Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Penn State Old Main
Penn State Old Main
Original photo by Emma Wesolowski
Life > Experiences

Tips and Tricks for Adjusting to Life at a Big School

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

Any big life transition, like moving from your hometown to living at a college however many hours away, can be pretty tough. Even for me, someone who grew up going to overnight camp in the summers, it was a hard and brutally awakening.

As I start my sophomore at Penn State, here are some of the best tips I have for learning to adjust to life at a big school.

be open to new relationships

In no way am I suggesting that you should get into a relationship the moment you step foot on campus, but be open to becoming friends with people everywhere you go. You never know who your new best friend could end up being.

Classes, clubs, mandatory meetings or even the bus stop are great breeding grounds for new friendships.

Start associating with as many people as you can. They don’t all have to be your best friends, but it can make a big campus feel a whole lot smaller if you see someone you know every time you go somewhere.

Get involved

This may seem like a no-brainer, but not everyone really thinks about it.

At any school, you can find a multitude of clubs and organizations where (hopefully) at least one makes you feel at home. Being involved in something will give you so many opportunities to make friends and give you so many things to do to stay busy.

Greek life is a great way to get involved in something so much bigger than yourself. I’ve found so many amazing people through Greek life, but it isn’t for everyone — and that’s okay!


Going out can be a great way to meet new people and to get acquainted with the “party scene” at your school. However, as much as we all love partying, keep it balanced.

Not everyone can go out on a three-day bender and be okay afterwards.

Learn what your limits are and follow them!

Self care

This is in a similar realm to keeping life balanced, but make sure you take time to care for yourself. I’ve had plenty of nights where I decided to stay in instead of going out to party because I had to study or get a good night of sleep.

Carve out time during the day to eat a good meal, exercise and get your body moving, journal, take a walk, watch your comfort show or anything to make sure you stay healthy. Don’t overwork yourself.

be prepared for anything

College is a very “go-with-the-flow” type of situation, so be spontaneous! Some of my favorite nights have been ones that were decided upon five minutes prior.

Don’t get upset if something doesn’t go your way. It happens and it’s okay.

know your worth

It’s something so special to be able to start anew in college. Even if you’re like me, coming to college knowing a ton of people, you get to decide who you spend your time with.

Find those people who have the best intentions, who give you the best advice, and who make you feel like yourself. You don’t need to spend time trying to be friends with people who you don’t vibe with.

Of course, you’re always going to have those class acquaintances or the people who live in your building, but you don’t have to put pressure on yourself to become best friends with them.

Find your places

Finding your safe spaces on campus can be tough, but once you do, you’ll feel so much more at home. Spend some time in the beginning of the year testing out study locations and local restaurants.

Find the spaces that make you happy, safe, and motivated.

Always remember, college is what you make of it. The effort you put in is what you’re going to get out, so enjoy the new few years!

Hannah Workman is currently a sophomore at Penn State University studying psychology and journalism. When she's not writing or being a Campus Correspondent for Her Campus, Hannah loves listening to music, reading, and spending too much money on concerts and Starbucks!