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Once you get here…

February 17, 2016 by Olivia Kathleen Richards   

Now that I’ve poured my heart out to you about what to bring and what not to bring to school, realize that once your family says their final goodbyes, it will be sad and you will probably cry. I promise everyone does on that first time. It will get better but the first goodbye is the worst. I didn’t want to let go. It felt like being dropped off at Pre-K all over again. But, every time they come to visit, each time will get better.

So…now that you are alone. Hopefully you have a good roommate. I didn’t luck out in that department but I honestly hope yours is wonderful. Talk with them and get to know them! Don’t just put headphones like my roommate always does.

Your Resident Assistant who lives on your floor (your RA) will come around soon if they haven’t already and try to alleviate the awkwardness. Just be nice. They will probably be weird but it’s okay! Just go with the flow. They will invite you to a dinner with the girls on your floor and to Convocation with the President. Don’t skip it! You’ll regret it because you will get in trouble with the Housing Department. Also, it is the only time that you will be with your entire freshman class EVER. You will graduate with your specific college and major and never with your entire class because there will be ten thousand of you.

Then, during the welcome week. Don’t sit in your bed and watch Netflix! Go to everything that sounds interesting. Welcome Week at Penn State starts with Convocation at the Bryce Jordan Center. Next, you’ll have a group meeting with your RA where you will meet all of the girls on the floor and play ice breaker games and such. It is actually enjoyable. I met my best friends on my floor in Wolf Hall in Pollock. We played games that seemed pointless but I actually found things in common with other girls such as a shopping addiction and love of Netflix.

The week goes on to include the FAMOUS involvement fair in Alumni Hall at the HUB. It will be overwhelming because there will be hundreds of people in the room like fish in an ocean. There will be endless posters for a million different clubs. Just take the time to find some interesting clubs to sign up for and give your email to. Go to the first few meetings of a few different clubs. I found my favorite clubs from my fall semester involvement fair. Also, go to your specific college’s involvement fair. I became a Science LionPride,  which is the club that is the ambassadors of the College of Science at Penn State. In addition, there are numerous events in each section of Residence Life to allow you to become acclamated to your new home. Go! I ate a lot of free Creamery Ice cream during that week. It was great. Honestly you won’t regret going to these events.

Until next time…


  1. Kandice Pettaway says:

    I remember my first day at PSU. It was different than most students because we had Millennium. I didn’t cry when my mom left though. I also did not like going to dinner and playing those games with the floor because they were pointless to me. Also, I am pretty social anyways. However, for someone who is new and shy it is very good to go! The involvement fair was my best decision! I saw so many clubs and some I am still a part of today. Great advice Liv!

  2. Mary Ohara says:

    The involvement fair is really intimidating for Freshman I think. Because everyone is so new, they don’t know what to expect and how to react to uninteresting clubs. But leaving your home for the first time is definitely the worst! After you meet all your friends they’ll soon realize that they don’t want to go back home lol.

  3. Phillip R. Clauer says:

    I must say being a townie made me really luck out on forgoing the sadness of leaving home. That being said, I believe the experience of being on your own the first day you arrive is a really transformative one. Its almost a sudden new chapter to your life that you are forced to accept and embrace. We were all lucky that we already had a whole cohort of other scholars there to support us, but even then it was kind of scary. I must say, as someone who is very reliant on headphones and attended no welcome week activities, I do not know how good of an example I am for other students… but I think I turned out alright. I continue to look forward to hearing your take on the college experience.

  4. Takara Richard says:

    I agree with Amanda in saying that this would be great for Cohort 4 girls. I know many of us would have loved guidance throughout going into the Summer Bridge and the Fall Semester and this is perfect! You are amazing Liv and your advice is like no other. I personally was used to being away from my mom. I mean I still cried like a little baby and called her seconds after watching her drive away, but it was very easy to get over. Millennium creates such a home that it almost balances out with our real families. Almost.

  5. Amanda Craine says:

    The whole “going to college” thing never really settled in for me until my parents left me alone in my room that August move-in day. That’s when I finally realized, “wow, I’m all on my own.” However, the loneliness disappeared fairly quickly when the cohort began to fill my room. I realized that I’m really not alone, I have a second family here. While reading this post, I kept thinking how great it would be for the cohort 4 girls to read, it’s great!

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