Moving away from home, meeting new people, maintaining your grades, and finding a work/life balance are all part of adjusting to college. Here are a few tips for acclimating to your exciting new life:
- Everyone’s experiences are different.
You might be feeling incredibly homesick. You might spend every night trying not to cry in your dorm, wishing you could see your old friends and family. Or you might feel right at home. You might make friends right away and feel guilty that you don’t miss your family as much as you thought you would. Maybe you are somewhere in between. Whatever the case may be, you are not alone. Everyone adjusts to college differently, and there is no right or wrong way to feel.
- Make time for yourself.
Sometimes, we all need time to relax, watch a movie, read a book, or go to bed early. Do not feel bad about that! Make time for yourself and do what makes you happy. If you love going out with friends every night, great! But don’t feel like you have to. Take time to relax and do things you enjoy.
- Separate school and having fun.
Do not spend all day every day studying. Set boundaries for yourself. Look at your schedule and determine when you want to finish schoolwork and have fun. Maybe all of your classes are in the morning, so you decide to finish working by dinner. Perhaps you only want to study on the weekdays and have the weekends to yourself. Maybe you would rather stay up until midnight studying and have the mornings to relax. Find whatever works for you, and remember to have fun! These are the “best four years of your life,” and you will probably not enjoy them if you are always studying.
- Be prepared to read.
In high school, you probably didn’t have to read three textbook chapters before every class you attended (if you did, I’m sorry, but at least you are prepared!). In college, this is the unfortunate reality. For a handful of your classes, you must teach yourself the class material through textbooks. Class time tends to focus more on group work, discussions, and questions.
- Do not be afraid to put yourself out there.
When you are starting college as a freshman, everyone is in the same boat as you. Everyone wants to make new friends, so do not hesitate to start conversations. Not everyone will be your cup of tea, and that’s okay! Just get to know as many people as you can.
However you are feeling about starting school, remember to work hard and have fun! My final piece of advice is to give yourself positive messages and congratulate yourself when you do hard things. College is a huge adjustment, so even if an accomplishment seems small (like showering for the first time or doing your laundry), you should be proud of yourself. You’ve got this!