First-year students settle in to college

With more than 21% of Gen-Z being first-year students this upcoming year, many of them are struggling to adapt to the extremely new environment that is college. For a lot of students, it’s hard going from an environment in which everything is so familiar that you know it like the back of your hand, to transitioning somewhere where everything feels foreign. 

“I feel like I have no purpose here,” said Julia Osterhoudt, a student at Stony Brook University. 

She describes her move-in day as the first immediate red flag. No one was there to help the incoming students of her hall move in. They were left to locate their rooms on their own and had no assistance with moving their belongings. 

Ever since then, there has been no help with academics, advising or just overall. She said she wishes she was receiving a different experience.

“Being at college has made me so grateful for home,” said Allison Desmond, who is currently enrolled at University at Albany. 

Adjusting to college has been good for Desmond, as she enjoys the independence and responsibility that comes along with it. The adjustment has been a challenge – some days she mourns home – but this only motivates her more. 

Desmond has kept herself occupied by taking pictures for the women’s soccer team on campus and creating social media posts for them, and in doing so has realized a new passion in her life, and possibly a future career. 

But for Lyndsey Tiedemann, a student at Utica University, being away from her family and home environment has been a major struggle. 

“If anyone asks me a question about home I cry,” Tiedemann said. 

According to Tiedemann, she has always been a family-oriented person and considers her mom her best friend. Being far from home has been a big mental challenge for her, but this also makes spending time with her family even more special. 

In the month she has been away, Tiedemann has learned that having a life away from home is good for her because it allows her to grow as an individual. She knows she will always have a place to return to, and this has made her excited to see where the rest of her college journey takes her.

The beginning of college can be a scary time. However, these students are learning to grow and adjust to their new lifestyles, same as many other people of their generation, knowing they are never alone.

“We aren’t going backward, only forward,” Osterhoudt said.

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