University life is undeniably exciting, but it can also be overwhelming -- particularly for freshmen struggling to get used to being on their own in a completely new environment. Luckily, there are some things new college students can do to adjust and acclimate. Read on for a roundup of six tips aimed at helping freshman get over the initial “culture shock” and start embracing the experience.
1. Accept that your feelings are normal.
The transition to college life is a big one -- maybe one of the biggest you’ll make in your life. Why wouldn’t you expect to undergo a period of adjustment? After all, as much as you read up on and talk to others about college life, there’s no certain way to anticipate what life will be like as a college student until you’re already living i
The good news? You’re far from alone. The vast majority of college freshmen feel exactly like you do. The better news? Talk to any sophomore and they’ll tell you that these feelings pass with time. Give it a chance (and some time) and college life will start to feel like “home.”
2. Prioritize time management.
Many high school students aren’t responsible for their own schedules. That’s what Mom and Dad are for, right? Because of this, the transition to independent living can be a rocky one for students who don’t learn to manage their time.
One of the simplest ways to take control of your schedule and minimize stress while you’re at it? Use a planner. Whether you stick with an old-fashioned paper planner or use one of the latest smartphone apps, a planner can help you wrangle all of your classes, assignments and commitments into one central reference point.
3. Find your tribe.
Missing friends and family back home is a rite of passage for college students. But so is making new friends and “family.” The more you put yourself out there, the less lonely you’ll feel and the sooner you’ll find your “tribe.”
Attend new student events, join clubs, and reach out to people in your classes. All of these acts can help you potentially turn acquaintances into lifelong friends, AKA a whole new set of people to miss when you go home on breaks.
4. Stay connected with home.
You may be familiar with the old campfire ditty, “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” The takeaway? Just because you’re making new friends doesn’t mean there’s no room in your life for the old ones.
In fact, keeping up with your support network at home can help you miss them less, whereas going cold turkey can exacerbate separation anxiety. There is a balance to this, however. Setting a time daily (at first) or weekly to Skype or text can help you feel connected to both worlds.
In addition to pining for familiar faces from home, you may also pine for familiar places Bringing along a few comfort objects -- a favorite blanket or cherished photo -- can also help keep feelings of homesickness at bay.
5. Seek out a study spot.
Maybe you work best in the library late at night. Or maybe you find the hustle and bustle of the local coffee shop during the busy morning hours to be an invigorating setting for studying. Whatever your personal preferences, finding a study spot where you concentrate best can be an important factor in achieving academic success.
Remember: different things work for different people. The sooner you identify what works best for you, the sooner you’ll start making the most of your time.
6. Share your feelings.
Homesickness is a universal issue, and yet it can be hard to talk about -- particularly if everyone around you looks like they’re having an amazing time.
But the reality is that looks can be deceiving, and many people are feeling the same way you are. The only way to know? Reach out and speak up. Sharing your feelings with a new or old friend can help you feel less isolated. Additionally, many universities offer programs and support groups for freshman and transfer students; these are perfect forums for talking about how you feel. An added benefit? Camaraderie can be found in commiseration.
If feelings of homesickness, loneliness, or anxiety persist despite your best efforts to get over them, talking with a professional counselor can also help.
We can pretty much promise you that your college years will be among the best years of your life. But we can also say this doesn’t happen instantly (or without the occasional stumbling point) for most new university students. These six tips can help you overcome the negatives and embrace the positives toward a fulfilling college experience.