Life is full of uncertainties, but one certainty is that you’ll be overwhelmed at some point in your college experience. Getting Started Weekend, despite all of the excitement, hype, festivities, and genuine fun, is often overwhelming for new students who are moving out of their parents’ homes for the first time. No matter how easy you think the transition will be, you’re bound to face some obstacles during your first festivities as a Cedarville student.
Saying goodbye to parents and other loved ones isn’t easy. The first few weeks will probably be the hardest, and it all starts with Getting Started Weekend. All of the fun and activities and awesome food trucks can help distract you from the initial shock of moving onto campus. But it can also be overwhelming, especially for shy people and introverts.
STING groups are tons of fun and are a great way to meet new people on your first day on campus. But let’s not pretend they’re perfect or that you’ll click with everyone in your STING group. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t seem to fit in with the initial group you are assigned to. Plenty of people (myself included!) feel left out on Getting Starting Weekend but still have an amazing experience their first semester on campus and are able to connect with people in the residence halls, at chapel, and in classes.
Take a look at the people who will be living in your hall or unit and reach out to them over social media. You’ll be spending a lot more time with these people during your first semester on campus than the guys and gals in your STING group. None of this takes away from the valuable experience of participating in activities with your STING group. Just don’t be disheartened if you don’t find forever friends your first night on campus.
Some people have more trouble acclimating during Getting Started Weekend. Any other homeschoolers intimidated about the idea of going from a class of one to a campus of about 4,000 people? The fanfare is exciting for about five minutes. Then, it becomes overwhelming. The constant cheering and waving of pool noodles seems extravagant. The whirlwind of unloading the car and seeing just how small the residence hall room looks when unpacked boxes and bags are strewn over an unmade bed is daunting. Your quiet, inner world is invaded by a parade of screaming, bubbly upperclassmen who really do just want to welcome you to campus and help you get settled.
But don’t give up. Take a moment to gather your thoughts and then go find your RA just to meet them and ask if there are any other new students in the hall or unit. Most of the time, you won’t be the only freshman. Remember, transfer students are new to campus, too, and are likely feeling many of the same emotions as you.
What Happens After Getting Started Weekend?
After the hubbub of Getting Started Weekend calms down, the real work begins. This is the point where a lot of freshmen begin to realize how different college is from high school. ‘Syllabus shock’ is real and frightening, especially your first semester on campus. The Cove — Cedarville’s tutoring center — often has great study and organization tips that’ll help you get settled into a full-time college schedule. Following their social media is the best way to get these fun tips!
If you’re struggling with finding classes, ask your RA where a certain building is, or maybe find a fellow freshman to wander around campus with the day before classes and find your classrooms together. Ask somebody else if you’re still lost. Everybody remembers their first time on campus when they were scrambling to find the right building. Let’s be honest. A lot of the buildings on campus look the same because of the matching brick. Chick-fil-A, however, always stands out and is a great starting point to help you find another building. Check out Cedarville’s online map (or print off your own) and virtual tour if you’re still lost.
Don’t Forget: God Is With You!
Above all, remember that you are not alone. This experience is new to all of the freshmen and transfer students on campus. You’re not the only one overwhelmed or struggling. Even those of us who have been here for a couple of years have moments when the whole balance of classes, working, extracurriculars, and social life is overwhelming. Keep your eyes peeled for those quietly struggling around you. A kind word can go a long way when all the world seems to be against you and nothing is going right on the first day of classes. God is using this once in a lifetime experience to stretch you out of your comfort zone. Even if no one else is with you, God is by your side. Use this opportunity to grow your faith in Him and Happy Getting Started Weekend!
Majoring in both English and History, Class of 2023
Where I’m from: Southern Illinois
Favorite Class: Advanced Composition
Go to Rinnova Order: Chai