Adjusting to Change – College Life

Missing your family or the familiarity of home when you least expected it?

Feel like "Nemo" in the big ocean?

Having trouble making academic decisions and meeting others?

Hating your roommate?

Wondering if you should be here at all?

Any major life change, like attending college for the first time, living on your own, and taking on new responsibilities can be a huge adjustment. In college, additional stressors such as negotiating housing, classes, and personal relationships can lead to feelings of frustration, anxiety, loneliness, or depression.

In addition, an increase of personal freedom and responsibility, new demands on time for studying and recreation, and changes in relationships with significant others and or parents or guardians are often common sources of stress.

Freshman or transferring students can also feel homesick or think that they are just not fitting in. If you have any of these feelings, it is normal and you are not alone as you adjust to your new environment!

What can you do if you have problems with adjusting to all of the changes that college life brings? First, talk to someone that you know and trust about your feelings such as a close friend, parent, or relative. You may also want to talk with a roommate, an older student, your RA, or a graduate assistant — all who may be experiencing or have gone through similar adjustments themselves. Utilize the many resources on campus: professors, residence life staff, campus ministry, and, of course, the counseling center are additional resources here to help.

Get Involved

Join campus organizations. Campus activities and clubs can help you meet and interact with others who share similar interests. It is also a good way to meet people outside of your dorm.

Take care of yourself. Make time for rest, eat balance meals, exercise, and avoid abuse of alcohol or other drugs.

Adjust your expectations. Not everyone is best friends with their roommate. It can take some time to make friends.

If your adjustment difficulties do not get better, you may want to talk with a trained professional in our Counseling Center. We offer free services that can help students cope with adjusting to all the new stressors that college life can bring.