Freshman year can easily be one of the hardest things to come to terms with, not only for parents, but especially for students living away from home for the first time.
First-year students often do not know what to expect when they step onto the lawns of their residence halls or into their first classes of their college education. Between getting lost on campus the first day and not knowing where to sit in the dining halls, college can be a stressful place to maneuver.
Some helpful things to remember for anyone who is first year or a transfer student is that you are not the only one who has questions. Sometimes it may feel as if you are the only one on this ship, but realizing you have shipmates who are equally as confused or worried, may ease the anxieties that come with making friends and putting oneself out there.
Another tip for incoming students is to join a club or organization. Clubs are easy ways to add structure to a schedule and meet like-minded people. Clubs also pave the way for leadership opportunities on campus, which will ultimately reflect positively on one’s resume. Not only are clubs a fun way to get involved on-campus but they could be a fun way to get more involved with off-campus organizations.
Getting out of one’s dorm room and going to social events on campus held by Residence Life staff, APB or the Career Center is a fast and easy way to make connections with students one would not normally see on one’s daily route through campus. Attending these events can also leave lasting impressions on one’s RAs, Career Center staff and various other organizations on campus that could potentially lead one to job opportunities as well as the aforementioned leadership opportunities that the campus offers.
The Counseling Center is another great outlet where students can talk to a counselor about any anxieties they may have, such as homesickness, trouble finding friends, issues with LGBT related identities or depression. The counseling center even offers emergency appointments if one feels especially overwhelmed by one’s feelings or situation.
Once students get settled into life away from home, they may realize it is not as stressful as it seems. Allowing themselves to breach their comfort zone is one of the top things that will help them succeed in the long run, not only in their academics, but in their social lives as well.
Just remember, you are the captain of your own ship at Shippensburg University. What you do with that power will decide whether or not your college experience will be a good or a bad one. With the right attitude you can make your first year of college one to remember.