Home Away from Home: How to Feel at Ease your Freshman Year

Home Away from Home How to Feel at Ease your Freshman YearBy Brooke Chaplan

There are usually three great milestones in life that happen pretty close together: earning your drivers’ license, graduating high school, and leaving home for college. Each one of these great steps into adulthood brings special privileges and awesome responsibilities. While many young people decide to live at home and attend a local university, even more people choose an out-of-state college and get a place of their own — a home away from home.

Dorm Living

If you are one of the birds who have decided to leave the nest, there are a lot of things to consider. Many colleges and universities require students to live on campus their first year. This means you will probably live in a dorm with a roommate. It may take some time to get used to living with someone you have just met, but chances are the two of you will have more in common than you think. Be considerate of each other’s privacy and things should go well.

While you enjoy the grown up feeling of being on your own, it is common to feel pangs of homesickness. Relax and know that being homesick does not make you a weak person. It is just your mind’s way of dealing with change. If you bring special pictures and things from your family home to spruce up your dorm, it helps a lot during the first lonely weeks. Take advantage of meeting new people and get involved in fun activities around campus. You will soon get accustomed to your new college life.

Your First Apartment

You may be allowed to have an apartment your freshmen year. If your parents are not helping with rent, you will need a job. Many businesses and restaurants in college towns like to hire students and will work around their schedules. If the apartment is large enough, you may consider a roommate to split the rent and utilities. Usually, freshmen year is when students claim their finances are the tightest. You will learn to budget money for bills and food. Having some cooking skills really saves you money in the long run since going to restaurants every day can be quite expensive. You will also need some basic housekeeping and laundry skills — unless you want to move your mother into your first apartment.

Thrift Stores: Your New Best Friend

Let’s face it, most young adults who go to college do not have a huge trust fund for all of their needs. Luckily you don’t have to spend a fortune to live comfortably your first year. Thrift stores are a treasure trove of gently-used clothes, household items, and fairly decent furniture. Use your imagination and you can have a trendy wardrobe and cozy furnishings for nearly nothing. Just look online for thrift stores near you. Garage sales are perfect places to find things you need as well.

Staying Safe on Commutes

If you decide to live at home, in a new apartment, or just outside of town, commuting to college is something you’ll have to think about. You can definitely take advantage of public transportation if your city has it, and many offer college discount student passes. If you have your own car make sure you maintain it by changing the oil, filling the tires, and topping off fluids. If you ever go out to college parties, make sure you or someone you trust is ready to be a designated driver. With all your college bills you won’t have time to pay for a DWI attorney so it’s best to stay safe and prevent accidents before they occur.

Congratulations on starting your freshmen college year! When you graduate and begin your career, you will look back fondly on that first year. It is a milestone that will be forever in your mind. Let your home away from home be the cornerstone of a well-lived life.


Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

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