Adjusting to College Life

Starting college is an exciting time for many students as they enter a new phase in their life offering opportunity to face challenges and grow as an individual.  While it is an exciting time, like most new experiences, there is a period of adjustment.  During this period students may experience feeling homesick, or find it difficult to make friends and feel lonely. They may find academics more challenging than in high school and feel overwhelmed by this. They may be uncertain how to manage their new freedom while managing new responsibilities on their own. While these experiences may prove challenging, there are ways to help make adjusting to college easier.

  • Utilize the support system you currently have. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family regarding your experiences. Keeping your experiences to yourself can cause even more challenges.
  • Explore opportunity to build your support system on campus. Look into different clubs you can join. Go to events for an opportunity to connect to others. Speak to fellow classmates.  Remember, relationships take time to build and will not occur without nurturing them.
  • Manage expectations. Sometimes we tend to romanticize what we expect an experience to be like. Keeping expectations in check can be helpful.
  • Balance freedom and responsibility. Create structure for yourself. Make sure you are allowing time to study and complete homework. Also make sure you are allowing time to socialize and meet people.  Both are important to a fulfilling college experience.
  • Build relationships with your professors. Reach out to them if you are struggling academically.
  • Become aware of supportive services on Campus, such as the Holman Success Center and Counseling and Psychological Services, to name a few.
  • Normalize your emotions. It is not “bad” to feel sad/scared/uncertain sometimes being away from home. This is a normal experience as you transition into adulthood.  Feelings come and go. 
  • Make your space on campus a place you feel comfortable. Take time to decorate your dorm room. Get to know your roommate. Work through concerns with your roommate through compromise and problem solving.  Ask your RA for help if needed.
  • Make sure you are taking care of yourself. Getting enough rest, exercise and nutrition are all important. Practice healthy coping strategies

Resources