You have finished high school, summer is quickly coming to an end, and you feel anxious. Not only are you making your own decisions about what happens next, but your friendships are changing as people drift apart. Change is inevitable, but starting this new chapter right away can be difficult.
If you’re going to college, you’re in for a lot of exciting new changes and challenges. Have no fear-we’re here to remind you that no matter what route you take, everything will be fine.
Here are three common challenges you may face when applying to college, and how to take care of yourself in the process.
1. Academic expectations and learning environments vary greatly
College classes vary in size, type, time, and frequency. Rather than having someone tell you your schedule, it is now up to you to decide what you want to learn and when you want to learn it. You’ll likely find that you have more free time in classes and more autonomy with tasks than you’re used to. It’s up to you to plan your schedule, attend classes, buy term papers online, and study and learn.
How to manage
Your time is valuable – learn how to use it productively
If you struggle with time management, it’s time to rethink your efforts. There are many resources available to help you organize your to-do lists and stay on top of deadlines.
You have plenty of resources – take advantage of them
College coursework can be a challenge, especially if it’s a difficult subject that you’re not familiar with. If you’re having trouble reading, have questions about what you’re studying, or need guidance on how best to do your assignments, ask your professors and teaching assistants for help. This is the reason professors have office hours to support students on an individual basis. You can also find any legal essay writing service and ask for paper help if you don’t have enough time.
Incorporate relaxation and self-care into your daily life
Sure, studying is an important part of college, but your mental health and physical well-being should always remain a top priority when striving for academic success. Physically scheduling time for self-care in your life can make a huge difference. By dedicating yourself to this time, you make it your priority from the beginning.
How can you practice self-care and relaxation? While they may look different for each person, here are a few ideas you can start with:
- Download a meditation app.
- Read a book for pleasure
- Take a yoga class.
- Take a leisurely walk
- Write in a journal
2. You have a new bed, a new roommate, and a temporary new home
Depending on where you go to college, you may find yourself in a new city on your own, with new surroundings. It could be a dorm room or an apartment with 1 to 6+ people, and a new way to get/prepare food and clean up after yourself. If this is your first time sharing space with someone (especially when it’s a stranger), it can be quite a learning curve.
How to manage
Make your new space your own and figure out what “home” you feel like
You will (potentially) spend a lot of time in your room, whether it’s studying, sleeping, or hanging out with friends. Creating a comfortable physical space can play a huge role in our overall well-being.
Practice setting boundaries with your new roommates
Talk to your new roommate in advance to get to know each other better and discuss your life expectations. Ask about cleaning habits, pet annoyances, and their activities and hobbies. Getting off to the right start by talking about shared responsibilities and ways to compromise can help avoid problems in the future. During these early conversations, it’s important to know what your own life needs are so you can communicate them to your new roommate and work together to create shared boundaries for your new living situation.
3. Establishing new relationships and maintaining old ones takes extra effort
College is often portrayed in movies as an idyllic place where it’s easy to make friends, finding what works for you is easy, and managing life is easy. For most people, the road to getting there is a little thorny. Making new friendships, maintaining old ones, and finding your place in this new space can be difficult, and that’s okay. It’s really necessary to improve your social life in college.
How to manage
Seek out and join clubs
One way to make friends is to get involved in clubs and organizations that resonate with you and your field. Making friends is scary, but if you look for activities you enjoy and meet people who enjoy doing what you do, that can be half the battle. Most schools have a list of clubs and activities somewhere on their websites, though sometimes it’s broken down by department.
Use social media wisely
Social media is the perfect way to keep in touch with friends, but if you’re constantly looking at someone’s Instagram story to see what they’re doing, you won’t be able to enjoy what’s going on in the moment. It can also lead to jealousy or serious rejection. Be intentional about your social media and use it to connect with your friends, leaving comments on their posts and letting them know what you think of them.
When you get caught up in the maelstrom of social media, remember that posts are a carefully chosen version of someone’s life and don’t always tell the whole story. Plan breaks from social media and even delete apps for a while if you can, to enjoy life where you are.
What to do if you’re still struggling
Despite all the changes to come, sometimes small adjustments don’t make you feel better. If you feel out of place and don’t know what to do, talk to someone.
It’s perfectly normal to feel lonely, maybe even depressed when you go back to school, but you don’t need to sit in those feelings for too long. To ease the stress on your way to college, check out the resources your campus has to offer and use them.
Most campuses have on-site counseling support for those days when you need to talk to someone and figure out what’s bothering you. A quick Internet search can help you find out what services are available to students on your campus.