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Welcome home, Spartans: Freshmen make the adjustment to college life

The wait is over, Class of 2017 Spartans. That long summer of shopping for the perfect bedspread, snack foods and exercising a college student mentality has lead to the first year of college on our campus. East Lansing is now home.

This time, usually filled with the familiar anticipation of entering any other school year has taken a step up. This year is a transition not only to a new grade, but also to a new school much larger than most have ever stepped foot on, a new city for some and even a new country for others. This exciting yet equally nerve-wrecking experience can prove to be intimidating for almost anyone.

Having begun her journey to become a Spartan in Delhi, India, freshman Apoorva Dhingra said as an international student, she is excited to experience American events on campus despite her trouble with “settling-in”.

Dhingra, who has never experienced Halloween, said she is excited to be a part of this tradition for the first time.

“I have heard of Halloween and I know what it’s all about but this will be my first time seeing it in person,” she said.

But after a month here on campus, some nostalgia has kicked in. The uneasiness of the adjustment process has taken its toll and freshmen are realizing what about home they’re missing, but also what they love about college life.

“I miss the level of comfort that I had when I was at home,” said Dhingra.

This yearning for the familiarity of home battles with the excitement for the future in a way that can make these first few weeks the most difficult—and in the same way, incredible.

Discovering who you are without your parents and learning to cope with experiences you’ve never encountered on your own becomes a real experience and for the first time, you can feel yourself growing up.

For college freshmen, the adjustment to living in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people forces one to change and compromise. Living with another person in a room fit for one can cause conflict, but it also creates a bond with someone who is going through the exact circumstances and emotions you feel.

For Dhingra, the issue of living in the dorms and the lack of space–closet space in particular–has been a challenge for her and her extensive wardrobe.

“There’s no place to put all of my clothes! I am an only child so I come from having a huge house to myself to having half of a room,” Dhingra said.

The challenges of living in such close quarters don’t stop at privacy and lack of space. Not only do the dorms provide you with a single roommate, but also 40 or more neighbors on each floor alone.

This large blend of characters in a single small community doesn’t allow for much alone or quiet time.

“I am adjusting well. I think the easiest part [about living on campus] is the accessibility. Classes are close, food is easy to get to, people are always around, but it’s a double-edged sword,” said freshman Eric Lofquist. “It’s hard being in such close proximity to so many other people 24/7.”

Lofquist said he has made many close friendships since joining the Spartan family and enjoys the time he is able to spend with them. However, he said it is difficult to find time to stay on top of his classes while living so close to friends.

Lofquist said his time here so far is a “life experience” as he maneuvers through classes, making friendships and reaching out to join clubs and extra-curricular groups.

“Living here, waking up here and going to classes here–it’s really immersive,” he said, “It goes beyond the classroom and transcends what you’ll learn in any book”.

The freshman year of college is a blank book and the student is the pen. Write down the stories to remember and learn from the others.

Making mistakes is common in during freshman year, the experience and knowledge gained from these can be used to train oneself to become more flexible and to do better in the future of their time at Michigan State University.

While this may be the starting line for the road ahead filled with many new challenges and tribulations, some of the best memories and friendships can be made along the way.

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