What to Do When You Have Trouble Adjusting to College Life


Are you having trouble getting used to life in college? You’re definitely not the only one. Life away at college for the first time brings with it a heck of a lot of difficulties. In addition to an intense academic routine, you have to adjust to new classmates, roommates, professors, being in a new city, maybe even a new state, balancing school and social life all without the immediate support of the friends and family you spent your life with at home. It can be difficult. But once you make the decision to adjust and enjoy your time in college, you can do the things necessary to make your new routine one that flows naturally and enjoyably from here to your senior year.

There different things about college life that require some getting used to for the new student. For starters, the atmosphere of the classroom is different from high-school and quite a bit more impersonal for some. With more students filling a larger hall, and a higher standard of discipline and expectation put upon you and your fellow pupils, it can be easy to feel lost in the seriousness of it. Even so, go out of your way to get to know your professors. Ask questions during class, ask questions after class if you can, and develop a rapport. Feeling comfortable in the classroom is a key part of feeling comfortable with your college experience as a whole.

Adjusting to social life on campus is a very natural difficulty for new students. If you felt invisible in the halls of your high school, unseen in the shadows of football jocks and cheerleaders, well, there might be some deja vu as you find yourself on a bigger campus with students from all over the country, most of them who have already been there for one, two or three years. It can be tough to find where you fit in, and intimidating to think that after having dealt with social issues in high school you are now in a place where you have to go through it all over again.

Of course, even if you were the big fish on campus back in high school, now that you’re at the University of Texas or University of Southern California, adjusting to newfound feeling of anonymity is just as much a challenge. No matter who you are, developing your social relationships on campus is a very important thing. A great place to start (after introducing yourself to your roommate and establishing the no community toothbrush rule) is to explore the campus clubs and find those groups that appeal to your interests.

Being able to strike up rapports based on things you have in common with other students is a valuable thing. But in and out of class, on and off campus, you want to put yourself in a conversational frame of mind, taking an interest in other students. You won’t be best friends with everyone, but you’ll be the type of person that people want to be friends with.

Counselors and dorm residents are there to help you acclimate to your new environment as well. As you find your flow socially and academically however, you’ll find that college unfolds with a certain rhythm. Enjoy the flow of everyday, and establish the tempo of living that works right for you!