Why it is Still an Adjustment to Come Back to College After Freshman Year

When you start your first year in college, every single aspect of your new life is an adjustment—the place you live, the people you talk to, and the concept of starting to learn how to be an adult. The fact that starting out as a college student is a stressful period of adjustment is a fact that is accepted by mostly everyone. However, what fails to be recognized is that coming back after almost 4 months of summer at any point in your college career is still extremely stressful and a large adjustment.​

Unless you are living in the same dorm with the same people that you did the previous year, you will be starting out your year in a new environment just the same. Maybe you have less space in your room than you had the year before, or it’s in a totally new area on campus, so the walk to the dining hall is not the same, or you don’t know how to get the right temperature on the shower anymore. Any of these things that are different require you to adjust and learn how to live in a new space, and it is important to recognize that feeling of dissonance you experience from living in an entirely new environment. ​

In addition to a change in space, your classes will also change. While they do change semester to semester, as you enter a new year in college, the classes that you are supposed to be taking go up a level. While the difference from a 100- to 200-level class might not seem that different, when you compare taking all 100-level classes, and 4 months later, all 200-level classes, the amount of work, as well as reading, that you have is considerably higher. This means that while you are starting off in the first few weeks, you might have to change your method of studying, or how many clubs or activities that you are able to do and still get enough sleep. This also requires you to adjust your previously established habits dramatically.

Due to this, it is important to make sure you are able to recognize that some of the stress that you are feeling at the beginning is due to the process of readjusting to life and campus. It is also important to allow yourself time to readjust, and time to feel the beginning-of-the-year dissonance.   


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