For many, college is a major change in lifestyle. In the beginning, these changes often are difficult to deal with and prove to be a daily struggle that many can relate to. College life is a drastic transition from the lifestyle that came before that. There is an increase in independence and the need to take care of yourself without a parent’s watchful eye. There’s no need to be scared though, just keep in mind some of these struggles, make an effort to be your best self, and remember that others are going through the same thing.
1) Maintaining Your Schedule
For most students new to college, this will be the first time they are in control of their own schedule. This can lead to simple changes like when you decide to eat, to larger ones like regarding your sleep schedule. When you give people the freedom to stay up as late as they want without any real consequences, they’re bound to experiment and try whatever they want. Defining your own schedule doesn’t have to be a struggle, but it can often be taken too far. No one wants to miss class because they were still asleep, or find that their day is bogged down due to a lack of sleep. Some students might even find that they’re missing meals. Given enough time, m0st students find a pattern to their schedule that suits them, but it certainly can be tough trying to figure that routine out.
2) Eating Right
Another of the many daily struggles many college students face is eating right. Whether you are fed through college cafeterias or you decide to cook for yourself, there is a lot more freedom of choice to the foods you eat. It can be refreshing, but students should remember to try and stay healthy. Many college cafeterias offer sodas and desserts daily or even per meal, and that can be a slippery slope in terms of eating habits. Students who cook for themselves might try for a variety of foods, but it can be easier to pick frozen foods or simple meals so you don’t need to put in much effort. For your own sake, its best to limit the amount of junk food and try to add healthy alternatives to your meals.
Of course, college is all about the classes you take, and college is a big shift in terms of how classes work, especially compared to high school. Most professors won’t call attention to you if you are late, miss class, or don’t do the work. That means all the responsibility of class falls upon your shoulders. Since attendance is rarely thought about, you might feel like there are no consequences to skipping class, but it will affect how you do in the course in the long term. Paying attention and doing homework is something you are responsible for alone, with no parents or teachers to chastise you if you do not meet expectations. You will pass or fail your class solely on your own merits, which means you have to genuinely put the effort into every course you take. Sometimes, this means a difficult conversation with your professor, but in the end, those tough challenges will be worth it.
4) Finding Friends
Not many college students find a university close to home, so for most students, you’re going to be surrounded by entirely new people. It can be challenging to find new friends, but that is something that just about every new student goes through. Everyone is looking for new friends, so you shouldn’t let the pressure discourage you. Clubs and extracurricular activities are great ways to meet new people and find a group that you belong with. It’s definitely a tough experience to go through, especially considering you’re likely to grow apart from some friends during your early college years. It’s only natural that this happens, so just keep searching.
It’s probably most people’s first time doing laundry on their own, and that’s nothing to feel embarrassed about. Remember to sort your laundry by color and delicates, and have a supply of detergent. It’s also good to remember to not let your wet laundry sit for too long, or else they might get mildew. After a few loads of laundry, it will become much more understandable. Just try not to leave your laundry until the last minute. You don’t want piles of dirty laundry sitting about, and you never know when the machines might be in use.
6) Dorm Decor
It can be hard to personalize a room, especially when you know how temporary it is. You can’t go hardcore and start hammering nails into the wall or even use strong enough tape that might chip the paint, but you can still find a way to make your room comfortable and nice to look at. There are plenty of smaller plants, posters, lighting, and other decor items that can give your dorm an atmosphere all its own, and take it from an empty room to your room.
7) Roommates and Neighbors
College is also most likely the first time you get to live with a lot of people your age. You’re bound to have a new roommate or annoying neighbor at some point, and it can be challenging to deal with people. It’s all a balance of learning to share your spaces and not be too intrusive. They could be messy, nitpicky, loud, or any number of things, but it is important to stay patient with the people around you. People can be annoying to live with, but they can still become your friends, and that’s something worth considering.
One of the biggest daily struggles of new college students is having a romantic life. Of course, a big challenge can be finding a person you’re interested in, but even if you find that a relationship is forming, there are other factors that arise from living the college life. Dorms don’t offer a whole lot in terms of privacy, so spending alone time may end up being difficult. It can also be rough to go on dates or out on the town, especially if your place isn’t close to a city. You might need to take busses or rideshares, but finding that time for your romantic partner can be worth it.
If it’s hard to balance academic time, social life, and taking care of yourself, it can be even harder to balance all that with the other important aspects of life outside of school. This might be a job to earn extra money, joining a sports team for exercise and fun, bands or choirs to keep music in your life, or whatever clubs your school might offer. There are tons of things to do outside of class, and you’ll want to experiment to find the ones right for you. Just remember to try to find the right balance between all of your commitments!
10) Keeping in Touch
With how busy you are in college, you might even forget about where you came from but don’t forget your family is still there and your friends are moving on to their own adventures, and learning to adapt to change just like you are. It’s nice for everyone to stay in touch so remember to contact these people, even if its just a short conversation now and again. People miss you, just like you miss them. Your situation may have changed, but your old relationships are still there to lean on.