Hello! My name is Alison Hosko. I’m currently a junior studying Strategic and Visual Communications at Mercyhurst University. I love horseback riding, singing, soccer, reading, writing, graphic design, and music
Your first couple weeks of college may be underwhelming, overwhelming, or, if you’re lucky, somewhere inbetween. Even if you end up alone the first couple of days, don’t be afraid to dance.
The first day or two of my freshman year of college, my roommate left me alone. Literally, she walked out of the door and said, “I’m meeting some friends to go do the orientation activities with.” Thus began two days where I wanted to cry because I was walking around the campus and showing up at organized activities alone. For someone as outgoing as I am, I was shy during many orientation activities, especially until I found a group of friends. Looking back, even though it was hard at the time, I wish I hadn’t been afraid to enjoy doing the activities alone and hadn’t been afraid to walk up to different groups and say hello.
Society often makes it seem weird or makes you feel weird for being alone. It’s natural for people to like the security of being with or around someone else. I’m here to tell you: it is okay to be alone. Walk up to random people and talk to them; take a minute to relax and take it all in; or just enjoy the ability to think in silence. Sooner or later, friends will come. In my case, they came a day or two after my roommate left me alone. There is a high probability you won’t end up remaining friends with the people from your freshman year anyways, so just view it as a learning experience. Trust me.
I know as a freshman, your instincts for the first week or first few weeks are to blend in. Don’t. There’s something to be said for standing out, and it’s that you’re happier being yourself. Don’t change yourself, because that will only land you with friends who accept the fake version of you. Some of my favorite college memories so far are the times I was completely myself and did not care that people stared at me. They were things that I was scared to do the first week or so of my freshman year, and consequently didn’t do: sing A-cappella with my friends while eating dinner in the cafeteria; dance in the front lawn of my apartment while my friends are just sitting there; and sing while walking around campus just because I enjoy singing.
Don’t be fooled – there will still be times when people’s words will hurt enough to make you cry. There will be times when you will feel awkward and unsure. It happens to everyone from time to time, so just remember that you’re not alone. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying yourself. Sing at the top of your lungs; laugh so loudly the entire cafeteria stares at you.
Something I learned after my freshman year, and something I wish someone had told me: you can retake classes, but you can’t retake memories. Please, if anything, remember this. Get good grades and be involved in your studies, of course. But go out on midnight walks; play tackle football at one a.m. in the snow even though you have an 8 a.m. class the next morning. Stay up way too late watching movies with your roommates. Every once in a while, instead of studying for an extra half hour, take that time to catch up with random people at dinner. College offers so many wonderful opportunities, and they go by so fast. Before you know it, you will blink and be a junior/senior, so don’t take any of the time you have for granted. Study abroad even if it scares you; travel to an away game to support one of your sports teams; join the Quidditch club and be proud of it. Even more importantly: don’t be afraid to open up. Sometimes the best remedy is to just let it all out.
In college, memories oftentimes have theme songs. When those songs come on, no matter who you’re with or where you’re at, let loose and never be afraid to dance. Even if it means dancing with a stranger.