College life is very exciting, and a very big change from living at home with your parents while going to high school. With a great amount of freedom, crazy schedules, parties, and more difficult classes, the transition can be very difficult for some, if not all.
However, this is a very special time of life, and it should be enjoyed and treasured. Feelings of being discouraged, overwhelmed, or even homesick can ruin an experience pretty quickly.
Believe it or not, college student stress levels have been rising steadily since 1985. Thirty percent of college freshman report feeling overwhelmed-this statistic is saddening.
There has been a forty percent increase in the number of students who seek some form of mental health counseling the first year of college. While it is good they are getting help, it is sad that this many feel that they need it.
Many students have high expectations of college before they make it to the dorm room. These expectations are often influenced by movies and television, or preconceived notions-movies tend to glamorize university life, and often give unrealistic expectations.
The chances of your experience meeting these expectations are very unlikely. After all, real life does not work like TV or the movies, unfortunately.
For this reason, your experience can sometimes feel like a disappointment. However, you should not become discouraged.
Not every student immediately adjusts during the first few weeks or even the first semester. As with any form of change, it takes time.
If you find it is difficult to adjust, you will need to give yourself some time, and keep listening to your heart and your mind-know your limitations. For many students, going away to school means more freedom.
Along with this newfound freedom, responsibility follows. Being responsible involves being able to manage your time, which may seem easy in theory.
However, you may not be used to the amount of work that college professors expect. You also may not realize how hard it is to govern yourself, when there are always friends trying to tempt you away from your responsibilities.
There are also extracurricular activities to consider. If you take on too much, you may find yourself struggling to balance your commitment to school and your commitment to clubs or other organizations you join.
Using a planner to help you stay organized is a very good idea. You may also try to make time for your coursework ahead of time, so you can determine what extracurricular activities you will have time for.
When you first move away from home, you are going to be in a new place, handling new situations. You may be living with a roommate you have never met before.
You may be introduced to different types of people who you may not have associated with during high school. When dealing with these types of situations, you need to keep an open mind.
Being open-minded may help you connect with different people and help you deal with situations better. After all, you may be forced to associate with people who you normally would not like to be around, voluntarily.
After all, this experience is not just about learning facts and theories from textbooks. A large part of college involves learning how to be an adult, and how to take care of yourself.
You may learn different things about other people or even about yourself, which may help you shape what type of an adult you become. Remember being open minded does not mean you have to change or excuse your beliefs and feelings.
It involves being respectful and understanding of others. Do not forget, it is natural to feel homesick.
Do not be too pessimistic. Yes, your dorm may be nothing like home.
You may not have friends from your high school. Your family may not be nearby.
You may not have your favorite pet with you. Your favorite restaurant may not be a few streets away.
All these things may be true, but being away at school may also provide you with the opportunity to experience new things. Remember, if things get too bad, home is only a phone call or a text away.
Talk to your family about your concerns, and begin to prepare right away. You can have an amazing experience if choose to adjust comfortably, and calmly.
Tommy Greene has worked in the medical industry for years and recommends (http://www.mdc.edu) for Physician Assistant Programs in Florida.