Starting college is an exhilarating endeavor that can be confusing and stressful to navigate at times. Being thrust in an unfamiliar environment with strangers, and having to be independent and responsible for yourself may seem daunting. However, college is also a time for you to discover and develop yourself. Here are some tips to help you settle in and make the most out of your time at college:
Spruce Up Your Room
If you are able to, arrange for your family or professional dorm movers to help you move to your new college dorm, as trying to move in by yourself can be a stressful process. Having a new room and living amongst strangers (for now) is going to feel incredibly foreign, and feelings of homesickness may arise. Feeling homesick is a normal response to being separated from your friends and family back home. Most freshmen feel homesick one way or another, and it may take some time for it to ebb.
Decorating your room can help you adjust more to the new place. Embellish your room with items or mementos that you have brought from home, such as photographs of your family and friends. Being surrounded by familiar items will help you feel more comfortable and settled in your new room. If you realize that you are missing some items from home, small moves can be arranged to move the rest of your belongings to college.
Explore the City
The city in which your college is located will be your home for the next few years. Spend some time exploring what the city has to offer in terms of activities, food, and culture. You can sign up for an orientation tour that is usually organized by the college or gather a couple of people from your dorm to explore the city together. Make a list of things to do to help you familiarize yourself with what your city has to offer – which cafe serves the best coffee, where are some student-friendly locations with wifi and charging stations for you to get some work done, and which city park is the perfect place to read a book? Make your city feel like home!
Talk to People from Different Backgrounds
Many people move across states to go to the college of their dreams. College thus presents the perfect opportunity to meet people from all around the country. Most colleges also have at least a small fraction of international students. Speaking to people who come from different backgrounds will broaden your mind, and help make your college experience more fun and meaningful. It may take some time to warm up to new people, but you will make good friends who will become your support system as all of you enter a new stage of adulthood.
Join a College Club or Society
The college experience is not restricted to doing well academically. You are there to learn about yourself, push your boundaries, and develop your goals and strengths. Joining a college club or society offers you a chance to develop your interest and skills in something that you longed to try. It also helps you develop both personally and professionally as it offers opportunities to learn the values of teamwork, responsibility, and a sense of culture and community. You will also learn how to engage with diverse groups of people, and perhaps even develop your leadership skills. Participating in extracurricular activities have the added benefit of increased student engagement. Be it sports, music, academic or culture clubs, there is something for everyone to try.
Mind Your Health
College life can be overwhelming and difficult. Many college students reported feeling stressed and anxious, with 39% of students experiencing a significant mental health issue. It is important to pay attention and take care of your health when you are faced with challenges. Isolating yourself can worsen negative thoughts and feelings, so take some time everyday to speak to your family and friends. Doing so will also serve as a reminder that you have a support system that you can utilize when times get hard. If you notice that your mental health is affecting your daily responsibilities, you may wish to speak to your college counselor and advisors to potentially adjust your course schedule while you take some time off.
Taking care of your physical health is also important when you feel overwhelmed. Bring yourself on daily walks to get some fresh air, which will do you wonders. Try to develop a routine that comprises nutritious meals, some form of exercise, and sufficient sleep. Attending to your body’s physical needs will put you in a more positive headspace and help you feel better.
The college experience is both thrilling yet daunting, but you are bound to have fun as soon as the dust settles. There is much to explore so seize the opportunities that you have in front of you to make the most out of your time at college.