This page is a brief summary of some helpful things to consider as you transition into college. It is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to handling any of the issues involved. If you need additional assistance in any of these areas please contact Counseling Services at 740-368-3145.
Managing Your Schedule for the First Time
Making your own schedule and managing your own time for the first time can be very scary. Many students find very quickly that they don’t have the amount of time they expected once they factor in study time, classes, part-time jobs or athletics.
Here are some helpful tips for managing your schedule effectively:
- Make a schedule, which lists all the hours of the day, and write in all your activities.
- Prioritize the importance of each of your activities and plan your time accordingly.
- Make sure your schedule is realistic…no one is productive 24 hours a day. Schedule time for breaks and fun activities as well as work.
- Don’t fall behind on your work. The first couple of weeks of classes will provide numerous distractions and it will be easy to put your work off. Don’t make this mistake since it is often very difficult to catch up to catch up once you have fallen behind.
Using Effective Study Strategies
Many students struggle with utilizing effective study strategies. Some students have always found studying to be a difficult process. These students will need to work hard to perfect their study strategies in order to be successful. Other students may have breezed through grade school and high school but now have found themselves struggling in their first year of college. Many of these students were never challenged to learn appropriate study strategies since they were bright enough to learn material with very little effort. In college, however, these study skills became particularly important. Whichever category fits you, here are some helpful hints for studying success:
- Complete reading material before class meeting.
- Review prior classes notes before class meeting.
- Outline the reading material.
- Make up questions about the reading material and answer them.
- Look up any words or concepts that you are not familiar with and write definitions in your notes.
- Highlight important information.
- Develop flash cards that cover important information and concept and use them to study.
- Work in study groups and quiz each other.
Lack of Involvement or Over-Involvement on Campus
Many students find themselves feeling isolated in the first several weeks or months of the semester because they have not made connections here on campus. These feelings of isolation can result in withdrawal, depression and increased homesickness. The easiest way to make connections on campus is to get involved with campus organizations and activities. Becoming involved at school will definitely ease the transition to college even if you join only one group or organization. Pick a group, organization or activity, which interest you and get involved!
On the other side of the continuum, some students make the mistake of becoming too involved and find themselves unable to keep up with the many demands on their time and energy. These students often find themselves feeling stressed and overwhelmed. If you find that you are struggling to keep up with the demands on your time you may need to cut back on some of your activities and involvements. While it is important to have some fun activities, it can also be a problem to have too many.
Homesickness is a natural response to living away from home but for some students it can make the first months, or even the first year of college, a miserable experience. Managing homesickness can be difficult but there are some things that can help:
- Again, get involved in new places, things and activities. New connections can help you to manage some of the losses you are experiencing.
- Limit visits home to every third weekend or once a moth. Many students make the mistake of going home every weekend to manage their homesickness. While this may help initially, in the long run it is likely to lead to feeling increasingly isolated on campus and that will only intensify your need to return home.
- When you are on campus promise yourself that you will make the most of this opportunity to make new connections. Get out and do things!
Starting college is an extremely stressful time. Many students feel unprepared for the level of stress they experience and are often at a loss for how to handle it.
Learning to manage your stress is an essential skill for college success. Successful stress management is quite individual. What is relaxing to one individual may feel stressful and overwhelming to another. Find out what helps you to relax and build it into your daily schedule. Some suggestions are start a daily exercise routine and stick to it, practice deep breathing or guided progressive muscle relaxation exercises, hang out with friends, go to the movies, listen to music, read, etc. Remember, it is especially important to practice stress management during stressful or hectic times!
Many students experience difficulties with their roommates, which makes their first few weeks or months of school difficult. Roommate problems can be particularly stressful given that most people count on being able to relax in their own room. Here are some helpful strategies for managing any conflicts with your roommate(s):
- Talk to your roommate(s) about difficulties before they get out of hand. Communication is key to resolving conflicts that arise.
- Schedule a time to talk about difficulties, which is convenient to all of you.
- Do not discuss differences when you are already angry or upset. Pick a time when you can, calmly, address your concerns.
- Recognize that differences are a normal part of human relationships. Treat your roommate(s) with respect even if you don’t agree with them.