The excitement of moving out into the world on your own, making new friends, and experiencing the freedom and liberty of adulthood can bring a rush of adrenaline and joy to any college freshman. But it can be a little scary too because there are certain things you’ll encounter that you have never experienced before. For the first time in your life, you’ll be responsible for making your own decisions and “adulting.”
Here are a few tips for being away from home to help you get adjusted and get the most out of your freshman college experience:
- Things are going to be overwhelming at first. No matter how easy all those movies make adjusting to college life look, it will take you some time to adapt to your new environment. Even something as simple as sharing a dorm room with a stranger will take some time to become comfortable. You’ll also have to manage your own finances, get yourself to all your classes on time, decide between your new social event calendar or homework, and deal with professors who are way less user-friendly than your high school teachers.
Feeling some level of anxiety is to be expected. Talking about it with someone you trust can help alleviate a lot of the stress you’ll feel so don’t be afraid to call home or vent to one of your new friends who may be experiencing the same feelings. In most cases, after a few months have passed, you’ll be in the full swing of things and wonder why you were ever so stressed out to begin with. But if your anxiety gets to a point where it starts to affect your schoolwork or prevents you from functioning it’s time to seek the help of your college counselor, or at the very least, your academic advisor.
- Understand that homesickness will happen, but it will pass. At some point, no matter how excited you might have been to leave home and be your own person, you will come to miss things about home and hit an emotional low. It might be your dog, your old friends, or the free food and laundry provided by your parents, but missing things from home is perfectly normal. You can cope with it more easily by remaining connected to those people you might be homesick for. The internet makes it easy to video chat with your parents and friends back home so take full advantage of the campus Wi-Fi and reach out to those you’re missing most.
- Continuing to do the things you enjoy will help you matriculate into your new surroundings more quickly. If you’ve chosen your college wisely, you’ll have picked a school that has activities and clubs that you already like to participate in. Joining a club or intramural team can put you in touch with other like-minded individuals from all class levels who can show you the ropes and help you feel more comfortable in your new life.
Whether you join the marching band or an ultimate Frisbee team, being around others that share your interests can make your adjustment to college life a lot more fun and go more smoothly. And it’ll also help make the time fly by. Before you know it, you’ll be reaching the end of your freshman year and be prepping for life as a seasoned sophomore.
Adjustment to college life can be challenging for even the most confident and self-assured student. Almost every freshman experiences times of stress, anxiety, and homesickness during the first few months of campus life. The keys to getting through the tough times, though, are understanding that you are not alone in your feelings, knowing when to reach out for help, and developing coping mechanisms and friendships that will give you the support you need when you need it most.