Advice for Students Starting College
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (August 27 2008): Starting college can be both exciting and stressful. You’re juggling classes, living on your own for the first time and figuring out what you want out of life. It’s no surprise that many freshmen feel overwhelmed. In fact, American College Testing (ACT) estimates that 1 in 4 college students drop out before completing their sophomore year.
One way to fight stress and feel at home in your new surroundings is to connect to other students and the larger campus community. To help the incoming Class of 2012, Mental Health America has put together a fact-sheet outlining the benefits of getting active—and staying active in your college communities. Here are some suggestions for incoming students:
Connect to your roommate, dorm mates and Resident Advisor. Make an effort to get to know the person you’re living with. Go to meals, get a cup of coffee or explore campus together. Also, take time to get to know the people living on your floor. Say ‘hi’ when you pass each other in the hall or stop by their rooms. Resident Advisors are trained to know what’s happening on campus. They also plan dorm floor events and outings.
Stay connected to family and friends at home. Leaving your friends and family isa big change. Staying in touch can helpyou feel close and supported. Instant Messaging, texting, email and social networking sites are great ways to stay connected—but be careful what you post online!
Connect to the larger campus community. You may want to think about participating in sorority or fraternity recruitment. If that isn’t your thing, there are other student clubs on campus that focus on everything from social justice issues to rock-climbing. Don’t see a club you like? Start one.
Connect to your professors and academic advisors. Your professors and academic advisors are there to help you get through tough classes, tough decisions and tough times. They can help you figure out what you want out of your academic experience. If you feel like you might have a rough time in class, make an appointment with your professor during office hours.
Connect to help. Your health and well-being can affect your freshman year experience – how much you enjoy being there, how well you do in class and how you feel about yourself. Make your health and well-being a priority from the start.