First and foremost, let’s give a big welcome to the new Class of 2018 entering the college world!
The word college can trigger a variety of mixed emotions, from excitement to anxiety. Whatever your feelings about your upcoming college experience, you’re not the only one experiencing them. In fact, current college students undergo the same on a daily basis.
As you’re transitioning into your upcoming college career, it’s valuable to recognize some college stressors and how you can tackle them. While this is slightly catered towards first-years, remember that upperclassmen also struggle with these.
Let’s kick it off, shall we?
Stressor: No matter whether you’re a freshman or a senior, you will, have lived, or are living with a roommate. You may choose to go random, room with a friend, or meet your living companion through a social network. Either way, you’ll be sharing a room with someone else, and that can be tough. What if you won’t like each other? What if we’re more different than initially assumed?
Solution: My take on roommates is the following – dive into the situation feet first. In other words, don’t get your hopes up too high. Some people move in thinking they’ll be best friends with their roommate, but end up encountering the complete opposite. Keep an open mind, but keep calm if something goes awry. Make sure you guys agree on some housekeeping items to keep conflict at bay and to create an optimal environment for your academic priorities.
2. College Classes.
Stressor: Coming into college, students’ main priority is their academic success. While that sounds very simplistic and obvious, many students don’t account for the fact that they will need to change their entire routine and study methods, in addition to being present in some 200-person lectures. There are many differences between high school and college, and many students struggle with the adjustment. What do I do if I don’t understand? How do I study for this exam? I need help – where do I turn?
Solution: First off, inhale…exhale. Your university, no matter how big or small, will have the tools you need for your success. The key here is to find them yourself and ask someone for guidance. Sure, you will have to employ different study methods – visit the learning center, consult older students and TAs, speak with your professors. Don’t be afraid, but open your mind and climb higher.
Stressor: During my freshman year, I noticed a fraction of my peers struggling with homesickness. They didn’t really want to get out of their dorm much because they had to Skype their family and/or found themselves going home every weekend. This eventually led to troubles making friends and developing socially in college.
Solution: There is absolutely nothing wrong with missing your family. I definitely still miss my family at times during the 9-month college season. And they do, indeed, call and visit. If you’re feeling homesick, don’t think of your parents being SO out of reach, but rather think of them being right at your fingertips. Even if they’re not in-state, you can shoot them a text, give them a call, or even video chat. An advisor of mine told me that he suggests many parents not to visit their student for 3-4 weeks, and let him/her thrive in the semi-independent university environment enough to get used to it.
4. Making friends.
Stressor: For whatever reasons, some students feel anxious about having to make new friends in college. Maybe you’re an introvert, and it’s simply not your nature. Maybe you didn’t quite have a social life in high school. Maybe there are insecurities involved. Or perhaps it’s the fact that you’re going to a new place for the first time, and essentially having to start over.
Solution: Nobody’s perfect at making friends, but each of us can do it if we put forth the effort – just like with anything else. We’re all different, attracting different people and doing so in varying ways. I, for example, feel completely comfortable to turn to the person sitting next to me in lecture and introduce myself. But not everyone is. Join some organizations that stand for passions you have, and you will definitely get to know some of the members. If your professor offers study groups, you might make a friend while trying to solve a problem or discuss a topic. Either way, you’ll find your niche. I’ve even had cases where someone sits next to me in the dining hall and just strikes up a conversation. Put yourself out there – join clubs, attend social events in your dormitory, check out the gym – and you’ll notice that not only will you be learning, but also making friends along the way!
I’m so thrilled to have been able to share this with you all, and I hope it eases the stress somewhat. Remember: you’re not alone. Everyone is encountering these worries. Just put your best foot forward and stay calm.
If you’d like to see some more advice from me on surviving your freshman year (with special GIFs!), click here. But don’t stop there, and give my blog a little browsing!