First Year of College
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Mental Health Matters

How to Deal With Your First Year of College

Going to college can be a significant transitional stage for any young adult. The anticipation of moving out and achieving independence combined with a new environment is a big step for incoming college students. Students may also experience a range of feelings including excitement, empowerment, nervousness, stress, and homesickness during their first year. Despite the positive and novel experiences college brings, it’s common to feel overwhelmed at some points during your college career. Here are a few ways to cope when you start to feel overwhelmed in school.

Build on-campus relationships
It is important to establish relationships during your first year of college. Make an effort to befriend your dormmates and fellow classmates. As freshman, they are most likely experiencing similar emotional states and experiences as you; these relationships will serve as a foundation of support throughout the rest of your college experience. Get involved with sports or extra-curricular activities to expand your network and build a community of friends.

Stay organized
Stay ahead of deadlines and save yourself from unnecessary added stress by getting organized from the get-go. Use a planner, keep a daily to-do list, and download apps that will help you stay organized. This will help you plan for upcoming midterms, due dates, and other potentially stressful periods within the year.

Balance your social and academic life
College is a mixture of building social connections and pursuing academics. Both components contribute to your overall college experience, so it’s good to balance both and not neglect one or the other. Stay on top of assignments and decline or accept social events when appropriate. When you look back on your college experience, you will be glad that you prioritized both aspects of your life.

Make time to support your wellbeing
When the stress starts to build up, prioritize your wellbeing. Cut out time to invest in activities you love – whether it’s playing a sport, doing art, watching your favorite television show, or being outdoors to give your brain a break. Plan out your study routine to avoid all-nighters and get eight hours of sleep and adequate exercise. Writing in a journal can also help you process current events in your life.

Seek support
It’s normal to feel stressed at one point or another, but when stress starts to inhibit your daily routine and influence your decision-making skills, it may be time to consider seeking additional, professional help. Getting support from a qualified MFT can help guide you through college-related issues including school stress, transitional struggles, relationship issues and more. Visit our online directory to find a therapist near your college today.

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