Perhaps the most common question I’ve been asked during my first two months at school was, “Where do you live?” On the surface, these four words are a simple question. But for a freshman who just moved to a new school in a new state, the answer requires a little more thought. Usually, I would answer “New York,” but now that we’re in college, I have made a new home in Medford.
As first-years, we are randomly assigned our dorms—I have the luck of living in Houston Hall, located on the Residential Quad next to Carmichael Hall and Miller Hall. Move-in day was hectic and I vividly remember how overwhelming it felt—so many things to set up, so much cardboard to throw out, so many people to talk to… it goes without saying that the process of acclimating to college is not an easy one. It can be overwhelming for college to not just be an academic institution, but where we live as well. But there are many ways to ease this transition and feel more comfortable in this new environment. That’s not to say that I have it all figured out, but I have certainly found ways to make Houston Hall feel more like home… and here are some of them:
1) Add personal touches to your room! Whether it’s a fuzzy rug, a lamp, pictures on your walls, or fairy lights, it really does help a lot to decorate your dorm and make it your own. I can’t lie—the overhead lighting and white brick walls can be an eyesore sometimes. I have loved visiting the poster sale outside the Campus Center to find new additions for my wall and on days when I’m feeling particularly homesick, it brings me so much comfort to see familiar knick-knacks from my desk at home sitting on my desk here.
2) Establish a self-care and errands routine to bring some stability into our ever-changing days. This will look different for everyone! For example, I have designated Sundays to be my “reset days.” Not only is it the day of the week when I crack down on work at Tisch Library, but it’s also my designated day to do laundry, clean my room, fill my Brita, and empty the trash so that I have a fresh slate to start the new week with!
3) Get familiar with your roommate and the people in your dorm! These are the people that you will see everyday, whether you’re studying in the common rooms or bumping into each other in the bathroom. Though Tufts is not a particularly big school, it never hurts to have more familiar faces.
4) With that said, it can also be incredibly helpful to find smaller communities within the larger Tufts one. Our dorm is one that’s built-in, but Tufts also has a variety of clubs, cultural groups, and publications to join—I have met so many people that I wouldn’t have otherwise who come from a range of backgrounds but share similar interests.
5) But also don’t forget to call home! I love doing weekly facetimes with my mom, who gives the best advice and also sends me regular pictures of my dog. And my high school friends have been a source of support as well—though we are scattered all around the country, we are all going through different versions of the same thing.
6) And lastly, check in with your friends here. College has its ups and downs. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I turn to my friends to talk out my issues and questions. Both commiseration and advice are always welcome! And at the end of the day, it really is the people around you who will help create a sense of home.
Photo credit: Almer Yu