Bailey just started college at Fairmont State University! Here she gives an overview of everything that happened her very first week, including move-in day, Welcome Weekend, classes, and more.
On Thursday, August 10, I moved to college to begin my freshman year at Fairmont State University. Not only did I move in earlier than most of my friends, but I also moved farther away from my friends and family than I had ever been in my life. Granted, I’m still only three hours away from home, but those three hours can feel like a lifetime when you only know one other person at your college. I want to give future college freshmen an honest description of what their first week of college might be like, because I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I actually got to campus.
Day 1: Move-in day
For the first time in my life, I drove for three hours in a car bursting at the seams with luggage and a few of my family members, following the snaking interstate north from my hometown. Was I nervous? Of course. But as soon as I entered the city limits of my college town, my nerves melted away to excitement. Then the actual process of moving in began.
Even though the weather was perfect for moving—low 70s, cloudy, a slight breeze—the whole process was still stressful. My family and I piled all my belongings into my tiny dorm room, and it felt as if I would never make sense of the ruins of luggage that towered around me. From trying to find a place to plug in my mini fridge to figuring out where to put all of my shoes, more problems kept popping up in my way, but with the help of my family, I survived and my room looks great.
Luckily I knew my roommates long before move-in day. I live with one of my lifelong best friends and two other girls that I met months before I moved to Fairmont, and that made moving in infinitely better than it would have been if I didn’t know them. My roommates helped me carry in my luggage and rearrange my furniture when my parents were busy doing other move-in tasks. Each of us has our own room with a bed and a desk, but we share a bathroom and a common area together. We spend a lot of time together, doing homework, going to dinner, watching Netflix, and altogether acting as a support system for one another.
After I unpacked my room, I went for a walk around campus with my family before they left. The goodbyes were tough, and I’m not going to lie to you: I cried on move-in day. I definitely wasn’t the only freshman who cried, and I took comfort knowing that my classmates also felt the hurricane of emotions that I felt.
Days 2, 3, and 4: Welcome Weekend
At my school, Welcome Weekend is a big deal. I attended three days’ worth of seminars, picnics, icebreaker games, and tours during Welcome Weekend. Over those three days, I heard the same advice countless times from countless entities:
“Go to class; don’t skip.”
“Make sure you eat and sleep enough.”
“Study hard, and please do your homework.”
“If you need help, just ask for it. We have tips, tricks, and resources that can help you feel less homesick or help you succeed in your classes.”
Even though the Welcome Weekend activities were cheesy and sometimes more than a little bit boring, each activity was worth my time, and I encourage every college freshman to take advantage of welcome activities on his or her campus. During Welcome Weekend, I made a few new friends, reconnected with people I had met briefly in the past, and gorged on the free food that was provided at each event. If you go to Welcome Weekend activities for no other reason, at least go for the free food. Always follow the free food.
Days 5, 6, and 7: First week of classes
The first week of classes at my college is known as Syllabus Week, and I’m sure many other schools practice this same model. You go to your classes during the first week, become acquainted with your classmates and professors, go over the syllabus, and figure out which classes will require the most effort. For instance, I learned that I don’t need the books for a couple of my classes; the teachers simply don’t use them. Luckily, at my school’s bookstore, I could return books until one week after classes began, and I got back close to $100 from these returns.
Students can also add or drop classes during this period. They get the chance to see if their classes are the right fit for them, and if they’re not, there is no shame in switching to another class. I did not add or drop any classes because my schedule suited me perfectly, but I would encourage all future college freshmen to scrutinize their classes during this first week. If you feel like you’re going to be overwhelmed, reconsider what classes you really need to take during your first semester. It might be better if you ease into the college experience and curriculum rather than rush into the waves of reading and hours of writing that flood each day.
I loved my first week of classes. All of my professors were warm and engaging, welcoming me and my classmates to a new level of academia unlike that of our previous schooling. Although I started college as a freshman this year, most of my classes were comprised of students of all ages, classes, and walks of life. I discussed The Epic of Gilgamesh with juniors and nontraditional English Education majors on Monday while I pondered the merits of majoring in English with a veteran on Tuesday.
To fill my evenings during the school week, I worked on homework, talked to my parents, and attended various social events on campus. The administration at my school likes to keep the students busy so we don’t miss home too much. And honestly, it worked. I was so busy during this first week that I didn’t have time to miss home; my college began to feel like home to me.
The first week of college is a rush of people, names, places, events, and feelings. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up, but if you enjoy this rush, the first week of college will be a kind of fun you’ve never experienced before. Embrace it. Most importantly, make the most out of your first week of college; think of it as the beginning of the rest of your life.
College freshmen: how’d your first week go? Let us know in the comments!