Stella: Don’t knock the dorm experience

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Collegian | Devin Cornelius

The Laurel Village dorms sit with Durward Hall and Westfall Hall in the background Feb. 2, 2021.

Michael Stella, Collegian Columnist

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

First-year move-in is an exciting time that marks the beginning of your college experience, but it can feel stressful for a lot of reasons, and it is OK to feel that stress.

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It is likely the first time you are leaving home for an extended period of time, and you might not know anyone at Colorado State University. For out-of-state students, moving to a new state is stressful on its own.

If you are feeling nervous about moving in and making friends, know that everyone else who is moving in is likely feeling the same way you are. It is all part of the experience. 

First of all, congratulations on making it this far and committing to Colorado State University. The new class of 2026 may have had an unconventional high school experience with the COVID-19 pandemic, but now four transformational years in Fort Collins lay ahead. 

You will experience more freedoms in college than you have at any other point in your life, and it is a privilege to attend a university such as CSU. The college experience is what you make of it and starts right away with move-in. 

As move-in begins, it is important to remember all first-years are in the same boat. CSU is a large school — with more than 28,000 students on campus, which makes it easy to feel lost in the crowd.

That is why it is important to get involved from the start and really make an effort to find your people.

“Getting to know the people who will be sharing the dorm with you is important in creating community and just meeting people in general. Universities are a place of learning and exploration. At no other point in your life will you live in a building with people of the same age and similar interests at the same point in life as you.”

CSU offers plenty of extracurriculars to students. It may seem daunting to get involved by joining clubs, participating in intramural sports or getting an on-campus job, but the effort will make your time at CSU much more enjoyable. 

One of the best and probably the easiest ways to meet people is during move-in and orientation. Leaving your dorm room door open literally opens the door to meeting the people you will be seeing the most throughout your dorm experience. Your first year will be a lot more fun if you can get to know them and even become friends with them. 

Something as simple as going through the hallway and introducing yourself to everyone starts to build the community on your floor. For better or worse, you are going to have to share the bathroom and shower with everyone, so you might as well get to know them. 

Getting to know the people who will be sharing the dorm with you is important in creating community and meeting people in general. Universities are a place of learning and exploration. At no other point in your life will you live in a building with people of the same age and similar interests at the same point in life as you.

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While learning in the classroom is certainly important, what you learn outside of the classroom through the people you meet and interact with will likely teach you more. CSU’s student population in the fall of 2020 was 65% in-state students, with 34% being out of state and about 1% being international students. 

This diverse population of students is important in shaping CSU’s community and gives students the opportunity to learn from classmates who come from every part of the country. 

When it comes to the college experience, you get out what you put in. Get involved early, and you will start your four years off on the right note. 

Reach Michael Stella at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @Michaelstella_.

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