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Welcome Home

Posted On August 25, 2019

Freshman year. Wow. Welcome!

First of all, congratulations on your huge accomplishment! You graduated high school and you are on your way to tackle yet another monumental dream—to be the holder of a crimson colored book with a degree addressed to you.

As you prepare to take on your new identity as a Hoosier, there’s nothing more we proud alumni could want than for you to make the most out of your time at IU. Whether you come from a line of college grads or are the first in your family, everyone comes in with excitement, fears, and questions. 

And although there’s no exact manual on how to tackle your freshman year, here are three pieces of advice to welcome you to your first year at IU:

1.     Never Look Down

I’ll never forget the day I moved into my freshman dorm.

I was carrying a laundry basket full of snacks textbooks and ran into a girl riding a scooter through our hallway. As a nervous freshman, I chose to smile and look down. The girl passed me and we didn’t exchange a word. I figured I’d never see her again or that I would meet so many people that I probably wasn’t missing out on much by not being brave enough to say hi that day.

Weeks passed and one day I noticed Scooter Girl was in my second eight-week class. She introduced herself as Kristin. Kristin turned out to be my next-door neighbor and one of the coolest people I met at IU. Even better, she grew up in the town next to me, four hours north of Bloomington. 

From the day of our introductions, Kristin and I became great friends. But I couldn’t help but think about the single reason we almost didn’t become friends:

If we hadn’t been put in that class together, we may have let another 8 weeks go by without realizing we lived next door to each other. Maybe everything about how we became friends could have been different, or could have happened sooner, if I would have chosen to say hi on move-in day, instead of looking down. I started to think about all of the other friendships I could have missed out on by looking down on my way to class, at the food court, at the gym, or on the bus.

Reality sunk in the day I officially met Kristin. The lesson I learned was stuck with me throughout college and to this day:

IU is a magical place that gifts you the opportunity to meet countless life-changing people.

Walking the halls with confidence, making eye contact, and introducing yourself to as many people possible is a long-term investment in your life and a direct investment in your college experience. 

Start off small by leaving your dorm room open or lounging in the commons area. The sooner you start meeting people, the quicker IU will start feeling like home. 

2.     Go to Everything 

*Spoiler alert* (most campus events will have p-i-z-z-a)

As you become familiar with your new home, you’ll realize that IU is the campus that does not sleep. People are constantly organizing events and clubs for all personalities and purposes.

Whether you are looking to get involved, meet new people, or discover new interests, IU is the perfect outlet for you to gain new experiences and broaden your horizons in all ways imaginable.

Advice for now:

Aside from building your résumé, there’s an important personal mission that you should prioritize during your time at IU. Even if you are happily set on your career path, college is a time for you to become as well-rounded as possible.

Advice for the future:

Recruiters want to hear about the initiatives you took to develop leadership skills and experience working in teams. Joining a club or committing to an extracurricular activity shows your dedication to go the extra mile in order to stand out as an individual.

Maybe attending practice with the ballroom dance club seems silly, but the experience may surprise you. Developing passions and discovering talents is the greatest part of life; don’t miss out on the opportunity to find yourself while at IU.

Click here to see IU’s Student Organization page.

3.     Not Every Day is Going to be a Great Day

It’s okay to feel overwhelmed.

While prepping you for college, people try to welcome you, fill you with excitement, and build high expectations for what you’re about to experience.

Though I love reassuring you in the same way, it’s important to remind you that everyone’s experience is different. Everyone will struggle at some point. Maybe there will be days where your schedule has no room for proper sleep or times you really just miss home, but this is normal.

Bad days don’t mean you’re failing at your college experience, they’re just a part of life.

Take the good with the bad and know that with every struggle comes an opportunity to learn and overcome. In all honesty, overcoming the struggles is what makes earning your degree at the end a true victory. Above all, take it easy on yourself — care about school and have fun, but take care of your inner being! 

If you ever feel like you need someone to talk to don’t be afraid to reach out.

Your tuition includes two paid-for visits to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) that you are strongly encouraged to use, even if it’s just to talk about your week. You can schedule an appointment with CAPS at (812) 855-5711. They are located on the 4th floor of the IU Health Center. 

Finally, we here at Pizza X wish you the most productive freshman year full of growth and self- discovery. If you open your eyes, heart, and mind, you will get everything you ever hoped for from Indiana University. 

Welcome home, Hoosier!

This piece was written by Alondra Ballines, IU Graduate and Pizza X Intern.