Adjusting to Freshman Year

FreshmanBeginning life in college can sometimes be both exciting and stressful. Whether you are the type of student who feels exhilarated by the freedom and the novelty of the college experience, or the student who prefers the safety and familiarity of home, the critical transition from high school and home to college requires some major adjustments.

Pointers to help you get started and remain on a positive track:

  • View college as a fresh and new start. Wipe your slate clean of previous successes, failures, disappointments and inadequacies. This is a time to create a new, stronger you. You can no longer rest on your laurels and successes from high school, but neither are you tied to past failures and a bad high school reputation. This is a brand new opportunity for positive growth and development.
  • Be patient with yourself. If you are feeling lonely, disoriented, anxious, or scared, so are many of your classmates. Hang in there. Homesickness and unhappiness often ease up after a while. The roughest part may end by a few weeks into the semester.
  • Do not let looking back get in the way of moving forward. Keep in close contact with the people you left behind, but make new social connections at college right from the start. Go to dinner with your roommate; keep in contact with the people you met at freshman orientation. Try to build an early sense of belonging.
  • Create your own style on campus. Organize your half of the room just the way you like it. Decide what you want to get involved with and to what degree.
  • Learn the campus and the resources available to students. The sooner you know your way around the campus and the neighboring community, the sooner you will feel at home.
  • Settle into a comfortable routine. Depending on your style, your schedule may be structured or somewhat loose. By establishing and following your routine each day, you will feel more effective and in control.
  • Get to know at least one adult on campus fairly well, starting with your advisor. The campus will seem far less impersonal.
  • Seize a moment each day to reflect on your life and the lives of others.
  • Expect surprises; take them in stride and manage your time and stress. College can be thrilling and challenging, but it can also wear you down with personality clashes, financial setbacks, health setbacks, academic frustrations and relationship disappointments.
  • Talk to someone if you are feeling blue. If you haven't made a trusted friend yet, try an RA, professor, advisor, or a psychologist in the Counseling Center.