How to Support Yourself in College – What to Bring and What’s Already There

Harpreet Singh, QuestBridge Scholar, Emory ’17

Harpreet Singh (Emory ’17) shared his path to becoming a QuestBridge Scholar recently, and now he’s sharing his advice! No matter where you are on your college journey, Harpreet’s insight can serve as a good reminder of how you can find the support you may need on campus.

Many students ask themselves as they are about to go to college – what should I bring to school? Many students may not be aware of the support resources that already exist on campus. It’s important to research and take advantage of these resources, but you also need to bring the things you need to support yourself. Here are three ways to cover all of the bases:

Seek (Free!) Resources on Campus

Many QuestBridge college partners have a plethora of resources that are free to use for your own benefit and can be used to support you throughout your college experience. This can include a campus gym, a mental health resource center, a student health center, a career center, an academic advising office, the financial aid office, and an office dedicated to helping students.

However, it can be tough to figure out the names of these offices, where they are located, how to access them, and how to contact them. Therefore, the greatest support system you can have is other students. Students who are further along in their college career may have knowledge that you are not aware of yet. For example, many colleges have an orientation for first-year students and it is usually conducted by students. These students are usually the most excited about their school, and their goal is to help you get to know the ropes. All you have to do is ask the questions!

Befriend Students Like You

Other ways of finding support systems is by befriending students who come from backgrounds similar to yours. More than likely, they have a better understanding of anything you’re going through and will have better insight on how to amend a situation, which is crucial to your college success. During my first year at Emory, I was able to find support through sophomore, junior, and senior Emory QuestBridge Scholars who I still keep in touch with to this day. They helped me find a job my first semester, and ultimately find my place on campus!

Bring a Piece of Home

At the same time, it’s also good to think about what you should bring to college for self-support. You won’t be home as often in college as you were in high school so there will be times where you miss home regardless of how exciting college is. Therefore, it’s necessary to bring something from home that helps you get past this feeling. For example, since I’m big on cooking, I bring ingredients to cook food that I only eat at home (dining hall food really doesn’t compare to home-made food). I also bring a specific variety of tea that I drink at home. When eating and drinking food and beverages I connote to home, I am conditioned to believe I am in the warmth of my home.

I’d suggest finding what works for you that reminds you of home, family, or comfort. This can be having a photo collage on a desk in your room devoted to your family, or anything that makes you feel at ease and supported by your loved ones in college is definitely worth it!

That being said, we all have different ways we support ourselves. Take some time to reflect on what brings you happiness, and what you feel would sustain and support you throughout this first term or semester and hopefully you can bring that to campus!

– by Harpreet Singh (Emory ’17)