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Tips for Adjusting to Your New College Life

Aug 15, 2007

When you head off to college, you'll be making a lot of changes in your life that you might not have expected. Try some of the tips below to adjust to your new life and avoid becoming discouraged or overwhelmed.

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Your life changes completely when you head off to college. Instead of having parents around to remind you to do your homework and get a decent amount of sleep, you're suddenly completely on your own, with a lot of freedom and a whole new world of opportunities to embrace. These tips can help you ease the transition into college life.

Be Open to New Experiences

New place. New roommates. New situations. Everything is different when you first get to college. A surefire approach to handling these changes is to be open-minded. Expect new changes and situations to take place regularly and be open to meeting new people and listening to different points of view. College isn't just about learning facts and theories from textbooks. A large part of college involves exploring new subjects, finding friends and meeting people from different backgrounds.

Tip: Check with your dorm to see if any orientations, activities or meet-ups are available for first-year students. Many schools also offer programs or residence halls designed specifically for first-year students.

Connect with Your Peers

You might be in a new and strange place, but you're not alone. Strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you in class or talk to the people who live in your dorms. Don't stress about forming friendships right away, it will probably take some time before you find the right crowd for your personality and interests. In the meantime, enjoy meeting new people and get used to reaching out to others.

Tip: Remember that your roommate is new to college, too. You might not become close friends, but it's a good idea to get to know her better since you'll be sharing space for the rest of the year.

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Join a Group

One way to make college feel more like home is to do some of the activities you enjoy or find clubs that meet your interests. College campuses are filled with student clubs and organizations, club sports teams and other groups, so chances are good you'll find one that fits your needs.

Tip: Stop by the student services center for ideas or for a list of available organizations.

Manage Your Time

It's easy to get carried away with all the extra-curricular activities available on campus, but don't forget that you also have to study. Review your syllabi or ask your instructor to find out the deadlines for assignments and exams in each of your courses then use an online (or paper) calendar or planner to keep track of those deadlines. Be sure to schedule in time to study, so that you don't wait until the last minute - a practice that doesn't work so well in college.

Tip: You'll also want to block out time in your day for fun activities or free time, so you don't get too swamped with studying.

Take Care of Yourself

It's easy to get overwhelmed with all the things you need to get done in college, and you can get stressed out if you're doing too much and not leaving any time for yourself. Being overstressed or tired can lead to illness or exhaustion. Make sure you get enough sleep while you're in college, and try to schedule in time to relax or exercise.

Tip: While it's tempting to order in pizza late at night or just eat cereal for dinner, you'll want to try and eat healthy foods as much as you can so you don't get sick.

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