First Impressions on Campus
When the dust settles after move-in day you’ll find yourself face-to-face with a stranger whom you not only have to befriend but also live with share a bathroom with and generally share your life with for the next nine months. It’s a little daunting.
First of all relax. You don’t have to become best friends overnight or at all. Sure over time you may grow to be best buds but in the beginning as you’re getting to know each other all you have to do is peacefully co-exist. Early on in your relationship you might want to establish a few ground rules. For example if you’re a morning person and your roommate’s a night owl some compromise might be necessary. It’s smarter– and less contentious — to establish rules sooner rather than later.
Other things to consider: Does your roommate have a significant other who might take up residence in your room from time to time? Are you comfortable with your roommate sharing your belongings? Again discussing these topics and others early on will make for a much more harmonious living environment.
One of the first people to greet you at college is your RA or resident assistant. RAs are typically upperclassmen who live on your floor. They enforce campus safety rules and provide freshmen with emotional and academic support.
Make a point of introducing yourself to your RA and take advantage of his or her help and information. Your RA will come in handy if weeks into the semester you’re feeling homesick or struggling with a class. If you establish a relationship with your RA from day one it’ll be easier to turn to him or her in times of need. When you’re feeling lost and you don’t know whom to turn to your RA might be your best bet.
Chances are most of your first friends at college will live on your floor or in your dorm. During your first week or as early as orientation your RA will probably organize a floor meeting to introduce you to campus policies as well as to one another. Don’t be shy. You’ll need friends especially in those first few weeks and your floor-mates are an excellent place to start. Who better to complain to or grab a quick lunch with than the girl down the hall? Before you get your bearings and make your own friends your floor-mates will make for reliable pals.
With any luck the people you meet during your freshman year of college may just be the friends you keep for life.