Welcome to Your College Career
Stephanie wasn’t afraid to choose her schoolwork over partying. “I was pretty serious about academics, particularly my freshman year, so I didn't party too much—especially since I didn't drink,” she says. “I found the atmosphere on my floor to be one of a lot of drinking, but everyone respected my decision and people were actually supportive.”
Woe Is Me!
Many students experience some rough spots when starting college. Some students feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work they receive during the first month. “There are feelings of inadequacy, where students come to realize that, unlike high school, most other students in their classes are pretty smart,” Nist-Olejnik says. “Many feel overwhelmed, because they haven’t had to manage their own lives to any great extent.”
Part of overcoming these insecurities comes with believing that you belong at your college. “You got into this school. You met the guidelines. You have to believe you belong there. Be confident in yourself and your abilities,” says Rich.
Another common emotion during the first month at school is homesickness. “I think the sadness of being away from home—and more importantly, your friends—tends to be the overwhelming emotion. Many students are sad to be away from friends and afraid to meet new people,” Flynn says.
“It took awhile for me to like living on campus,” says Stephanie. “I soon found my floor mates to be my family away from home.”
To combat homesickness, experts suggest staying busy. “From day one, get involved. Do whatever you can to meet people and become part of the campus life,” Rich says.