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Tips for the College Transition

By Jessica Ward

Nerves got the best of you? It’s bound to happen at some point during your first few weeks of college. For most, this is the first time students are on their own, so it’s perfectly natural that there are a few bumps during the transition period. Rest assured, it will pass, but here are some tips on getting you out of the woods faster and easier.

1. Set up a Zoom date with some hometown friends or family
One of the most common transition issues is homesickness. If you’re missing home, get the band back together virtually! Set the date for a week or two after you move in so that you’ll have something to look forward to (and plenty to discuss)! Talking to your strongest support system is sure to relieve some of your anxieties and remind you that you’re not alone!

2. Attend a few club meetings (even if you don’t fully plan on sticking around)
Trying new things, like clubs for example, is a great way to keep busy and get yourself out of a funk. The more clubs you try, the more likely you are to find something that sticks. For the first few weeks of classes, members know people will be filtering in and out of meetings to see what they like. It’s not weird to attend one meeting, decide it isn’t for you, then never show up again, so don’t let that stop you from leaving your comfort zone a little. If you already feel out of your element, ask your roommate what clubs they’re going to and tag along!

3. Take a walk around campus
This one has a lot of benefits. Fresh air and moving your body are good for your physical and mental health, but along with that, you’ll get more acquainted with the campus! If you make a point to wander around the greens, your new home won’t feel so overwhelming and you’re more likely to feel comfortable with your surroundings. You’ll be amazed how much less anxious you feel when you actually know where you’re going.

4. Utilize office hours
This is good advice throughout your college career, so get in the habit of utilizing your professor’s office hours now. You might be thinking, what will I go for in the first few weeks? I don’t need help with a huge project yet. And that’s a valid question. People go to office hours for all kinds of reasons, but in the first few weeks you can go to discuss the syllabus, readings, expectations, and just to introduce yourself one-on-one. Getting to know your professors will come in handy down the line, and will likely relieve you of any anxieties surrounding your classes.

5. Make time for yourself
If you find yourself a little too busy, prioritize your alone time. Whether you’re working out, watching an episode of your favorite show, or listening to music, really make an effort to add that time to your routine. We know you want to say “yes” to everything in the first few weeks, but you’ll burn out quickly doing that. A simple “not today, maybe next time” will give you the alone time you need while still demonstrating interest in whatever you were invited to.

6. Remember you’re in control!
You have FREEDOM now! While that may be a source of your stress right now, try to reframe the way you think about it— you are working towards your goals, making new friends, and learning new skills all on your own accord. That’s amazing! You can think about the serious stuff later. This is the time for you to enjoy your newfound freedom.

7. Seek mental health resources
Your campus has professionals available, use them! Talking about what’s weighing you down will never be a bad thing, and they’ll be able to give you strategies to combat and work through whatever you’re feeling. There’s no shame in getting a little extra help, and most counselors are 100% confidential.

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