CU welcomed 5,600 first-year students to campus last week, and the new experience of college is proving to be equally exciting and difficult for many.
Alyssa Davies, an 18-year-old freshman political science major, said her decision to leave her home in England for life at CU has been a positive one so far.
The fall 2012 incoming freshmen gather in the Coors Events Center prior to Global Jam. Students were given a different color shirt based off what dorm they lived in: Williams Village in gray, Kittredge and the engineering quad in black, and the dorms around Farrand Field and Sewall in gold. (CU Independent/Amy Leder)
“I kind of thought I’d be upset leaving England because it’s so far away and my mom told me it’d be difficult,” Davies said. “But when I got here, I just felt so at home already that I haven’t actually gotten upset at all yet.”
She has enjoyed her time on campus since the day of her arrival and finds everyone she meets to be friendly and welcoming. She also sees new opportunities emerging from her classes.
“I really find the classes very interesting and so much more fun than high school,” Davies said. “I feel like I am going to gain a lot more from them.”
Although Davies is transitioning easily into college life, others find the adjustment a little harder to make.
Danait Aregay, an 18-year-old freshman ecology and evolutionary biology major, said that her time at CU is allowing her to gain a sense of independence she never thought she would acquire, but she finds herself feeling lost in the process.
Julie Yun, assistant director at Counseling and Psychological Services, said that Aregay is not alone in her predicament. Many freshmen transitioning into college often feel lost and alone living apart from their families.
“College can be a big deal, but even if students are looking forward to it, there are a lot of aspects of the transition that students don’t take into consideration until they actually experience it for themselves,” Yun said.
“College itself, let alone CU, forces you to become independent, more than you can ever imagine,” Aregay said. “It’s really an experience that helps you find your true identity, something every one of us thought we had, but only truly realize it now.”
Aregay said she sometimes feels she doesn’t fit in as well as she did in high school, and she misses her friends and family from home but tries not to think about it much.
“It was easy to walk around campus in high school and know everyone,” Aregay said.
Counseling and Psychological Services and other campus services are available to all students and may be helpful for freshman students looking for guidance and support through the adjustment process.
“Students just need to reach out and get engaged,” Yun said. “These connections help carry them through their academic careers. There is really much to do to achieve success.”
Yun said that local freshmen feeling homesick should try to avoid returning home every weekend because they may miss out on the experience of getting to know other students.
Staff members at Counseling and Psychological Services are available by phone 24/7 for students to talk to.
“Get involved, get connected and give yourself time,” Yun said. “There are almost 30,000 students – you can’t make close connections all in one time.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Haleema Mian at Haleema.Mian@colorado.edu.
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