How to Deal With Freshman Year Issues
1. Great Expectations: Expect to feel overwhelmed and know that you are not alone. You've been hearing about college for years and now you're here. College can be one of the best times of your life but it can also be one of the most difficult. New friends, new home, new classes, new routine... exciting and overwhelming at the same time. If you experience feelings of sadness and loneliness, don't worry-these feelings are normal and usually pass within the first few months of school. Get involved in campus activities, use social media to help stay connected with your friends and family back home, and form study groups.
2. Roommates: You may have never had to share such a small space with someone before-let alone a perfect stranger! Living with others can be challenging. Work through conflicts by regularly communicating with your roommate(s) and setting rules for the room or suite that everyone can agree on. You and your roommate don't have to be best friends; the important thing to remember is to respect one another.
3. Drinking: Drinking, for some students, is part of the college experience. If you're not interested in drinking, there are many other things you can do that don't involve alcohol like having a game night, going to a comedy club, seeing a movie or checking out a concert. First and foremost, make sure you are of the legal age to drink. If you decide to drink it is important to remember to be smart and stay safe. Never accept a drink from a stranger, know your limits, and stick with your friends.
4. Nutrition and Exercise: Eating healthy and staying active can be challenging, it can be hard to find motivation especially if you live with a mental health condition. You may notice changes in your body and that’s okay. But we know that a healthy body contributes to a healthy mind so establishing good habits is key. Find out if your school has workshops on healthy eating, access to a nutritionist or try and find community with recreational or club sports and group fitness classes.
5. Sleep: Sleep is vital! If you don't get enough sleep, it can affect your class work and grades. You'll have to work harder to get through assignments and have less energy to enjoy time with friends. Recharge your body by cutting down on the caffeinated beverages and getting at least eight to nine hours of sleep each night.
6. Money: Everyone knows that the average college student is on a tight budget. Fortunately, many restaurants, movie theaters, and museums offer student discounts. Be creative-it is possible to have fun without spending a lot of money! If tuition is a problem, visit your campus career center for help. Be careful with credit cards-it is very easy to get into debt, so spend wisely and avoid impulse purchases.
7. Homesickness: Freshmen struggle with homesickness whether half an hour away from home or at a campus across the country. Keep in touch with your family and old friends, but be sure to be a part of the campus community and make new friends at school. As time passes and the campus feels more comfortable, your homesickness will lessen.
8. Sex and Sexuality: If you are sexually active, remember to stay safe. Go to your health center to get more information on safer sex practices. Even if you trust your partner, you may not know his or her entire sexual history. If you have questions about your sexuality, talk to a campus counselor or a trusted family member or friend.
9. Schoolwork: Remember why you are here in the first place? Set aside a certain time each day devoted to studying. Studying with other classmates can help you meet people and get better grades. Set realistic goals for yourself. If you feel stressed out, take a break, stretch, exercise, or call a friend. Avoid pulling all-nighters. It can interfere with the quality of your work as well as your mood and attentiveness in other classes.
10. Organization: At home you have your parents, teachers and coaches to provide you with structure, schedules and timelines for completing homework assignments. College professors may give you all of your assignments for the semester on the first day of class! There is an expectation that you will manage your time, resources and workload effectively.
In crisis? If you or someone you know is in crisis now, seek help immediately. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center or dial 911 for immediate assistance.