My advice for college freshman

Sasha Strait is a freshman at Wayne State University. Accepted into the Irvin D. Reid Honors College, she attends Wayne State on the Gold Scholarship. She plans to graduate with a major in English and a minor in Marketing. She enjoys various English pursuits, as reading and writing have been her passions for the majority of her life.

As a freshman finishing her second semester in college, I’ve become well accustomed to the idea of my friends being away at big universities while I remain at home. However, the beginning of the year was a different story. While my friends and former high school classmates packed up their rooms and drove hours away, I was- as I thought- left behind.
So, how do you get used to the idea of going to college locally?
Attending big universities seems to be the dream of every graduating high school student. However, sometimes reality is not too kind. Let’s face the facts- big universities are expensive and living on campus can cost an already struggling freshman a fortune. So, many opt for the option of living at home and attending local community colleges or universities. I am one of these college students with previous aspirations to attend a big university.
I couldn’t be happier with my decision.
Just because you don’t attend a big university doesn’t mean that you have less of a chance to succeed. Doing well at any college is an achievement, whether it be the University of Michigan or, in my case, Wayne State University. It’s all about graduating and reaching your career goals, and I feel as though that idea can sometimes be lost in the daydreams of rowdy frat parties and the temptation of a freedom away from home.
I’ll be honest, though. You might miss out on those insane big university football games and other events. With other people telling you that going away to college is a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience and that you’ll never experience that kind of freedom again in your life, it can be a little disappointing to register for a community college or local university while your friends get excited as August draws nearer and they shop for dorm essentials. So, here are a few tips to learn to be satisfied with your decision.
Remember that you’re being practical. Staying at home allows you to adjust to college and adult life in a familiar setting, with the support of your family and friends that remain with you. The first year of college can be a struggle even without the stress of having to make new friends in a faraway city and learning to live on your own.
You will save a ton of money. Consider the possibility that you might graduate and be unable to find a job immediately. If you’re going to be drowning in debt from paying for college, this is a daunting future. By going to college locally, you will graduate with less debt than your friends at big universities and thus experience less stress as you search for a job, as you have less to pay off. I consider my decision to stay at home as giving myself an advantage after college and a head start on adult life, as I will graduate with minimal debt.
If you haven’t decided what you want to major in, it’s very reasonable to try out a community college or local university first. I have more than a few friends who attended big universities without any idea of a future career. I have listened to their panicked confessions about all the money they spent their first year on classes that they didn’t even like. I also have indecisive friends who registered at Macomb community college and tried out different classes to see what interested them without wasting a fortune. If you are dying to attend a big university but don’t have a plan for your future, consider this option first. You can always transfer later on, and who knows? You may find out that you prefer staying at home after all.
Get involved and participate. Although you may not be attending a big university, I can still guarantee that your college has a variety of clubs, events, and sports. Participating in these will allow you to feel engaged and a part of your college or university, and inspire pride to be a student there.
Visit your friends at big universities. You can still experience the setting of a big university without attending by going to see what the fuss is all about. Maybe you’ll enjoy yourself and visit often, or maybe you’ll realize that the big university setting was never meant for you anyway. It’s a way to stay connected with old high school friends and expose yourself to a different type of college life without having to pay the costs.
Staying at home doesn’t deprive you of the college experience- you’re still attending college, after all. Stay in the mindset that you’re doing what’s best for you and your future, and you’ll be satisfied with your decision in the end.

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