A Love Letter to College Bound Seniors in Spring: How to Adjust to your First Year of College
Getting into your dream school is an exciting achievement, but once the thrill of acceptance fades, graduation happens, and summer is over, there’s the reality of settling into your new space.
No matter how many visits you’ve taken to campus or how excited or nervous you are to leave home, there will be normal adjustments to college. In fact, you can rest easy knowing colleges around the country have studied and prepared for your future problems.
You will be receiving a lot of advice. Some of it you shouldn’t take. But the following are tips gathered from college students and universities to help ease your transition into the first year at college.
Five Reminders for Well-Adjusted College Students
#5 Managing Stress. College should challenge you. In fact, if you fought hard for your acceptance you may experience a gap in the expectations of high school and college. Additionally, if you have a career plan that includes graduate school, you may be diving right into a first year that could extend for five, six, or even eight more years of formal education. If at all possible, I recommend taking less credits your first term. Sure, you could technically handle eighteen credits but why not try fifteen or even twelve? Those other three credits could be added later as a summer course or as a heavier semester as an upper classman. I know one very smart, high-achieving freshman who’s been taking 18-credits since his first quarter of college. There’s still three months left of his first year and guess who’s feeling burned out?
Like #4’s tips on freedom, make sure you are sleeping and eating regularly. Scientists at the University of Töbingen in Germany have discovered that sleep allows us to process and encode recent learning, so sacrificing sleep for more social time or even studying all night does not benefit you. And as your brain becomes undernourished from sleep, you’ll become edgier and more stressed out.
There are certainly other transition issues that colleges address every year. Your school will have a page on their website called “college adjustment” or something similar to The University of Santa Cruz’s page devoted to helping college students.