Transitioning from high school to college can pose completely new and daunting challenges. This is especially true socially, as it can be difficult for students to balance the new sense of freedom with the need to build their own structure and focus on their studies. When you add new college students’ fear of missing out with the uncertainty of building a friend group from scratch, the struggles might even seem overwhelming.
Luckily, there are a few things they can do to make their transition into college as easy as possible. Here are six things your students should avoid in their first year of college.
1. Don’t Force Yourself to Make Friends
While it can be scary to find yourself in a brand-new social situation, don’t panic – making friends will be easier than you think. It’s important, however, to make sure that you spend your time with people who add to your life in positive ways. Avoid forcing yourself fit in with a certain group just because it seems easy. In other words, and don’t be afraid to gather friends slowly.
You have years of university ahead of you, so take your time locating the people with whom you most relate as your build a solid, positive social circle. You’ll find the relationships are more comfortable as well as more rewarding when they’re created with individuals you trust.
2. Don’t Assume Time Management Comes Naturally
You might think that you’ve already figured time management out and that the dreaded “transitionary period” won’t be a problem for you. After all, you managed to do your work while still making plenty of friends in high school, right? While it’s likely that you have some skills that will transfer over to your college life, it’s equally likely that you probably aren’t one of the few people who just “get it” when it comes to time management.
It will take you awhile to understand the full workload you can expect to face, but scheduling study time every day and sticking to it makes a study routine less daunting. Equally important, though, is that you use this study time well.
Coffee is a quick fix for focus, but it can lead to jitters and bad sleep. Try more natural solutions like exercise (even if it’s just a walk), creating a playlist just for study time, or essential oils for focus. These will help your focus be more consistent and last longer.
3. Don’t Avoid Your Professors
It can be intimidating to socialize with professors, but doing so is a great way to find class a bit more enjoyable— and most professors really enjoy students who take an interest in their field. Don’t be afraid to stop by with questions and chat with them for a while, be it about a specific assignment or more general topics in the class. This is especially true for professors in departments of which you’re likely to spend more time.
If you know you’re going to major in English literature, for example, then you should build positive relationships with professors in this field. Talk to them about their studies, about your classwork, and about how you can improve your reading comprehension and writing skills. Soon you’ll find that you’re a common fixture in the department, which improves your relationship with other professors as well.
4. Don’t Spend All of Your Time Partying
As you embrace the transition from high school student to college student, you might be struck with a new and intriguing sense of freedom. This is especially true if you’re living on campus or are otherwise out of your parents’ home. Suddenly you’re in charge of creating your own schedule and deciding when you study, and it’s easy to let this go to your head.
Keep in mind that you’re in school for a reason, however, and that the courses you’re taking now will remain on your transcript for the entirety of your college career. It’s good to make friends and branch out in order to improve both intellectually as well as socially, but not at the expense of your work. Finding a balance between social engagements and study time is key, and there are lots of other methods of making friends.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Pursue New Interests
One of the most disappointing things college students can do is spend all of their time in their safe zone. When you fail to branch out and embrace your new surroundings and opportunities, you’re thwarting your chance to grow as a person. College is one of the most developmental times of your life, but this requires leaving your comfort zone.
Don’t be content to stay in one place and keep the same beliefs and values you’ve always had. It can be fun to stretch your view on things and sample the other side of it. Reaching for new heights and taking new classes can shift your worldview and help you mature as an individual and a global citizen.
6. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in Your Room
If you are living on campus in a dorm, it can be tempting to retreat there between classes to have some alone time. While this is sometimes needed to decompress or catch up on sleep, you miss a lot of the action going on around you. In general, the better idea is to stay out of your room and in common areas or elsewhere on campus where other students dwell.
Has the time to transition to university arrived for your students? Keep the tips above in mind when speaking with them. Communicate the importance of establishing and maintaining a balanced study and social schedule throughout their years, and reassure them that all will be well before they know it. College will certainly prove to be an absolutely incredible experience and time of transformation.