As the leaves begin to change and the air gets a little crisper, the feeling around campus is usually one of joy as the hot days wane away and the holiday season is on the horizon. However, for some freshmen, this time in the semester can feel lonely, overwhelming and never-ending.
For those of you freshmen who are still struggling to adjust to college, I understand how you feel because I am going through the same thing. College is an exciting time filled with new opportunities and the chance to be completely independent and make your own choices. However, if you find yourself missing home, a significant other, or are simply having trouble adjusting to the academic demands college entails, here are some tips.
1. Make a phone call
If you find yourself missing someone in particular, feel free to give them a quick call. Hearing their voice and engaging in simple conversation will make you feel a whole lot better. Whenever I am feeling stressed about homework or am having a rough day in general, calling my loved ones always brightens my day and allows me to destress.
2. Write it out
Whatever the problem may be: having a strenuous time in classes, trouble making friends, issues with time management, write it down! Visualizing your emotions and difficulties on paper will help you to make sense of them and even brainstorm solutions. Keep your entries so you can review them later and see if any progress has been made.
3. Make a routine
Of course academic life is going to be stressful if you do not plan ahead. Try to make a routine for the week and stick to it. For example, plan which days you will study for certain subjects and also the times which you will actually sit down and focus. I have done this, and found it helps keep me on track and lower my stress.
4. Take a break
The best thing to do when you are feeling overwhelmed with personal life or school work is to simply walk away and take a break. Take a stroll around campus, grab a bite to eat, or go to the campus workout center to burn off some steam. This will help you to come back to your work refocused and relaxed.
5. Keep an open mind
Many students have a difficulty adjusting to college because they expect it to be just like high school. When they find this is not the case, students often shut themselves out and become uninvolved in student life. The best advice I can give you if college isn't exactly what you expected is to keep an open mind. Join clubs and activities you normally wouldn't have in high school. The people you meet when you open yourself up to new things could end up being your best friends for the next four years.
6. Seek help from advisors and counselors
If you feel you cannot handle adjusting to college on your own, or the things troubling you are too big to hold in any longer, contact faculty on your campus who can help you. Seeking help may seem weak or unnerving, but admitting you cannot handle everything yourself is actually a sign that you are becoming much more mature. Advisors and other professionals are there to help you make the most of your college experience, so use them to your advantage.
7. Remind yourself why you are here
You are putting yourself through four or more years of college for one reason: to get a degree in a field of study you are passionate about. There are thousands upon thousands of other students around the country going through the same difficulties and adjustment period that you are. Keep your goals and dreams in mind, and remember, you are not alone in these struggles you are facing.
8. Make a change, in due time
If after a given time, I suggest at least one semester, you are still unhappy with campus and academic life, don't be afraid to make a change. Transferring to a different campus, living space, or academic major is a common practice among college students who feel unhappy with their present situation. Do what you need to do to be happy and successful.