High School ended. You packed up your stuff. You headed off to college for the first time. Or, maybe you changed colleges and are new to yet another college campus.   Your room is set up and classes have started.  You have made some friends and gone to some activities.  You have settled in. Half of the semester is over already. You might think your adjustment to college life is done.  But, making the transition to college life may take long than you think.  

There are two tasks involved in beginning college:

  • leaving familiar things, people and places
  • adapting to new things, people and places

Making life changes can affect each student differently.  All students need to know ways of coping with new situations. But, what makes these transitions so hard? In a familiar place, people generally feel accepted and secure.  Students are away from what is familiar to them, without their usual support, their methods of coping and working things out are challenged.  Failure looms large and self-esteem and confidence drops. Tasks, which would normally have been taken in one's stride, can suddenly seem quite a challenge, or even feel impossible. (Adapted from U of Cambridge Counseling Webpage;p:pcounseling)


Here is a list of some of the changes you may be dealing with:

  • Experimenting with new-found freedoms
  • Becoming familiar with campus
  • Homesickness and loneliness
  • Anxiety about classes, professors, roommates
  • Students ask themselves, “Do I fit in here?”
  • First assignments/test grades returned
  • Experiencing the consequences of decision-making
  • Roommate problems may arise
  • Soon will come your first midterm exams and grades

(Adapted from:  Helping your First-Year College Student Succeed, Richard Mullendore and Cathie M. Hatch, National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina, Columbia)

Take care of yourself

By developing a support system with students in your Hall, House, classes, Campus Ministries, Residence Life, Coworkers, faculty and other staff, Teammates and coaches Career, academic and personal counselors, you will have others to confide in and talk about your issues with.

Be more involved in your classes or join a group activity by keeping up on your assignments and having fun. 

Use coping strategies such as listening to music, deep breathing, going for a walk, talking to a friend or other self-nurturing activities.

So, don’t be too hard on yourself.  Adjustment doesn’t happen in a day or a week.  Give it time. Seek out others when you feel you cannot do it alone.  Remind yourself that it is okay to ask for help.  As your Personal Counselor on campus, I am available to assist you. Call 641-784-5463 or email me at ddw1@graceland.edu to make an appointment.