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“Not The Same Year”… How To Handle The Transition Year To Year In College

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at West Chester chapter.

When first transitioning into college, everything is new and exciting. New friends, new environment, new beginnings.

But freshman year only lasts for so long… and no matter how the year turns out things will inevitably change between each August. This is never a bad thing, but it’s most definitely an adjustment.

So, how can college students navigate the changes from year to year?

1.     Be honest with yourself

Understand that not everything is going to be a copy-and-paste of the previous year. If you go into any new year of college wanting things to be the same, you’re going to be disappointed. It’s completely understandable to feel like you’re mourning last school year. College is one of the oddest points of your life because so much is thrown at you. You’re most likely living away from home, you’re working towards a soon-to-be career path, and you’re introduced to tons of new people. As your environment shifts from year to year, take it easy on yourself. Just because things are different from last year, does not mean you are losing everything from last year. The year is simply new and therefore you may face challenges as things change. Here’s the thing though…the new school year is the perfect time for evolving. Think of each year as a new season of a show. There is going to be a different plot, new characters, and new conflicts. If the plot was always the same in each season, your favorite TV show would be pretty boring. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with reminiscing on the previous years, but keep your mind open to what this upcoming year has in store, otherwise, you’re going to miss the present.

2.     Growing up and growing apart

Debatably one of the hardest parts about each year is the changes in relationships. You learn through your years of being a college student, that maintaining the exact same friendships year to year is harder than expected. Things happen. Sometimes distance can be a contributing factor, or sometimes you have very mutual friendships that just seem to fizzle out. Growing apart is normal, (and doesn’t always need to be dramatic) however the friendships that do really matter are worth the effort. Friendships can be difficult to navigate in college, so figure out which of your relationships are worth prioritizing and be ready to prioritize them. It may not always be convenient, but it is always worth it.  

3.     Get ready to go out!

Don’t panic, if you’re a complete introvert…. This step doesn’t mean you need to become the biggest social butterfly ever; however, it does mean you should get ready to expand your comfort zone. If you simply wake up, go to class, come home, do homework, go to sleep, and repeat… you are not doing college right. Take advantage of the opportunities around you. College campuses are basically designed to get you to join something. Take ten minutes out of your day, go onto your school’s website, and browse through clubs and events. You’ll be shocked by what type of opportunities universities hold. Interested in a sport but not a pro… join the plethora of club teams. Okay, so sports aren’t your thing. How about joining something that aligns with your major? That’s also a perfect way to meet people who have the same career desires as you. Put yourself out there and you’ll be shocked by how easy it is to meet people while exploring your interests. 

Like many students, I struggled with coming back to campus. So, in a way, I wrote this article for myself, while having hopes, that it would help other students out there. First, I acknowledged what was different about this year, and why it was bothering me. Then because many of my friends ended up living in different places, I knew that needed to make it a priority to see them, since they were longer a dorm room away. And, most importantly I found that exposing myself to opportunities, tremendously helped with the transition. I joined (as you see) the HER campus writing team, and ever since then, I have been able to connect with girls of the same passion as me while writing about things that are important to me. This new experience helped me separate myself from last year while doing something that fueled a passion.

So remember, transitioning into a new year of college, may present its’ challenges, however, taking some simple steps significantly makes a difference!

Lena Zadroga

West Chester '26

Hey, my name is Lena Zadroga. I'm a sophomore at West Chester, and currently studying English, with a minor with professional and technical writing. I've always had a love for reading and writing, which is why I wanted to join the incredible HER campus writing team. Little fun fact about me is that I have an complete obsession with sharks!