It’s a new adventure, but it can be scary too—landing on a college campus for the first time in your life! Here are some things to keep in mind as you transition to college so it won’t be so scary.
• You have wanted a change, but you may find once you’re on campus you have homesickness. It’s natural to be homesick, and it takes time to get familiar with new surroundings. Wanting to go home and enjoying being at home does not mean college away from home won’t work out for you.
• And calling home is okay, too. It doesn’t mean you can’t handle things on your own. It means you’re very smart to get advice from your parents, who have probably been through this all themselves.
• You will have different relationships with your professors than you did with your high school teachers at home. Sometimes the size of college classes makes it very hard for professors to know all their students. Also, professors don’t invest as much time in their students as high school teachers. They might only see a college student a few times over a 15 week period unlike high school teachers who see a student for nine months. Professors have no knowledge of you, and if you want to have a relationship with your professors you will have to take the initiative to introduce yourself by asking questions, talking to them after class, or visiting during office hours.
• The first person you are attracted to is not necessarily your life partner. Attaching yourself to one person with the romantic idea of a potential marriage partner may not pan out, and it’s better to join organizations and make a pile of friends. This goes for the boy or girl friend at home. Give yourself a chance to get to know people at college before cementing yourself to one relationship.
• Studying is important, especially now when you are paying for your education! But, spending all your time studying is not taking advantage of all the out-of-class experiences you might have at college. Try new hobbies, experience new things and develop interests, network with new types of people, get passionate about something like the college newspaper or intramural tennis or student government, and learn new skills beyond your academic talents.
• Grading at college is different than high school grading because there are different expectations. Be prepared not to get all As, especially at first. It takes time to find out what new expectations there are. Also, don’t get discouraged. Rather, ask class mates for help and visit your professor to get advice.
• Time management might be hard. Now you are balancing academics with out-of-class experiences, meeting new friends, spreading large projects and exams out so you are not cramming, getting enough sleep, and organizing yourself because you’re no longer at home. Take it slowly, budget your time, and plan on a calendar.
• Don’t forget roommates and dorm mates may become the best friends of your life. Why? Because you learn how to live together and share experiences without family influence. Make time for developing these relationships.
Things will change because of your new college experience…and you’ll change, too. That’s a good thing. But, change takes time so take that time to adapt to college. We hope thinking about the things listed above will let you know change does not happen overnight and without some ups and downs. And, you will get through it.