Heading Off to College?
Change can be stressful at any age. It’s especially hard when moving from high school to college. When we feel like we knew where we fit in, and suddenly we go from being a big fish in a little pond to a little fish in a big pond, the transition can be jarring. Similarly, moving from a strict household to much more freedom can be awesome, but also a lot to handle as well. Some common stressors for college students:
- Time management/getting good grades
- The future (50% of students drop out and 50% change majors at least once, if not several times.)
- Dating and roommates
- Financing school and having money
- Responsibility: getting homework done, paying bills, shopping - not yet being equipped for the real world.
GOOD NEWS: How we handle transitions in life is up to us. Many of these stressors are made manageable when seen as choices we can make for ourselves based on the goals we are perusing. According to author Sean Covey, the six most important decisions we make during our teen and young adult years are how we handle our friends, relationships, parents, school, addictions, and self-worth.
One way to look at these decisions is by keeping your goals in mind. Do I want to graduate from college? What do I want to be when I grow up?
Then move backwards through the choices.
- Am I going to surround myself with people who support my goals (including boyfriends or girlfriends)?
- Am I going to ask my parents for their experience?
- Am I going to do my best in school and ask for help when I need it?
- How can addictions de-rail my dreams?
- While we are all worthy simply because we were born, sometimes in life a feeling of unworthiness creeps in. Will I talk to someone if it does?
The freedom that college offers can be a shock at first. There are positive and negative consequences to every action. Choosing to stay out all night and not write the psych paper due the next day can cause a negative consequence. Is all the partying worth being academically dismissed or losing your scholarship?
Going into a transition knowing what we want and that we are willing to work for it helps strengthen our resolve when these decisions come up again and again. When at times things aren’t so clear, remember, we don’t have to handle challenges alone. A supportive ear from trustworthy family members, friends or advisors makes things so much easier.
And for more advice from a recent college grad, click here.