College is going to be the best four years of your life ….
As you got ready to head to Tulane, you probably heard this statement too many times to count. The problem with this statement is that it sets up a picture in our heads and gives us unrealistically high expectations of what college will be. If you are anything like me, you probably planned all of your tailgate outfits before school even started, and stalked a bunch of upperclassmen who appear to have the perfect friend groups with the perfect outfits and perfect lives. Well now that you have officially been a Tulane student for one week, you may have come to the realization that college is nothing like you thought it’d be. I’m here to give some insight and to let you know that it is okay to still be finding your place.
Social Media provides an illusion that falsely portrays what college is like. You scroll down your Instagram feed and subconsciously compare yourself to friends and peers at other schools who appear to be thriving already. We subconsciously compete with the people we follow to have the “best” time at school. There are many problems with this, but the biggest issue is that we only see what people want us to see. You have to remember that people aren’t posting when they’re homesick, or stuck in the library studying, or when the stress of finals are hitting. They are posting that one good picture that took a thousand shots to get. So just remember, life is not always as it seems on social media. Rather than planning every Instagram shot and constantly worrying about looking like you’re having fun, put your phone away and genuinely live in the moment. Enjoy Boot Happy Hours, tailgating, the Fly and the upcoming darties without thinking about how you appear to others.
Making a friend group seems to be an urgent worry for a lot of people. Many of us are leaving our childhood friend group for the first time and it seems like the biggest transition in the world. I’m here to tell you that it’s perfectly normal not to make your best friends in your first semester of college. As you move through your four years at Tulane, you are constantly meeting new people; there’s a good chance that the people you’re with now are not going to be your best friends throughout college. One of the best ways to meet people is to get immersed in campus activities and opportunities. Whether it be joining a club (in my case, joining The Crescent), or an intramural sport, getting involved allows you to meet people outside of those on your floor. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to say hi to people in class, or the girl brushing her teeth next to you in the Sharp bathroom! You’re all in the same position and everyone is looking for the same connections as you are. A simple hello can be the start of an amazing new friendship.
Balancing work and play can be super tough for a lot of people at the beginning of college. For many people, it is your first time away from home and your first taste of freedom. The Boot every single night may be tempting for a lot of people, but I promise you’re not missing out by staying in for a night. It’s super important to manage your time and set your priorities straight. Going out is fun and all, but what isn’t fun is failing your first test freshman year. To be candid, it just isn’t smart to stay out until 3 AM when you have an 8 AM the next morning. Time flies here and midterms come up quickly, so make sure to stay on top of everything. Syllabus week is over (RIP), and it’s time to move from The Boot to Howie-T.
Being homesick is something everyone will experience at least once in their college experience, whether they would like to admit it or not. Being thousands of miles away from your friends and family in an unfamiliar city with people you don’t know all that well yet can be really hard. Let’s face it, when you’re sick in bed with the flu, there’s no shame in admitting that you just want your mom or dad to take care of you. You’ll miss your clean shower and the comfort of your own bed at one point or another. It’s nice having independence, but eventually you’ll miss the comfort of your parents. My advice to you is to call home at least once a week, or as often as you can. FaceTime with your parents, your grandparents, your siblings, your friends, and whoever else feels far. You may be missing them, but chances are, they miss you even more.
Everyone has a different journey through college. It is okay if yours is taking a slow start, or if you haven’t found your place here on campus yet. IT IS OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY. Everything comes at its own time for a reason. Everyone and everything is constantly evolving. It can be scary starting college, and at many times, overwhelming. Remember to be kind to everyone. To remain open-minded about everything. To empathize with others. To challenge yourself and to step out of your comfort zone. To try new things. To stay true to yourself and your morals. This is your time to find yourself and figure out who you want to be. Even if these aren’t “the best four years of your life”, they will be four years of learning, growing, experiencing and having fun. Welcome to Tulane. You’re sure in for one hell of a ride.
Cover Photo: Jordana Comiter