“The college years are the best years of your life.” Now, I loved college and am nostalgic of the experiences. But I struggled at first–I felt incompetent, awkward, under-experienced, and homesick. Hearing that “college years are the best years” made me sad and anxious. The Buffalo area of New York has a ton of Colleges and Universities. Some that are near me are Canisius College, D’Youville College, Medaille College, Daemen College, Villa Maria College, Niagara University, State University of New York College at Buffalo, Hilbert College, University at Buffalo, and so many more. Knowing that so many students are near me inspires me to share some tips with you.
5 tips for college freshman
- Have an open mind. College is a time where you’re exposed to many different kinds of people with a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences. It’s easy to make assumptions about other people based on what we know. Sometimes, there are big implications if someone comes from a different state, country, or family background. Other times, we make assumptions based on personality differences. For example, my freshman year roommate (who is now one of my best friends) and I agreed to meet at 8 AM to walk to our first class together. On the way to class, I asked how she slept, how she felt about this class, and what she thought of college so far. She gave one-word answers and glared at me. I was relieved to finally get to class, thinking “this is going to be one long year living with this girl!” Later, I realized she is not a morning person and that me talking so much first thing in the morning was her worst nightmare. If I hadn’t remained open to learning more about her, her preferences, and her tendencies, perhaps I would have written her off immediately.
- Join clubs and organizations. Your school probably has a list online of all the clubs and organizations at your school. Your dorm probably has a council that always wants members. You can email the person in charge and ask to be added to the listserv. Will showing up at these meetings be awkward? Potentially, yes. And it could also be a time to meet people who are like-minded with similar interests. Being a relatively shy freshman, I was lucky to have a roommate who pushed me to try new events and organizations. Some meetings were more interesting and comfortable than others, but I was able to start feeling a sense of community in my college. And I got lot of free food and resume/CV boosters!
- Contact home more than you think you should. Whether you’re close to your parents/guardians, siblings, and/or friends from home, make a concerted effort to stay in touch. This can be done through snail mail, text, Facebook messenger, a quick snapchat to let other know you’re thinking of them, or (preferably) a call! At first, I remember feeling immature and “young” when I called my parents. Calling home, whether it be to nurture relationships or to ask for help, is a great habit to start.
- Work hard, play hard. College, as we’ve discussed, is often regarded as the most fun years of life. While they can be, they are also years of really hard work. Consistently show up to class and make yourself a schedule that allows for both work time and play time. You need to make sure you have a balance of both in order to remain effective!
- Ask for help, preferably before you need it. We all need help at times. If you’re struggling in a class, reach out to a classmate and the professor. If your roommate is driving you nuts, consult with a resident assistant. If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns, contact a counselor. Reaching out can feel vulnerable but it really is an advantage–and it has the potential to help you get unstuck if you need he.
Are you struggling with the adjustment to college? Are you hoping to learn how to adjust better to the social and academic environments? If you’re near me in the Buffalo area, I invite you to call me and we can set up a time to meet!
Clever Photo by Ethan Hu
Cleverly Written by: Dr Tacianna
About Dr Tacianna
Dr. Tacianna Indovina knew that she wanted to be a therapist since she was in high school. From that time, her love and enthusiasm for the healing power of psychotherapy hasn’t wavered. It’s a good thing for our community that Tacianna is as enthusiastic as ever for helping people when they feel overwhelmed, discouraged, and alone. Through her authenticity, gentle directness, and sense of humor, Tacianna works with you to identify patterns of thinking and behaving that may be making it difficult for you to meet your goals. Tacianna’s easy rapport encourages, validates, challenges, and empowers! With her down-to-earth and relatable style, Tacianna provides counseling for late adolescents, adults, and couples, to provide support to recover from interpersonal loss and trauma, overcome mood struggles, cope with anxiety, and adjust positively to life transitions. Tacianna adapts her approach to what you want and need, and aims to help you build healthier relationships with yourself and others. Contact Dr. Tacianna to schedule your free initial consultation today!
Dr Tacianna graduated from Ball State University with her master’s degree in clinical mental health and her Ph.D. in counseling psychology with a specialization in couples therapy. She has spent most of her training at university counseling centers and community mental health clinics where she focused on sexual assault prevention, relationship and couples issues, depression, anxiety, and concerns unique to gender, sexual, and affectional minorities. Through her authenticity, gentle directness, and sense of humor, Tacianna works to identify patterns of thinking and behaving that may be making it difficult to meet goals.