August 20, 2013

What to Do If Your First Week at College Sucks

You successfully packed, moved in, showed up to your classes (mostly), and know a few familiar faces on campus. Despite these little victories, college doesn't always immediately feel like the amazing, life changing experience everyone talks about. So, when does the "best four years of your life" start? Whether you loved or hated high school, it was at least familiar. The truth is, the factors that make college amazing - your social network, accomplishments, and learning - don't appear overnight. You can help along the process by taking a few easy steps.

1. Figure out the kind of person you want to be

No, I don't mean fake a new personality, past, or anything else. College is an opportunity for personal growth, and the best personal growth tends to start with a little self reflection. If you didn't make time for this while lounging by the pool this summer, do it immediately. Even if you weren't outgoing/studious/athletic in high school, nothing is stopping you from developing those traits now. Take some time to identify qualities you admire in others, and consider if you want to develop those in your own life.

2. Get organized

You will never, ever be able to successfully keep up with your assignments, organizations, and (eventually) your exciting social life without some organizational tools. I found that religiously keeping up with a planner is the single most important factor to staying organized. Kate Spade and Lilly Pulitzer offer some that are pretty perfect, but choose the one that fits your style and your needs. Make sure that whichever planner you choose has entries for both the month at a glance and each individual day. You'll need all that space! I also love keeping my desk stocked with cute list stationery and Post-Its for jotting down quick notes. I love this notepad from Design Darling:


3. Reach Out

All that stuff they tell you at orientation about being an actively involved student? It's true. If you live on campus, you have a built in social group - your neighbors. These people are often the easiest to get to know, and can become some of your closest friends. Don't stop there, though. It's a shame not to explore your other options. Your college is bound to have at least a few organizations, intramurals, or interest groups that would be a good fit for you. Go to a couple meetings or events - the worst thing that can happen is you feel awkward for an hour. The faster you get used to pushing past that feeling, the better off you'll be - not just in college, but in life.

If you insist that organizations aren't your thing, you still might have to leave your comfort zone a bit. Do you know the single most important factor for developing and maintaining friendships? Repeated positive interaction. That's it. Be the person who smiles at the girl you see at breakfast in the dining hall, even if you aren't a morning person. Ask to borrow a pencil from the person you sit next to in sociology (and seriously, return it). Whatever. Put yourself out there in a positive way.


4. Breathe

The first semester at college is overwhelming for just about everyone. Overwhelming can be good though! Think about the alternative - being underwhelmed. Learn to love the chaos and the process of this new adventure, instead of fighting it or dwelling on the negative aspects. And remember...

As always, if you need someone to talk to about specific concerns, you can get in touch with me. I've been there.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Fancy seeing you here.

Thanks for taking the time to comment - I love reading and responding!