As my parents hugged me goodbye and the elevator doors closed on them, I was overcome by fear, loneliness, and anxiety. I looked at my empty new room, and couldn’t help but wonder if I could ever feel as comfortable here as I did in my room back home in Washington D.C.
Moving away from home can feel lonely and overwhelming, especially on your first day in a brand new place. You’re not alone in feeling this–I certainly wasn’t. Here are some tips that have helped me make my residence hall feel like my new home during my first year at NYU.
1. Make your room your own
Don’t let those empty white walls get you down! Fill them with memories, creativity, encouragements, you name it! I made my side of the room completely my own by adding some cute twinkle lights, and memories from home as well as New York to make my side feel more like me. Having a personalized space to retreat to really helped when I felt overwhelmed by all of the exciting new opportunities, and bringing some pieces from my old room to my new room, helped bridge the gap and make it feel just a little bit cozier.
Get to know:
2. …your roommate(s)!
Find out what you have in common–at NYU, roommates are matched based on geographic diversity, but you guys will surely have common interests, passions, or hobbies. Stirring up conversation will not only break the awkward silence that may be hanging after you’ve both said goodbye to your families, it will also enable you to direct your attention to the exciting things ahead. For me, this was a great way for my roommate and me to learn about each other’s cultures, as well as bond over our love for the same tv shows.
3. …your RA
My RA has been my rock during my first year at NYU. She’s helped listen to and resolve roommate issues and family troubles, and she’s also been my personal cheerleader, celebrating every exciting thing that has happened during my first year. She was there to swoop in on move-in day as she distracted me from the sadness of saying goodbye to my family, and focused my attention on how I was going to avoid having FOMO with all the cool events going on during Welcome Week.
Be sure to make use of your RA’s as a resource in adapting to life at college and life in NYC! That’s what they’re there for.
4. …your floormates!
Not only are these the people that you’ll be seeing at hall snacks, game nights, and other floor bonding activities, they’re also the people that’ll pull through with a free bathroom when your roommate is spending a little too long on their #treatyoself night.
5. Join events and activities
See “Waitress” on Broadway, talk out what’s been keeping you down at “Pancakes and Feelings”, watch the Yankees, Rangers, Knicks, you name it; all for free or at a very low co-pay through your residence hall! Not only do you get to experience awesome things that your budget may not otherwise leave room for, but you’ll also be able to meet other people from your res-hall this way. Prefer staying in? Check out Fall Fest, Oscars event, Winter Wonderland, the prelims for NYU’s talent contest, Ultra Violet Live, and more awesome events hosted in your residence hall’s lounges and lobby!
6. Join Hall Council
Be it Brittany’s “BOSS”, Founders’ “FAB”, or Third North’s “TAG”, just to name a few, one of the ways that’s helped me the most in making my res-hall fell like home is by joining hall council. Whether you want to be part of the general assembly, or run for the e-board, hall council promotes advocacy, inclusion and involvement. Being able to help organize events and activities has not only helped me meet a great group of people that I get to call my friends, it’s also enabled me to truly make my res-hall feel like a place where I want to be. Organizing trips to the see the tree lighting at Rockefeller Plaza, working together to pull off the prelims for Ultra Violet Live, and creating a Taste of Founders video to rule them all, has helped me meet many of the over 700 Founders residents, making it a place that I want to call, and that feels like, home.