Life Cycles Counseling with Dr. Adina Silvestri

The Challenges of Being a Freshman

The challenges of being a freshman

The Challenges of Being a Freshman

Peer pressure, stress, anxiety, and homesickness are some of the challenges that freshmen face in their new life in college. Stepping foot in a new school is definitely one for the books for many teens. Teenagers think that by being in college and away from home, they can be free to do whatever they want. But, with these actions come great responsibility and maturity. Facing a new stage in life alone and away from family can cause a number of problems. What are the effects to the teens and how can they cope?

Peer pressure reflection

Homesickness

The first thing a freshman will feel once the school year starts is homesickness. Most freshmen students leave home to study at their dream college far away. Change in the living environment causes homesickness. According to NBC News, “Homesickness, at its core, is about a lack of security and familiarity.” Students become overwhelmed by all the changes they undergo when they start school and at one point, they will miss the comfort of their home. When a student experiences this, other difficulties may arise and can even contribute to stress, anxiety, and anger.

Establishing a familiarity with the new living environment can help a student can manage homesickness. Never stay isolated. And it is important to make new friends, establish new relationships, and make connections with new people. The student should welcome the changes like walking around campus and getting familiar with it instead of staying in the room. Another way is to stay active in school activities and get busy. This will help in keep the mind off the notion of homesickness.

 

Stress

Taking on greater things in life can be more challenging. This is how most college students feel once they start with the school year. Students also have to deal with stress apart from homesickness. The 2015 National College Health Assessment says that around 30% of students stated that their academic performance was affected by stress, and more than 85% of students felt overwhelmed with school-related work. So, what are the stress-inducing factors in being a freshman? Freshmen students get overwhelmed by the amount of workload they have, according to USA Today. They feel that there are just so many things to do. Building new relationships with peers is another thing that bothers freshmen. To add to those, they even worry about college debts and how to pay it back after graduation.

Dealing with so much stress can lead to eating disorders and even anxiety problems. To cope with stress and have a stress-free freshman year, here are things to keep in mind:

  1. Keep your tasks organized. Having so much in hand can be very confusing so keep your schedules and deadlines noted. This can help you manage your time in studying until you get used to the workload of college.
  2. Don’t worry and expect too much. Many students can get frustrated and stressed over small things not related to academics like not being able to get into a club or organization. Although those organizations can help foster your self-worth and provide new experiences, there are plenty of options for joining clubs in and out of school.
  3. Keep a balanced diet. It is important to eat healthy food to keep your mind and body alert so that you will still be able to deal with stress proactively. Eating junk can make you feel sluggish and will not help in dealing with stress.
  4. Take a break when you feel like you are stressed out. Having time to pause can restart yourself and keep your mind composed.

 

Anxiety

In line with stress, freshmen students may face anxiety as well. Facing so many new things can give one a sense of anxiety. Freshmen who live away from home for the first time and manage all their activities by themselves will be challenged; it is like practicing being an adult at a very young age. This includes having to think about what food to eat, how to budget money and others that are not related to school work. This causes the anxiety in these young teens. It seems as if anxiety cannot be avoided because of the amount of workload they have in school plus real-life worries.

According to Boston Today, to deal with this is to not be anxious about being anxious. Keeping yourself busy with things that make you feel good and happy can lessen anxiety problems. Get yourself engaged in clubs and organizations that you will enjoy. The overwhelming feeling of being a freshman is normal and it may take some time to adjust and get used to it. Always have time for relaxation to avoid being anxious.

 

Peer Pressure

Freshmen face so many pressures once they enter college and, being young and newbies, they can be very vulnerable to peer pressure. Social acceptance in college matters so much that they give in to peer pressure. They join parties to drink alcohol and t0 even try drugs. Occasionally, these can lead to alcohol and substance abuse which has negative and lasting effects.

However, according to Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, it is easy to combat peer pressure. There are ways to enjoy and make the most out of your college years without giving in to peer pressure. The community is much larger in college so you have more choices on who to hang out with. It is important to find and make connections with people who have the same values as you, especially regarding self-control. Another thing to keep in mind is to not worry about saying no to peer pressure and being firm about it. Most people that give in are those that cannot say no.

On the other hand, if you gave in and find yourself struggling with peer pressure, alcohol addiction, and substance abuse, it is best to find online addiction counseling classes or a substance abuse counselor to help you.

 

You can make the most out of your college experience by overcoming the challenges of being a freshman. Hey, we’ve all been there! By following the tips above, you will be one step closer to a successful first year of college. Remember, if you feel like you cannot handle it on your own anymore, seek professional help and look for counseling services that can assist you in your troubles.

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/freshman-year/freshman-homesickness-what-you-can-do-combat-common-malady-n450266
  2. http://www.acha-ncha.org/docs/NCHA-II_WEB_SPRING_2015_REFERENCE_GROUP_EXECUTIVE_SUMMARY.pdf
  3. http://college.usatoday.com/2015/10/29/college-student-stress/
  4. http://www.bu.edu/today/2015/managing-stress-anxiety-depression/
  5. https://responsibility.org/blog/bloghow-to-reach-college-freshman-coping-with-peer-pressure-related-to-alcohol/

 

Image sources:

  1. https://pixabay.com/en/library-people-study-desk-studying-2245807/
  2. https://pixabay.com/en/worried-girl-woman-waiting-sitting-413690/

 

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