New school year, new school concerns. The fall semester is quickly approaching and students are preparing for a brand new year of college! If you are one of these college students, here are some concerns you may be facing:
1. The realities of a global pandemic
With COVID-19 still afoot, the fall 2020 semester is anything but typical. Stringent precautions will be in place and many classes will be held online. However, do not fear: while we wait for things to return to a somewhat normal, your college experience can (and will) still be worthwhile. Whatever your situation may be, you can still get the great education you deserve.
2. Learning via remote classes
On a similar note, being in the midst of a global pandemic means adjusting to a remote education. If you were in high school this past year, you probably have experience with online classes. While learning remotely is definitely challenging in some aspects, it is also very convenient in others. Having your classes online will cut out commutes, giving you more time to do other things and get your work done.
3. Adjusting to a new way of life
If you are moving on campus or to an apartment, college life will definitely be uncharted territory. Adjusting to something new means growing pains; however, if you put in even the smallest of efforts, you will benefit immensely from your college experience! Living on your own for the first time can and will be a lot of fun.
There are ways of preparing yourself — start up a conversation with someone who has moved away to college and see what their experience was like.
4. Time management
Everyone struggles with time management–to a certain extent, at least. When you first start college, you will be swiftly introduced to a whole new schedule and workload. Also, you will be required to manage everything on your own. In high school, you could turn in homework late if you had an excuse or you could make up the work if you missed a class, but in college, you have to take complete responsibility for your educational experience. This means turning in assignments even if you’re sick; otherwise, you will lose points.
As long as you do not overload yourself, you will definitely be able to manage your time. And remember–always, always prioritize sleep.
5. Did I choose the right major?
If you already chose your major or you’re going to a specialty school, you may be wondering if you made the right decision. If you are uncertain, it is okay! It is difficult to know exactly what you want to do when you are so young. You still have time to change your mind: nothing is set in stone. Give it a semester and see how you like it. You can always decide later to change your major or transfer if you are not enjoying your experience.
6. Making friends
The idea of making friends (from scratch) can be intimidating. The good news is that everyone will be in the same boat, just as desperate to make friends as you are! This makes it significantly easier to find people you connect with. The tricky part will be pinpointing the ones that are keepers.
7. Loneliness and homesickness
In 2020 this may not be an issue if your entire college experience is remote, but feeling lonely is very common among new college students. Before now, you grew accustomed to a certain way of life: you were used to the people you surrounded yourself with. Maybe you experienced a lot of change and maybe you didn’t.
College can be lonely at first. If you are relocating to a new state, you probably will not know anyone. If you are studying nearby, your friends may leave you behind as they traipse off to new places. Being a college student will take some getting used to, but you will slowly build a support system and learn how to live on your own. It will not always be perfect, but you will find your place.
8. The cost of getting a college education
College loans and expenses are such a huge strain on new college students. The cost of college tuition is astronomical, and even more so with the additional expenses of room and board, food, books, and supplies. It is a good idea to have a conversation with someone you trust about your financial situation, so you know what you are getting into and how you can prepare.
With so much change, your relationships may be strained. Keep the people you want in your life (for the long run) close to your heart, and also learn to let go when necessary. There is no straightforward answer; however, trust your gut and do what is right for you and your loved ones.
10. What am I doing with my life?
A question we all ask ourselves from time to time: what am I doing with my life? We all have those moments where we take a step back, examine all of our decisions thus far, and question the direction in which we are heading.
So, I leave you with a question: Do you have a career in mind related to your college major (even if you’re not 100% certain)? You do not have to know exactly what you want to do, but it is good to feel passionate about the direction you are moving in. After all, you are paying for your education, so you should be paying for something you actually want to do!
College is all about new experiences, learning, and growing into adulthood. It is also an important stepping stone in your adventure through life. You will be a college student for the next two to four to six years, so enjoy the journey while you’re on it! Also, go easy on yourself — trust me, you are doing great.