-Mayah Taylor, MA
You are about to start your first year in college. You may be wondering: What is the best way to prepare, and what can I expect? Transitioning from high school to college is a big step for any young adult. There’s an increase in responsibility and independence that accompanies this major change. Making this transition affects each individual differently. For some, the transition can be smooth and for others it can be quite challenging. You may be slightly worried at leaving your parents home and meeting a bunch of new people. But hey, so is everyone else!
1. It Takes Time to Adjust to New Surroundings. The college journey can often include moving into a new space with possibly strange and unfamiliar surroundings. Understand that it may take some time to feel comfortable in your new setting and for it to feel like home. Allow yourself time for this adjustment and don’t try to rush it. It is very normal to feel like a fish out of water when you make the transition to college. Fortunately there are also ways to help ease the process of adjustment.
2. How to Prevent Loneliness. A helpful way to prevent loneliness during your first year is to leave your door open in your dorm room. This can allow others to stop by and chat. Opening yourself up to make connections is important to guard against loneliness and even homesickness taking over. Another helpful tip is to try to get involved in extracurricular activities and school events. This can include campus movie nights, sports, volunteer activities, performances, musicals, etc. Try to challenge yourself to attend an event monthly. Explore activities that you wouldn’t normally participate in and see what interests you.
3. Know the Resources Your College Offers. Before you attend college make sure that you inquire and are knowledgeable of all the resources your school offers. Resources such as your school’s counseling center, career center, writing center, and tutors to name a few are all helpful resources colleges offer. If you are not sure what resources you have available to you ask your campus advisor or contact your school’s academic or student life departments to get more information. You want to be sure that you utilize any resources your school offers to make your first year and following years as successful as possible.
4. Develop and Maintain Good Self-Care Habits. Taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally is important. College can be very stressful at times and it’s important that you are at your best. Practicing self care is the most efficient way to be able to cope with the stress that you may be faced with in college. Self care includes getting a good night’s sleep, maintaining a healthy and balance diet, exercising, and practicing good coping skills that help with stress such as yoga or meditation.
5. Know Your Support Systems. Having a solid support system can be crucial and impactful for a first year college student. Support systems can help the average college student struggling with anxiety, depression, loneliness, homesickness, and even stress. Your support system can include a professional counselor, tutor, friends, mentors, or someone else. The important thing is to make it a priority to build that support system. Additionally attending to your mental health is also important. Therapists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals can come in handy when you are struggling so much and may need professional services from mental health provider. If this is the case, do not hesitate to find a mental health professional to help you and reach out to them.
Surviving the freshman year in college is a challenge for all. Remember that making connections, utilizing all resources offered, taking care of your mental health, and building a solid support system are the ingredients to success in being able to survive your first year. These tips are also helpful for being successful in your daily life even outside of college. We hope that these tips can help the freshman preparing to start their journey, do so with success. If you have tips you would like to share with us about your first year, or maybe you just want to connect, please do so here! You can find us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter being us.