We hope that our tips will help some first-year students with their adaptation to college. We will explain the main points that are different from what you had to deal with before. This will help students to adapt to student life. No longer living with your parents is a great change in everybody’s life. More than 80% of college students leave their parents’ house for the first time. This freedom confronts them with responsibilities they did not expect.
Problems You May Face
For instance, as early as in the beginning of the academic year, there is a question of food: how to motivate yourself to cook when you live alone? How to have a balanced diet while respecting a tight budget? If you are going to rent a room, you should arrange to install electricity or telephone. There are some administrative tasks which some students are completely unaware of. Then, they also have to learn financial autonomy: how to manage their budget over a full month while being financially dependent on parents? There can be studying problems – for example, how to write a specific type of essay properly?
Living on Your Own Changes Life
Studying in college differs greatly from studying in high school. How to resist all temptations, like your computer and bed, and still have the motivation to study? How to manage cleaning the house, cooking and doing laundry while studying regularly and successfully? How to combine education, work and entertainment? These are the subjects we are going to talk about. We realize that some students also have problems with motivation: they wonder how to motivate themselves to get up in the morning and go to bed at night, how to go to college and write essays. Or, alternatively – how to feel good when they find themselves alone, at night or on weekends.
Why Do People Find It Difficult to Adapt?
Quite often, your college will be far away from the family house. And it is not only the parents who are away, but also the home city and friends from high school or even childhood friends. It means being away from the environment that has been supporting them for many years. Leaving the parents’ home is very exciting, but it can also cause concern and anxiety. At the beginning of the year, you definitely have a big amount of work you will have to do to reach the level required in all the subjects. And even though it may seem as if it is not the most important thing in your life as a teenager, you have to understand one thing: when you move to another city and enter new environment, the question you ask yourself is how you are going to make friends. Classes are important, but before the first exams, it is really secondary.
Why Is Being Supported by Friends Important?
During high school, you knew other students for several years. There are not so many people, so you could get to know them in the first weeks. At college or university, students take many classes in big rooms, sometimes with up to one hundred of people, and classes are rarely held with the same group. Also, there are new types of essays to write. This generates a sense of anonymity that puts many students in a difficult situation: how to communicate with others? How to keep your friendships and relationships which were formed during high school while finding the time to create new ones? Finding a group of friends with whom you can feel comfortable should remain your priority. There are going to be many changes related to the course contents, assignments, writing essays, new demands of teachers and the difficulties of everyday life that you will have to overcome, so the support of a peer group is essential to surviving through it all.
A Large Number of Students Still Suffer from Loneliness
There can be different issues, for instance, a student recently told me that she regularly forgets to eat at home. The stress from exams sometimes leads to lesser involvement in her school work. She does not pay any attention to the time that passes, which is usually observed among those students, who start their revision of notes just a few days before the test. But it is often the difficulty of managing loneliness that leads many students to retreat as much as possible when they return home. Usually, while in their parents’ house, they shared the meals with other members of their families. And now, what is the point of spending time preparing a meal that they will have to eat alone, in front of the TV or the computer? The abovementioned student found an ingenious trick to solve her problem: twice a week, she agreed with her neighbor to share a common meal. Once it was he who cooked for them both, and it was her turn the next evening.
Bad Example of Being a Student
Many teachers and parents believe that the time students spend «going out and having fun» is a sign of their lack of maturity, and it is harmful to their studies. This analysis is only half-true. Going out every night offers immediate pleasure, but most students are keen to succeed in their studies. What is the value of «celebrating permanently» if it is the price of a possible failure at the end of the year in college and failing the essay deadlines? Students who find themselves involved in everyday parties and alcohol, who no longer manage their sleep and fail to regulate their pace of life, are mostly those who face difficulties in other ways or other areas: difficulty in understanding, difficulties in managing significant stress due to exam pressure or lack of self-confidence even after several months of adaptation. Some may also be demotivated because the content of the lessons does not correspond to what they previously imagined, which leads them to progressively question their professional orientation in life.
Looking for Accommodation
There are different options for accommodation: every student chooses the one that suits him the best according to his or her needs and personality. Living with the family (with uncles or aunts, grandparents) allows, if possible, to make an adaptation period easier and to get used to the student life step by step before losing motivation. Student dormitories can also be a good compromise. You will be staying in a single room while still being surrounded by students who have to study and who are committed to finding their own path. If necessary, there is no need to go far to find help. On the other hand, even though some dormitories are very calm, many others are the place for constant student parties. If you like working alone and your concentration is dependent on your environment, a dorm may not be suitable for you. Still, there will always be some time to work in the library.
Renting an Apartment with a Roommate or Alone
You can still choose a roommate and rent an apartment with them. However, it is essential to find the roommate with a similar lifestyle to avoid further arguments. At that time, you do not know how to work together on a daily basis, but with time, a lot of experiences will present themselves: sharing tasks, organizing meals, tolerate noise, have common space, etc. Finally, some students are very comfortable with renting an apartment alone. They like to organize themselves and enjoy the fact that they have no responsibilities and duties concerning their schedule of getting up and going to sleep, the meal menu, the housekeeping or the curfew time that they have to share with anyone else. Nevertheless, living with someone may introduce some constraints, but it also offers security. Moreover, you also can discuss anything together, for example, your essay topic. In any case, you can change your accommodation at any time.
Where Can You Get Support?
What can you do if you feel overwhelmed or face difficulties and feel pressure from essay deadlines? It is really vital to know how to identify your problems when you face them so you can ask for help properly. Your family should be the first people you can turn to, such as parents and other relatives (grandparents, uncles, aunts, siblings). But you should not forget about your friends and students who have more experience than you. However, some specific problems are difficult to solve with those who know us too well. Many students are also afraid to try, and sometimes lock themselves into a position that isolates them. You should know that professionals are always there to help you find the resources that will be useful to you. These people will support you depending on the difficulties you face. In special places, you will be able to meet doctors, social workers, psychologists, guidance counselors or nurses who will be able to accompany you and give you a free orientation course.