This post is for the college freshmen out there, specifically those international freshmen who just moved away from home for the first time and have found themselves in a new country trying to build their new life.
A year ago I moved into Georgetown as a sophomore after spending my freshmen year online because of Covid and it was a whole lot of learning. From living in a shared dorm for the first time to getting over homesickness it was a whole journey. I thought I’d write this post to compare my experiences this year to my experiences last year and find some moments of growth. I did a post similar to this last year where I compared my first time moving to my second time moving to identify those places of growth, so I thought I’d do something similar this year and look for those places of growth a year down the line because I think it’s important to celebrate them! I hope that this post can serve as an advice guide for those of you who are moving away from home from the first time or at least a place where you can learn from the mistakes I made when I first moved away from home last year.
I think whenever I’m settling into a new place my mind is constantly in a panicked fight or flight mode because everything is so new. I remember last year when I first moved to Georgetown I was consistently on high-alert. I remember when I first moved in, I couldn’t even sleep that well because I was consistently in an anxious state of mind. Moving in this year, I can see a huge amount of growth. Even though the first week of classes and being back on campus with SO many people is definitely overwhelming, I’m in a much more balanced state of mind.
I also remember that when I moved in and started classes last year I was so hard on myself, thinking that I always had to be studying for classes or busy doing something. I didn’t give myself any free time to just do nothing or be spontaneous. I think that was mostly because I was worried that I would feel lonely or homesick if I was alone with my thoughts for too long haha. But this year, I’m enjoying the slower start to the semester, which is definitely fleeting. I’m not stressing about finding a meeting or activity to go to every evening and am instead focusing on the things that make me happy!
I also feel like a huge part of moving in and being a freshmen and also just living in a dorm is that it’s harder to stay in and do something more chilled. You can hear everything going on in the dorm and you can’t really cook dinner with friends and there isn’t really much space to hang out with friends. Something I’m loving about this year so far is now that I’m a Junior living in an apartment, I can do a lot more of what I want to do. For example, this weekend I didn’t feel like going out so I went over to some friends’ place and made homemade pizza. I wish that as a freshmen in my first few weeks I realized that it was okay to stay in and just do whatever I wanted to do.
Another huge area of growth for me compared to last year is the imposter syndrome. Whenever a new semester starts I always get a little freaked out in the first few classes. Hearing the professor talk about the syllabus and seeing all the smart people in my classes, I always have a faint feeling that I don’t belong there. Definitely in my first semester last year I remember thinking “what am I doing here?” This year, while I know that hearing about the syllabus and all the assessments at the beginning of the year will always be a little overwhelming, I have more confidence that I actually belong here, and that’s a huge area of growth for me! I also just can’t help but feel proud of my growth, doing well academically last year and working an internship I loved this past summer and securing my internship for next summer – just a reminder that my confidence has grown so much and that I am capable!
These areas of growth, while they may be small, are things that I can celebrate from last year to this one. For someone who initially found it so hard to move away from home, these are places of growth that I can look back on and feel very proud about. For those international freshmen who just moved away, hopefully this post shows the growth that you can achieve in only one year or also show you some of the mistakes I made in my first few weeks moving that can ensure you have a much smoother transition!
See you next week!