Overcoming the “Freshman Adjustment Struggle” and feeling better adjusted in college for the first time can be challenging, but there are several effective strategies that freshmen can employ to ease this transition:’
Learn to BE a College Student:
Go to the tutoring or writing center to understand what your college wants your work to be like.
Find ways to attend classes a few times weekly and manage your work.
Complete larger papers over time.
Sit with friends while you do your school work (makes it less lonely).
Find fun, creative ways to study – use colors, paper, pencil, whiteboards, tape yourself on voice memos, and play them back.
Build skills through the tough times.
Decide that you can find your way through this struggle and share how you did it to help others.
This won’t be the last time you experience a difficult time, so make it count and grow while experiencing the struggle.
Frame This Time as a Time of Becoming:
As a college freshman, you are becoming an adult.
You are in the process of becoming responsible, independent, and reliable in yourself and the community you have in college.
Set Realistic Expectations:
Understand that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed during the freshman year.
Transitions are hard. This transition is a major life adjustment. It also incorporates a new living situation, coming from being a child to a young adult. It’s also a personal adjustment because of leaving behind certain parts of you that might have been immature. Socially, it is an adjustment because of new ways of making friends.
Loneliness happens and is hard, too.
Feelings are normal. Have them all. I teach this to our kids: sit in a boat with your feelings. Hang with them. Feel them deeply then, when you are ready. Hop out of the boat. And let the boat sail down the river (at varying speeds). (And PS, sometimes that boat returns to you- and if it does, that’s okay!)
Get Involved in Campus Activities:
Join clubs, organizations, or sports teams that align with your interests.
Attend campus events, such as social gatherings, lectures, and workshops.
Establish a Routine:
Create a daily or weekly schedule that includes time for classes, studying, socializing, and self-care.
Incorporate movement and exercise – especially in a place with dark winters!
Seek Academic Support:
Utilize academic resources such as tutoring services, writing centers, and study groups to excel in your classes.
Feel free to contact professors or academic advisors if you need help with coursework.
Connect with Roommates and Hallmates:
Spend time off of your phone and engage in person.
Save names and contacts in your phone and invite new contacts to events and activities.
Explore Campus and Surrounding Area:
Familiarize yourself with your college campus and the nearby community.
Join a community project to give back.
Prioritize self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, and sufficient sleep.
Use Campus Resources:
Take advantage of counseling services, health centers, and career development offices.
Build a Support System:
Cultivate relationships with peers who share your experiences and challenges.
Communicate with Family and Friends:
Stay connected with your loved ones through phone calls, video chats, or visits.
Explore Interests and Passions:
Use your freshman year as an opportunity to explore new interests and passions.
Seek Professional Help When Needed:
If your adjustment struggles persist and significantly impact your well-being, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.
College counseling services or mental health professionals can provide valuable support and coping strategies.
Adjusting to college is a process, and facing challenges during freshman year is entirely normal. By implementing these strategies and seeking support when necessary, you can improve your overall well-being and develop a sense of belonging in your college community. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from peers, professors, or campus resources – a wealth of support is available to help you succeed.
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