So You're In College... Now What?

Simone Koger, MA, LMFTA, CGP

2022-10-04

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You just accomplished a huge goal- going to college... now what?

If you are new to college this fall, you might be feeling stuck right about now. The excitement of moving in and starting a new chapter of life might be slowly widdling away. Now, it is starting to set in that the life you had before, with familiar friends and family around- is not your reality.

A lot of college students have this experience. This transition to college is a HUGE next step of life for many people. Your enviornment, friends, support, family, schedule, activities, and schooling has changed. These are a lot of big shifts to try navigating all at once. Sometimes, in the down times of that excitement, these changes can start to feel overwhelming.

It is totally understandable if this transition is a hard one. Taking it day by day can slowly lead you into finding what routine, people, opportunities, and schedule feels the most helpful.

Optional Ways to Find Your Stride at College:

1. Go to Club Day- most schools offer a club day that provides information about the different clubs on a campus. Check it out to start building friendships with people who share similar interests. 

2. Get a job at your school- This doesn't sound as fun, but if you get an hourly job with your school you are more likely to have direct knowledge of the student benefits and events going on. School jobs also tend to be more understanding and flexible with work schedules for students.

3. If you transfer in, check for a transfer class: Sometimes it can feel daunting if you are a transfer student. Look to see if your school offers a transfer class or club to connect with other people who are also starting as juniors. 

4. Sign up for emails from your schools Wellness Center (or Counseling Center)- If your school has one of these types of programs, they will probably be sending out events related to relaxation, de-stress, community building and support for students. Try to find their information as a way to connect with other students and learn more tools to support you through college. 

5. Make an outline schedule that helps you compartmentalize time into categories (eg. study time, friend time, class time) Having a set outline can help you keep to your own boundaries, and feel less overwhelming than having a tight schedule. Outlining day to day can also be helpful to prioritize what you need to get done and when.

6. Be kind to yourself! Sometimes it might feel like everyone assimilates to college so well, but that is not the case for everyone. This is a big change, and it should be treated like one. Honoring your emotions, and accomplishment of navigating all these big changes is important. Activities such as journaling, going to therapy, talking to friends, singing, dancing, mindfulness/meditation, exercise classes, and so much more- can all be helpful external ways to process your emotions.

If you are feeling stuck, check in with your campuses mental health services for potential resources. Or you can find a tele-therapist in your state via PsychologyToday, TherapyDen, Open Path, Latinx Therapists, or Multicultural Therapists.

To contact Simone for telehealth counseling services click here.

Cover photo by Nathan Dumlao