet new people you actually want to be around? What if you forgot something?
Essentially, you're Kristen Bell:
That first day has a lot of people immediately feeling behind and out of place. That's normal. The thing that people forget is that literally everyone else feels exactly the same.
With IU's large campus and 40,000+ student base, it can be really intimidating. And unfortunately, no, that trek from McNutt to 3rd Street doesn't get any easier, and Fee Lane will always feel unbearable.
I personally came from a very tight community. I was born and raised in Indianapolis, so I wasn't from a small town, but I could count on one hand the people I knew who were not white, Catholic, and conservative.
IU is the exact opposite of that. People are from all over the world. People are all different races, religions, and orientations. Each student comes from a different background, and there is so much to learn. Staying in a bubble gets you nowhere.
Anyway, after my parents left and I was officially on my own as a college student, I felt a sudden urge to go meet everyone. I CAN'T LET ALL THE FRIENDS GET SNATCHED BEFORE I MEET SOME.
Go introduce yourself to people in your building, and on your floor especially. I know it seems weird but everyone does it at some point. If you meet friends who live with you, that's great. However, if you don't, that's perfectly fine too. With an enrollment base the size of a small city, surely you'll be able to find SOMEONE you get along with.
A misunderstanding that upsets a lot of students, especially girls, is not becoming instant best friends with your roommate.
I met my roommate online through the SchoolsApp (yes, that actually does happen). We met a few times before ultimately deciding to room together, and I was so excited when it was official. It took a huge weight off my shoulders to know who I was going to be living with.
Following the events of Welcome Week, my roommate anxiety returned. I quickly discovered that we had very different ideas of a good time. "And this is only Week 1..." I kept thinking.
I knew we weren't going to be the exact same person, but I didn't realize just how different we were.
Looking back, we laugh about that. As it turns out, we really aren't all that different. We aren't best friends, but we get along really well and enjoy each other's company. She asked for a shoutout, so here it is: LOVE YOU SARAH!
Honestly, I feel like it's a good thing to not be BFFs with your roommate, boys or girls. Spending too much time with the same people can lead to a downfall, so it really helps if you each have your own "thing." Don't limit yourself to just a few friends.
With regards to academics, I was like any other typical freshman. I bought my books, had a copy of my class schedule, and my desk was nice and tidy. (Warning: it will not stay that way).
You're probably going to feel a little anxious about the fact that you have to walk to different buildings that are a mile apart in 15 minutes, but you're also probably going to feel that, as long as your ducks are in a row in the beginning, they'll stay that way.
WELL. If you're like me, you're going to show up to your second class on Monday, have a panic attack and decide that it's going to be too hard. For me, it ended up actually being the better choice, but for the sake of you and your parents, DO NOT DO THAT.
The best advice I can give to incoming freshman is to cut yourself some slack. You just went from having to tell your parents where you are at all hours of the day to getting a solid 3.5 hours of sleep on nights you have 8am's. Also: if given literally any other options, do not take an 8 a.m. class. You don't think it will be that bad, but it really is that bad.
It's not the same as high school, and you need to give yourself time to adjust. The classes will be harder, but it's so worth it. You're finally taking classes geared toward what you actually want to do with your life.
The roadblock that most people run into is when their typical 4.0 fashion turns into just hoping they pass. To be frank, even if you were the valedictorian of your high school, you are not going to get a 4.0 in college, ESPECIALLY if you're in a competitive major (like Kelley).
The best way to go about academics is to over prepare in the beginning. It's much easier to keep your head above water if you don't dig a hole at first. Study more than you feel is necessary, and then based on your results, you'll be able to judge how much to study in the future.
Also: DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. We all did it in high school and yes, it worked for us. But this is the big leagues now. Don't be the person who wants to go out on a Friday night but forgot they had homework due at midnight. Put in the time and you should be alright.
So, in conclusion, I leave you with this: don't forget to call your parents (it's still okay to talk to them), be the person you aspire to be, and have the time of your life.