By Anamika Dutta
Anxiously awaiting move-in day on August 27, I imagined how my new life would unfold atop Mount St. James. Even though I tried to keep my expectations neutral, I could not help but picture myself having a blast every day with a solid friend group I’d find within the first few weeks. I had heard multiple times that college was the best four years of a young person’s life, and I desperately wanted those words to ring true for me.
The reality of college is much different than its social media version. Initially, everything felt exciting—new faces everywhere I turned, new spots on campus to discover, new classes to dive headfirst into—but the initial excitement faded as reality set in. Trying to “fit in” on campus proved to be more difficult than I thought, and the expectation of finding a friend group quickly after moving in seemed to be a myth. The constant Snapchat stories, Instagram posts, and Facebook albums from high-school classmates at their new schools made it appear as though everyone was having the time of their lives, whereas I was struggling to find my place in my new home.
However, I came to realize that social media was not reality, and I was in the same boat as most of my classmates. Although I missed my family and friends and home-cooked food, I grew to value the friendliness of the student body here at Holy Cross, the challenging yet not overwhelming course load, and the multiple opportunities on campus to get involved. As the semester continued, I met some amazing people from my classes and residence hall who I am grateful to call my friends. They helped me feel more settled in on campus, but something still failed to click. I still lacked the solid friend group that I imagined having, and I felt as though I was the only one struggling to call Holy Cross my home away from home.
I understand now that fully adjusting to a new home is not supposed to be instantaneous. It takes time to feel the safety and comfort of a college. Obsessing over having a friend group or feeling like you are truly a part of the campus community is not always productive, because I know these things will solidify with time. As my first semester winds down and the stress of finals season sets in, I feel grateful for the friends I have met, the clubs I have joined, and the feeling of inclusion across campus. Even if this semester was not the initial college experience I had in mind, I know Holy Cross has so much to offer from its: countless clubs and organizations, unique classes, and a dynamic student body. I am excited for the spring semester and the next three years, as I turn Mount St. James into my second home.