Mar 23, 2022

Teen Scene

By Lori Draz and Charlotte Stant

Each month our young authors write, in their own voice, stories that will educate and inform fellow students and parents. If you are a teen who would like to write your story, contact The Journal. We’ll help you polish it up, so don’t worry, let’s just get to sharing.

This month’s author is 19-year-old Charlotte Stant of Fair Haven and now Boston. We first met Charlotte as the August 2020 Teen Scene author. Shortly after that, this amazing young woman was selected a “Brawny Giant” by Brawny Paper Towels for her work helping severely marginalized Spanish-speaking Red Bank families through her Compañeros de Comida nonprofit. She went on to earn a full Trustee Scholarship at Boston University, and she was just accepted into the ADPi sorority. Charlotte made the same move that most of our readers do; she went off to college. Now she has returned to tell the next class of college-bound students what they can expect in their first year away and how to handle it all. Here is Charlotte’s story.

As I write this, I am imagining all the readers who are either anticipating or just receiving their college acceptances, as I did in March 2021. In some ways, it feels like years ago, but all the anticipatory anxiety I experienced is still a fresh memory that I can connect to in moments.

I am so honored that The Journal has asked me to return as a Teen Scene author to share my thoughts about the transition to college. I have so much to tell you, but I will do my best to whittle it down to a few key points that I hope will inspire you as you embark on your own journey to college.

First, about those acceptances. I cannot stress enough that when you receive a rejection from your first-choice school, it was not meant to be. Period. Personally, my senior year was filled with accolades and positive press for my nonprofit work, as well as a 4.6 GPA. I even had a third-generation legacy to my top school, and I did not get an early decision. The moment I opened the rejection email, I thought I was having an out-of-body experience. I allowed myself to be angry and disappointed for a day, and then I decided to carry on. I applied to some schools I always found interesting but had previously ignored because of my singular focus on my top choice.

Fast forward to March, and I received many amazing offers to universities all over the world. Boston University offered me a Trustee Scholarship which covered my full tuition and fees, and I

committed because of the opportunities the school offered me as a leader in international relations and linguistics, along with the comfort of knowing that I would graduate without financial debt.

On Aug. 23, 2021, as I rolled my massive yellow move-in bins filled with pillows, décor and books down Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, my anticipation of college was a type of unknown I never experienced, even amidst a pandemic. My entire life was a series of events and excitement leading up to my freshman year move-in date. Months of preparation went into this moment, and my first semester at Boston University ended up being one of the most life-changing experiences I have ever endured.

So here are a few recommendations for incoming freshmen to make your transition as smooth as possible:

Join as many clubs as possible. Most universities have a “welcome week” where clubs are advertised. Attend them all, and sign up for everything that interests you. 

Talk to everyone, meet everyone and never turn down an invitation to do something even if it’s as simple as finding your classes on campus with a group of new people. Join your incoming class’ Facebook groups. I was able to meet about 20 people from our area before school even started, and I found my roommate through social media. My friends at school are my greatest support system.

Prioritize your physical and mental health as much as possible. I believe taking care of yourself while adjusting to a completely new environment is one of the most important keys for success. I use Boston University’s amazing athletic facility all the time, and I take yoga classes in the community and go to acupuncture weekly. Make sure you take your supplements and get enough sleep too! 

Following that advice allowed me to achieve some amazing things my freshman year. I was elected senator for the College of Arts and Sciences, and I am a committee co-chair for the Feast Initiative that deals with food issues on campus. I have accepted a writing position for the International Relations journal as well as a research assistant position to study human trafficking around the globe. I am a member of the ASL club and just learned I made the Dean’s List first semester. 

One final pieces of advice is to delay going home during first semester until Thanksgiving break. Being an only child, I have a close relationship with my parents, and there were times I really missed them, my dogs and my own bed. Directing my nonprofit from another state was challenging too. I missed being part of the week-to-week organizing efforts even though I was really happy at school. Parent’s Weekend is pretty late at Boston University (last weekend of October). About two weeks before, I really wanted to just catch a plane and go home, even for 24 hours to just regroup, or have my parents drive up and visit. I felt like I was caught between two worlds and was really stressed as all my midterms and papers due at once. Well, I stuck it out, with my parents’ support. I learned some of my closest friends were dealing with the same emotions, and I had one of the best weekends on campus socially. I also met the people from the ADPi sorority I now belong to, and I do not think I would have engaged in the rush process had I not stayed that weekend and met people from the Greek system. Most importantly, I discovered I was strong enough to power through, and I now know I can handle just about anything on my own.