Story By: Taylor Onderko
Brooke Bierman was determined to go to a college that was far from her home in Long Beach.
That was, until she found Chapman.
“I honestly think my transition to college was so easy because my family was only a freeway away.”
Other students have had difficulty transitioning due to a lack of support. The Journal of Social Behavior and Personality concluded that students’ difficulty adjusting could be attributed to lack of strong connections.
“We found that loneliness had a direct negative effect on adjustment,” noted the Journal of Social Behavior and Personality. Bierman found that she was making new friendships while living in the dorms, an experience that many people can relate to.
Student involvement in sports and greek life has also assisted them in making Chapman feel like home.
“I think that life always feels messy, even when it’s going exactly how it’s supposed to. If you feel like you aren’t in the right place, just know that you probably are. If you aren’t happy, just start making changes. Join a club or organization on campus. Meet different people who will broaden your horizons. Now is the time to explore and find out things you never knew about yourself,” said Bierman.
Many people entering college find comfort in knowing that students around them are going through the same thing.
“The majority of the students are overwhelmed and nervous, and with that commonality, it makes it a tad easier to meet some new people, and find people with shared interests,” said sophomore peace studies and political science major, Andrew Calloway.
Calloway described his transition into college as an adventure with some struggles along the way. One of the obstacles he faced was homesickness.
“Sometimes it’s hard for students to leave their hometown [and move] into a new community,” said Calloway.
He is thankful he had his friends Justin Robinson and Matthew Reminick to help him through this adjustment.
The three freshmen lived on the same floor and are still very close to this day.
“My best friends were made at the dorms, and I would not have had the same freshman experience if I lived off-campus,” said political science and peace studies major Reminick, now a sophomore.
Their experience is special to them but very common, as most people feel connected with those they live in the dorm with.
“It was really great having that sense of community in my dorm freshman year…My core group of friends reminded me a lot of my friends from home. This meant a lot to me, considering I felt like I had lost my home after I moved away,” said junior environmental science and policy major Niki Russo.
Although Russo created strong bonds with those in her dorm, she also associates her positive experience freshman year to her involvement in Greek life.
Those joining a sorority or fraternity are immediately welcomed into a group of people that they can consider a support system.
For many, Greek life encourages people to branch out and become friends with those outside of their main friend groups.
“It gave me a friend group and a place to belong. It widened my scope of friends too and I was able to have friends in schools other than dodge college and my hall freshmen year,” said senior screenwriting major Jennifer Finkel.
During sorority recruitment there are even people that disaffiliate from their sororities, called Rho Gammas, that are there to help potential new members find their place within the Greek community.
“I loved having the opportunity to help women on campus find their home in a sorority. I could easily say that it was one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve had as a part of Chapman Greek life,” said senior peace studies and sociology major and former Rho Gamma, Haya Kaylani.
The same goes for men joining fraternities.
Fraternity rush gave men the opportunity to meet other men at Chapman with similar goals and interests.
“Before I rushed I didn’t have any close guy friends at Chapman. It was such an amazing way to meet the guys that I connect with the most on this campus,” said junior accounting and business major Caleb Singer.
Being involved in Greek life not only gives people a strong support system, but also molds them into who they are today.
“I love my fraternity. At the end of the day, no matter what goes on inside the meetings, it’s a group of guys I know I can trust to make me a better person,” said Singer.
This group dynamic, and feeling of personal growth can also be a result of working together with people on a sports team.
“There really was no “transition”. Sports provided immediate structure and a backbone for my freshman year,” said senior public relations and advertising major Kelsey Mackin.
There is a group of people waiting to become friends with you when you step on the field for the first time. Mackin, a senior lacrosse player at Chapman, knew from the start that her teammates would stick by her side through it all.
“Day one of stepping on campus for Orientation Week, I was immediately greeted by the two captains of the women’s lacrosse team with open arms. It’s more than just a sport here, it’s a family,” said Mackin.
This feeling of having a team to support her didn’t start in college, Mackin was first inspired to get involved with sports when her brother introduced her to it.
“Growing up, I always wanted to try everything my big brother did–taking our training wheels off our bikes, signing up for karate, you name it,” said Mackin.
Junior lacrosse player and business administration major, Alex Feldman, has also had years of experience playing on a team.
He began playing soccer and little league, and when baseball no longer peaked his interest; he moved onto lacrosse.
Feldman describes the group dynamic on the lacrosse team as being strong and meaningful.
“All I know is I wouldn’t trade the things I’ve learned from my teammates for anything,” said Feldman.
Kelsey Mackin also believes athletes gain a lot from their teammates, including perseverance and work ethic.
But most importantly, learning to work together and support each other.
“Through it, you see that seeking unlimited potential in one another is the only thing that’s going to get your team anywhere,” said Mackin
The need for a strong support system is the common theme among those who have already experienced their freshmen year in college.
But overall, “having people who are close to you and understand you is absolutely essential,” said Bierman.
|Here are some resources on how to make your transition a little easier:
Business Insider: The Best Advice That College Students Never Hear
The New York Times: Advice for New Students From Those Who Know (Older Students)
|Don’t know how to get involved on campus? Here you go!