When you move away from home for the first time it can be a bit scary. You’ll be met by new challenges and stresses at every turn. Here are some tips to make the transition a little easier.
The Freshman Myth
The Freshman Myth is a mindset of expectations many freshmen have. It is typically an overconfidence of abilities, and an unrealistic idea of what college life should be — both academically and socially. An estimated 34 percent of freshmen dropped out in their first year of college in 2008. Most students, and even parents, tell themselves they, or their kids won’t be part of this statistic, but the Freshman Myth can be true for anyone. Avoid it with these steps:
Set Academic Goals: This is more than just good grades. What standards do you have for yourself? Don’t only consider your professor’s standards, but your own as well.
Family Relationships: Visit, or at least Skype, with your family and hometown friends often. When you’re at college, the relationships you have with those back home will change. You can decide how they change by how connected with them you stay.
Be Realistic: If your college grades are not as prestigious as your high school ones, how will you deal with this and improve? Will you study harder on your own, or find a study group or tutor who can help you?
Discipline: Discipline yourself when it comes to academic/social life. This can be the most difficult task for new college students, but you can succeed both academically and socially if you have a scheduled amount of hours you spend in both parts of your life.
Stress: College students stress out. All of them. Before you move, list five reasons you think you might get stressed while at college. And identify outlets to deal with this. Outlets might include writing, creative projects or exercise. When you find yourself stressed, look back on your list for perspective and ways to manage the stress.
The New Place
If you move away from home for the first time, you may be faced with a town that doesn’t have the amenities you took for granted. If you’ve grown up in a city, for instance, and never owned a car, it might be time you get behind the wheel. College towns usually have decent public transportation, but if frequent family visits are important, then it’s time you buy a car. First, get a driver’s license if you don’t have one already. Take some practice tests online before you take the real written exam.
This is as easy as breathing for some people and as hard as cutting stone for others. If you don’t make friends easily, college provides you the opportunity and activities to do so. You can join an intramural, club sports team, an academic club, or school organization, like the student government. You can volunteer in a department, or even get a part-time job on campus. Of course, parties will take place, so make sure you go every so often. While too many parties can ruin your college career, the occasional college house party will allow you to meet people and socialize.