Now that I have completed my sophomore year at the University of Houston (UH), I have jokingly been calling myself a “frunior.” It is some awkward made-up combination of being a first-year student and junior.
Usually, I get anxious when trying new things, but I was excited to start college in fall of 2019 because I knew we were all in the same boat. It feels like life has passed me by as I have been stuck in the same place for a year. Now I am more nervous to start my third year of college than I was to move to a new city by myself two years ago.
I have been worrying about getting acclimated socially and making friends. The friendships I made before COVID-19 have been hard to maintain, so I know I cannot rely on those alone. And obviously I want to grow as a person and meet new people, but knowing these people stayed on campus and continued to build relationships makes it hard to introduce myself. I feel as though I will be an intruder trying to invade friend circles.
Since my original approach to college life was a success, my tips for returning to campus is to do it again. I will be living on campus in a dorm. Sharing common space was the perfect outlet to become acquainted with people from all walks of life.
It might not seem like much, but the small stuff adds up. Eating, studying, and hanging out with fresh faces makes unfamiliar territory more sociable and enjoyable.
Since UH will be returning to in-person activities and instruction, I think the best thing to do is try not to be alone. This includes joining small study groups to adjust back to an in-person learning environment and trying new things to get out of my comfort zone.
I recently decided to join a sorority. This will not guarantee friends, but being surrounded by likeminded women and their associates will give me a good start–as long as I can get out of my own head. I cannot suggest this for everyone because it is a lifelong commitment, but knowing the connections I’ll build will carry with me through life helps ease my mind about approaching this next school year.
Even with my color-coded calendar, on a big campus, some events go by the wayside. Greek life will help me stay plugged in with campus activities. If fraternity or sorority life isn’t for you, there are countless clubs and activities on campus to get involved in that can match your interests and goals.
This may seem like an obvious tip, but set a routine. Not only am I looking forward to getting back to my school routine—I am banking on it. I let almost all my good practices and habits drift away while at home because of the pandemic. My routine will ensure I get my work done so I do not miss out on fun just like before.
Another thing I miss is my workout routine. Going to the rec the same time every day led me to meet my workout buddies who later became some of my closest friends. I went in to stay in shape and came out with great friends who also motivated me to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
I trust that doing all these things will definitely help me adjust to being a “frunior” when I return to campus. If I got through it before, I have no reason to doubt I cannot do it again.