Tips for Adjusting to College Life and Resources
For many 1st students, college may be their 1st experience living away from home for an extended
period of time. It is a definite break from home. The individual's usual sources of support are no
longer present to facilitate adjustment to the unfamiliar environment. Here are tips for students
which may provide realistic expectations concerning living arrangements and social life on
campus. In addition, students may benefit from information concerning resources available to
them at the SF/CS office.
• The first few weeks on campus can be a lonely period. There may be concerns about
forming friendships. When new students look around, it may seem that everyone else is
self-confident and socially successful. The reality is that everyone is having the same
If they allow sufficient time, students usually find peers in college to provide
structure and a valuable support system in the new environment. The important
thing for the student to remember in meeting new people is to be oneself.
• Meaningful, new relationships should not be expected to develop overnight. It took
a great deal of time to develop intimacy in high school friendships; the same will be true
of intimacy in college friendships.
Increased personal freedom can feel both wonderful and frightening. Students can
come and go as they choose with no one to "hassle" them. At the same time, things are
no longer predictable. The strange environment with new kinds of procedures and new
people can create the sense of being on an emotional roller-coaster. This is normal and
to be expected.
• Living with roommates (or in close quarters with others) can present special,
sometimes intense, problems. Negotiating respect of personal property, personal
space, sleep, and relaxation needs can be a complex task. Communicating one's
legitimate needs calmly, listening with respect to a roommate's concerns, and being
willing to compromise to meet each other's most important needs can