The transition from high school to college is known to be a difficult adjustment for most. During high school, I had the experience of moving from one end of the country to the other, and starting afresh in a new high school. With that move under my belt, I thought the transition from high school to college would be an easy one for me. As well, I consider myself to be pretty independent. I was home-schooled in high school and responsible for my schoolwork. I kept my room clean without my parent’s asking. And I’m capable of preparing basic meals and taking care of myself. Before freshman year began, I also connected with my roommate, and knew of several people from high school who would be attending the same college. The transition from high school to college didn’t intimidate me or make me anxious at all.
But as it turned out, moving on to college from high school life was tough. First, academics proved to be a struggle, as classes became more demanding than what I had experienced in my high school courses. College required more effort to study for exams and stay on top of assignments. I also entered college as an undeclared major, and as a result, my school required me to take some classes of no interest to me. Friends were more difficult to make, as I didn’t immediately get involved in any activities when I arrived on campus. Friendships in my classes didn’t form as easily as they had in high school. I didn’t see eye to eye with my roommate, which made my living environment stressful. And even the food made the transition to college harder, as nothing was comforting and familiar like my mom’s cooking.
When second semester of my freshman year rolled around, I was not happy with my college experience. At first, I did not take into account what I could do to make my time at school more enjoyable. I instead seriously contemplated transferring. But after a lot of thinking, I knew I needed to make some changes. I decided that it was not necessarily the school that was the problem, but my attitude about my circumstances. I needed to find happiness at UNH within myself.
As I began second semester, I heard about auditions for my college’s dance team and decided to try out. After making the team and only a day of being surrounded by my teammates, I knew that I had found my niche. Engaging in an activity with a group of individuals that share my same passion really turned my college experience around. In fact, joining the dance team has been the best decision that I have made during my college experience so far. Being a part of the UNH dance team has kept me busy. It has taught me time management skills and how to work in a group. It also surrounded me with love and great friendships that I would not have been able to find elsewhere.
If you’re a student feeling uncertain about your college experience, or a high schooler headed to college this fall, take some advice from me. It might take a bit to time to find your footing on campus. The environment will feel unfamiliar, and you likely won’t have your friends and family around you to make life comfortable. But if you’re patient with yourself, and branch out to try to new things and find people who share your interests, you’ll eventually find your niche. And once you do, college will be a fun and growing experience.
Sabelle A. Bento-Wittman is from Stratham, NH and is currently a sophomore at the University of New Hampshire. She is a social work major and a proud member of the UNH dance team.