by Sadie Fienberg
The first semester away from home brings many changes to the lives of freshmen. We are now held completely accountable for what we do every day. We now get to decide if going to class is something we want to do, regardless of how much it may be costing our parents. We get to decide when to eat meals, if we want to eat meals, where we want to eat meals and what meals we want to eat. Everything we do on a day-to-day basis is now up for debate. Do we want to do something or don’t we? It is up to us.
Unfortunately, many students decide college is not for them after the first semester or year. Some people leave because being away from home is too strenuous on their hearts. Some people give up because being away is too expensive, but I also think that some people leave because they are not ready to take care of themselves. There is nothing wrong with that. Some people just need more time to grow and adjust to the idea of living on their own. It is a very big step to decide to move out of your parents’ home, but I think it is an even bigger step backwards to decide to move back in.
If moving back home is something that will benefit you, then by all means go for it, but if you are considering it because you are having a hard time on
your own, remember that the feeling of needing someone else to take care of you goes away with time. After a certain point, it all just clicks. In the beginning, it is a lot to handle. Students are usually completely out of their comfort zones, unless they have lived on their own before. On top of that, you’re adjusting to doing laundry, going to class, having a social life, eating and maintaining hygiene, but, after some time, it becomes habit. Give it time, be patient and stick it out. Sometimes it is imperative to force yourself to stay.
College is an amazing opportunity. It helps boys become men, and girls become women. Being in charge of your own life helps you to grow into your best self. Being uncomfortable is completely normal. Of course it is scary to be thrown into a situation where everything is new, but why run from it? Embrace it.
Winter break brings everything into perspective. Students go home for a long period of time — just long enough to get them back into the mode of feeling like a permanent resident, rather than a guest visiting for a few days.
For many, their parents will cook for them, lend them their cars, do their laundry and give them some spending money, along with other amenities I am sure. Sadly, this makes some students resent the fact that they have to do all of it for themselves when they are back at school. Over break many first-year students decide that college is not for them, and they transfer home to their local community colleges or other equivalent.
My first semester being away from home was very busy. I started focusing on my major and minor, joined a sorority and started writing for the Sagebrush. That was all in addition to taking 16 units, living on my own for the first time, coming to a new state where I didn’t know anyone and living with people who are different than myself. Sure, there were classes that I didn’t go to a few times during the semester, but it was definitely nice to be able to make that decision for myself. Coming home for winter break made me really appreciate the fact that I get to make my own choices when I am away at school. As great as it is to go home and visit your family, it gets boring after a while. Being away at school allows me to be able to come and go as I please, eat when I want and go wherever I want.
After a certain point, college starts to get referred to as home. We are no longer saying “let’s go back to the dorms.” It slowly turns into “let’s go home.” Home will always be where our parents are, but college becomes our home away from home. College is the home where we can do whatever we want, no matter how stupid, and be in charge of ourselves. We can grow and mature into the adults we are all meant to be.
Sadie Fienberg studies journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.