Dear Hurricane,

I’m a freshman far away from home for the first time in my whole entire life and nobody really talks to me on campus. In high school, I was a shining star, but here I feel like a broken grain of sand, lost on a deserted island that is filled with palm trees and exotic natives. On top of this, school work is way too complicated and the expectations of my professors are wicked unclear in almost every one of my classes. Can anyone hear me? I’m sending out an S.O.S.

[Un]shining star

Dear [Un]shining star,
Your description sounds like a dream vacation!
But all joking aside, it’s common for you to feel this way. Most new students may feel anxious, sad, lonely, depressed, scared or nervous when trying to adjust to college life. For many, college is the first time that they are on their own, and separation from familiar faces and places can be difficult.
College is also very different from high school. College courses generally require more time and preparation outside of class. Further, professors are not always available. Students sometimes find it hard to manage the abundance of free time outside of classes.
Fortunately, the confusion does not last forever.
There are many ways of getting through this difficult time. Consider joining a club or intramural sport. The Wellness Center organizes a myriad of intramural and club sports. Recreational sports are popular and a lot of fun. Campus events, lectures, clubs, student organizations or programs held in the residential colleges are also great ways to meet people and get involved.
Do you need a break from campus? The Ibis shuttle will take you to Coconut Grove on Fridays and Saturdays 8 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. There also is a shuttle service that takes students back and forth to the Shops at Sunset Place if you would like to catch a movie or do a little shopping. This shuttle runs on Fridays and Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Most importantly, I want to let you know that many people understand exactly how you feel.
The Counseling Center is just one place that offers students the opportunity to discuss feelings and receive advice on making Miami your home away from home.
The Counseling Center is located in building 21-R [near Eaton Residential College]. The Counseling Center offers a variety of services including individual counseling, group counseling, career counseling, workshops and special programs, and a self-development tape library.
Many of these services are free to UM students.
So, take advantage of the tuition you pay: Get out and make some friends right away!

Tierini D. Hodges

Tierini D. Hodges is a COPE [Counseling Outreach Peer Education] counselor. She is a senior majoring in psychology with a minor in English. For more information on services offered by the Counseling Center, call 305-284-5511. For more information on Wellness Center programs, call 305-284-5433.