Creating a Second Home: Student Advice and Comments on the College Experience

Creating a Second Home: Student Advice and Comments on the College Experience

For many college students, home exists in two places: their familiar hometown, and their new, lively community on campus. Becoming comfortable at the University of Redlands is not instantaneous for most Bulldogs, but through participating in organizations, sports, and clubs, as well as exploring the city of Redlands and Southern California, students gain a sense of belonging and familiarity. The Redlands Bulldog interviewed students at random about their freshman year and how they blossomed into an active community member. Students related their experiences and offered suggestions for current and incoming freshmen, many of whom have never lived away from home before. Visiting favorite places with friends on or off campus, and immersing themselves fully in Redlands culture proved to be the most popular responses. Below are some of the collected replies: 


“I overly prepared myself for leaving. I made most of my friends on campus from my First Year Journey and the tennis team. I recommend doing an FYJ to meet people, and exploring Redlands with friends who have cars. Augie’s Coffee is the best, even though it’s hard to get to.”

-Olivia Rockwood; Park City, Utah


    “I joined the cross country team, so immediately I found a good group of people. Living in East helped me as well. My favorite spot on campus is the fire pit by East.”

-Clara Miller; Portland, Oregon


“Go check out the infamous 405 traffic. Seriously though, get out, make friends, do what you love and go fun places. Get out of your head and quit lamenting, and make sure to leave your room sometimes, even if it’s just to the library or the gym.”

-Piers Donald; Toluca Lake, California


“Water polo made it a thousand times easier. I can understand how people struggle finding their place though. I miss home sometimes, but 90% of me is here in the moment at school.”

-Ethan Beaty; Denver, Colorado


“For the most part people are easy going. There’s no cliquiness. I might be wrong—I hope I’m not. I’m very much a Marylander, so it’s vastly different. Maryland will always and forever be my home, but I’ve met some really good people here. I’m enjoying the college experience and loving Redlands so far. I’ve got the boys and good friends, and lots of memories already. That’s really all you could ask for.” 

-Ryan Pilotte; Baltimore, Maryland


“Downtown Redlands has really taken off. Dinner, drinks, walking around, and shopping are my favorite things to do there!”

-Erica Stratton; Redlands, California


“Market Night is so fun. It’s good to get to know local businesses.”

-Hannah Biggs; St. Louis, Missouri


“Redlands is a friendly, great campus. You can talk to practically anyone and find a commonality. Sometimes people are more independent and set in their ways so it is hard to branch out. There’s not much to do besides Citrus Plaza or Downtown, so I try to stay on campus during weekends as much as possible. I met most of my friends through my May Term in D.C. We hung out a lot and really bonded. I also love Big Buddies.”

-Ethan Frostig; Irvine, California


“I finally felt like I belonged in November of freshman year, after I met people and formed friendships. I also work in Redlands and I started to get to know the city more.”

-Sophia Rockne; Tacoma,Washington


“I love going to Market Night and supporting local businesses. It’s a much more personalized experience. Sophomore year is when I established who my friends were and I met people through activities.”

-Cat Wills; Bethesda, Maryland


“I enjoy competitive trap shooting at the Redlands Trap Range, and I buy groceries at Citrus Plaza.”

-Nathan Lee; San Diego, California

“Homesickness comes in waves, but once I made friends Redlands started to feel just like home. Being back in San Antonio was really weird.”

-Maddie Thomas; San Antonio, Texas


“My parents call me enough, and having a car really helps. I love the Meditation Garden and the Point.”

-Mariah Fisher; San Francisco, California


“Dude, it blows. You need a car to have fun. The people are cool. That’s it.”

-Gabriel Pettiz; Chicago, Illinois


“Join clubs, get involved. Outdoor Programs, trips to Joshua Tree and LA, and going to the beach are what me and my friends have done.”

-Sara Colley; Bainbridge Island, Washington


“Living in Brockton and then later, off campus, made me feel like part of the larger city community of Redlands. It’s such a small school that you can have conversations with anyone. Having a roommate helped, too. Redlands Ranch Market has a great burrito place in the back, it’s like Subway but for Mexican food.”

-Paige Erlanger; Las Vegas, Nevada

[hr gap=””]Photograph by Hannah Sobel.