College not only poses a need for academic adjustment, but an adjustment to a new lifestyle. Juggling a new schedule and expectations that go along with it can take its toll on freshmen emotionally, physically, and academically. Many colleges are attuned to this transition and offer support to freshmen in a variety of ways.
Dorms have trained personnel called resident assistants or RA’s assigned to help students with everyday issues including roommate issues, school rules and guidelines, activities, and other school community issues. “Meltdowns” or emotional distress can occur due to grade pressure.
Mental health centers on campus offer counseling services from licensed psychologists and psychiatrists for counseling issues such as depression, eating disorders, anxiety, chemical dependency, and so on. If students need medical attention, the medical centers on campus can handle those requests. There are a variety of spiritual centers that can also offer support to students who want to continue involvement in their faith life, attending retreats, and community service opportunities. Career Centers are open to students interested in career exploration, internships, resume building, study abroad opportunities, and applications to graduate school. The following list includes a collection of suggestions made by upperclassmen for incoming freshmen.
- Moving-in day can be stressful. Don’t yell at your parents; they are trying to help you. Pack light!
- If your dorm does not have air conditioning, bring fans!
- Attend orientation activities; you will have plenty of times to do other activities later –establish a life on campus.
- Maintain contact with family and friends via email, texting, or phone calls. This will reduce his or her anxiety and fears. Check privacy settings on Facebook and watch what you post on your wall.
- Find a balance between keeping contact with the friends from home and new friends at college. Avoid “drama”, gossip, and confront issues before they get too big. A word on roommates – set rules you could agree on, communicate, be considerate, be flexible, and be respectful.
- Make a good first impression and remember names – think ahead to internship opportunities or who could write you a letter of recommendation in the future.
- Network with all types of people including your academic advisor, professors, RA, registrar, and bursar in business office.
- Study, study, study! Find a comfortable place to do your studying where you will not be disturbed – attend class and keep organized notes– take responsibility for your own learning. Join a study group.
- Avoid peer pressure; don’t worry about what others think about you. Stay safe, respect each other – you are responsible for your actions. Don’t do drugs or use alcohol illegally; they will ruin your future!
- Monitor spending— keep yourself on a budget—know the cost of your living, give yourself an allowance, organize receipts, be frugal, understand your debt load, avoid credit cards, and watch out for identity theft.
- Remember, ask for help! You don’t have to go it alone.