Ease the Stress of Adjustment

College. Even the word itself sounds intimidating. As a freshman that has just moved into college, I knew the adjustment was going to be hard, but little did I know that it was going to be this hard. Leaving the support group of my friends and family behind, I was just a clueless freshman that was struggling to find her way around the SJU campus. I was now living with a stranger, sharing a bathroom with 20+ girls, and being forced to eat dining hall food. As the first semester is starting to draw to a close, here are a few tips that helped ease the stress of my adjustment.

1. Leave your dorm room door open

I slowly began to leave the door open to my dorm and would say “hi” to whoever walked past. I knew absolutely no one at this school and felt so lonely and I was sure other people were feeling the same way. A simple “hi” or “hello” was able to brighten people’s day and by doing this I slowly became more friendly with girls on my floor. Once I started leaving my door open, it became a ripple effect and slowly my floor began to grow closer and closer.

2. Join clubs and activities

The first month of college, my time was preoccupied with other commitments. As I slowly took a break from that, I decided to join different clubs and activities. By becoming more involved, I was able to branch out and meet different groups of people that I shared common interests with. I was now meeting students of all different ages and it was so refreshing to walk around campus and see a familiar face. The clubs I joined provided me with a break from class or studying, and it felt like a breath of fresh air everytime we would meet.

3. Call your parents

I have always had a close relationship with my parents, being the youngest child and only girl. Moving away to college wasn’t easy for me or my parents. I talk to them almost everyday and I miss them just as much as they probably miss me (I hope). Moving away is hard on everyone. Letting your parents know you’re thinking about them will not only brighten their day, but will make you feel better as well. So pick up the phone, call your parents and tell them how much you love them.

4. Go to class & stay on top of your work

I know how easy it is to stay in bed and skip an 8 am (I am guilty of it too). But, it is important to go to class and stay on top of all of your work. As a freshman in college, the workload is very different from senior year of high school - when we did next to nothing. Take advantage of your professor’s office hours and make your face known to them. Professors love to know that students are putting the time and effort in to class. Some of mine knew I was struggling in the beginning of the semester, but were able to give me extra points and even drop my lower grades simply because I met with them. So I cannot stress enough: MEET WITH YOUR PROFESSORS!

5. Do what makes you happiest.

College is a great place to meet new people, but at the end of the day, don’t be someone you’re not just to impress others. Stay true to yourself. There are so many things to be involved in on campus, so do something that makes you happy. Who cares what people think? If people are not going to support you doing what makes you happy, then they are not worth having in your life. At the end of the day, make sure you’re happy. If you’re not, then find out what is making you unhappy and remove it from your life - whether it be a person, a certain extracurricular, or even a class. You should surround yourself with positive people, and if you are in a toxic environment, get out of there.

**An Important Tip to Any Freshman that is Struggling**

If you feel like you are not loving school, not having the “time of your life”, missing home, and missing your friends and family, remember that many more people than you think are feeling the same way. If you are seriously struggling mentally or emotionally, be honest about how you are feeling and consider speaking to a counselor. Take advantage of the resources that our school has and find the help and support you need.

Office of Public Safety: 610-660-1111

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): 610-660-1090

Student Health Center: 610-660-1175

Student Outreach and Support: 610-660-1149