October 11th, 2010 Jamie
1. If You Need Help, It’s Probably Available. Mom and Dad may not be just down the hall anymore, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get help when you need it. Most campuses have set up great support systems for their students.
Trouble with academics? Talk to an academic adviser, look in to free tutoring (offered on many campuses), or stop by your professor’s office hours. Feeling sick, homesick, or overwhelmed? Head to the campus medical clinic and ask about seeing a doctor or counselor. Many schools have support groups for students in all different types of situations, too. Can’t figure out the laundry thing, or want a recommendation for a fun off-campus excursion? Talk to your resident advisor (RA)!
2. Watch Your Wallet. It’s easy to get swept up in the swirl of social events and the freedom of managing your own cash, but don’t get spendy too quickly! According to an article at our sister blog, the Pay for College Blog, the average college student has over $3,000 in credit card debt–and that is on top of the debt you may already be racking up in student loan debts.
But don’t worry–you can definitely take control of your cash flow. Learn more about managing your finances and learning to budget here, and consider whether you should get a job during the school year.
3. Plan Your Time. One of the trickiest parts of adjusting to college is discovering how different it is from high school. Your class schedule can be different every day of the week, your professors probably aren’t taking role in every class, and you might even find yourself with huge hour blocks with nothing scheduled–or even entire class-free days. Building yourself a schedule can help you make time for a job, social life, study time, and all those to-do list items in between.
While you’re at it, learn how to create an easy semester study calendar so you don’t get (too) behind in class.
4. Get Involved. If this is your first time away from your family, friends, and everything familiar, homesickness is bound to strike at some point. Getting involved in your college community can help you beat homesickness, make new friends, and (bonus) give you something new to add to your resume. Talk to your RA to find out what kinds of clubs, religious groups, service organizations, and other activities you can get involved with on or near campus, and give a few of them a shot.
And remember–be active when it comes to meeting new people. Even the simple act of leaving your door open when you’re in your room can help you get to know the other students on your floor.
5. Have a Little Faith. Maybe it sounds cheesy, but have a little faith in yourself. College is a big, exciting, and often overwhelming experience, so give yourself time to adjust. The campus may seem huge, but you will learn your way around. The same applies for new roommates, classes, and friendships: give yourself time to learn and adjust, and be patient! All your freshman peers are feeling the pressure, too.