Freshman Focus Q&A: Elise DeCarli copes with tiny room, ‘sucky’ showers and missing friends

Elise DeCarli has just started her freshman year at Occidental College in Los Angeles. She plays libero on the Oxy volleyball team, the same position she played at SCDS. Currently, she is in Chicago with her team, playing against small colleges such as St. Norbert, Elmhurst and Coe. Like many freshmen, DeCarli has been homesick. 

Q: What was the most difficult transition into college life?

A: Everything is different. You don’t carry around cash, you carry your student ID. And you pay for everything with that. You’re completely on your own and you’re living on your own with your roommate. And your room is tiny. It’s weird because you’re always in the same place. You eat and sleep and shower and go to school and socialize. And for me, it’s probably less than a mile in diameter.

Q: What are your dorms like?

A: There’s a couple of really nice dorms at Oxy, but those are for upperclassmen. The dorm I’m in is on top of a huge hill way in the back of campus. Literally every time I walk up that hill, I’m gasping for breath at the end. (Stewart-Cleland Hall) was renovated in 2011. It looks nice, but it doesn’t have air conditioning, so that’s been really sucky. I’m on the second floor so it’s even hotter up there. The showers are really, really weird. You know those faucets that have those buttons you press down and (the water runs) for a few seconds? It’s basically the same for the showers, but they last for several minutes. So to take a full shower, you have to press it like 10 times.

Q: How has being on the volleyball team affected your social life?

A: You go early a week before anybody else gets on campus, so there was a lot of bonding. So when school starts you have a little bit of relationship with some people. It was really, really strange meeting on campus with just other athletes because campus was just dead.

Q: How have you coped with missing home, family and friends?

A: Mostly I’ve been talking with people a lot. I text my mom or call my parents at night. Or like really quick little things like Snapchatting a friend. Honestly I’ve been so busy with everything there hasn’t been a whole bunch of time (to be homesick). It was a little bit harder in the first week when I just had volleyball and more free time. What’s harder than the homesickness is being so busy. There’s always something to do. It’s just overwhelming.

Q: Do you expect homesickness will be a problem in the future?

A: I’m sure there will be times when it will be hard. I mean, especially if there’s something big that comes up that only someone from Sacramento would get, or only someone from my family, or one of my friends, or somebody from Country Day would get. I think it will be harder in the winter and spring when I don’t have volleyball.

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