College is an exciting time, for sure, but it is also a big change! Here are the 8 stages of adjusting to college life, according to the Peers. We’ve all been there! Take a look to see what emotions you can look forward to from move-in day to the first few weeks of class.
You can’t wait ’til move in day because you are “SO OVER” living at home. You can’t wait to get out, be your own person, and travel the globe (or at least Northwest Washington, DC). You basically spend all of your time on the Class of 2020 Facebook page and you already have three best friends for life before you even arrive on campus.
2. What Do I Pack?
Okay, move in is a week away and you have about 4 articles of clothing and your sheets packed. “Do you need to bring your entire wardrobe? How many towels will you need? Does it get cold in the Winter? (Yes). Isn’t it in the South? (No.) Do people really wear suits to class?” Nobody really knows what to bring to college but almost everyone ends up returning all of their excessive storage solutions that don’t even fit under their beds or the fancy bookcase you thought you’d have room for. Just take comfort in the fact that everyone is overwhelmed right now, deciding whether to bring 2 or 3 NorthFace jackets.
“OMG it’s move in day. I’m going to make so many friends and get straight A’s and have fun on the weekends and stay up til 3 AM having philosophical discussions but I’m also going to get 10 hours of sleep a night and OMG this is just so amazing. I am FREE.”
4. Mom, don’t leave me.
“Wait what? Mom, where are you going? What do you mean you’re getting ready to leave? I’ve only been here three days. You haven’t even taught me how to do laundry. What. What.” I feel like no one admits this, but it’s totally normal to miss your parents. You’ll feel a little funky for a bit while you adjust to life without them, but YOU WILL adjust to life with out them. We promise. Make sure to separate light and dark colors and don’t wash darks in hot water.
5. Smooth Sailing and Totally 100% Adjusted.
By the end of Welcome Week, you’ll probably have this “independence” thing down pat. You’ve made a few friends on your floor, connected with any Facebook friends, and have learned that TDR isn’t ideal but that you’d better get used to it (“and trust us, it has improved 10-fold since our Freshman year,” says every upperclassmen ever.) Why are people worried about college? It’s so easy.
6. So Excited for Class!!
“WOW I’m going to be so intelligent and college-educated. I’m going to learn so much. My professors will be my besties and we will do research together and I’m going to get straight A’s just like I did in high school and ahhhh I can already smell how smart I am going to be.”
7. Wait, Class is Hard.
It is 100% normal to not know what to expect out of a college class. It might feel like everyone has this down except you, but that is so far from the truth. As people get more comfortable around you, they’ll show that they’re just as stressed about an exam or paper as you. Luckily, AU has prime academic support through The Writing Center, The Math/Stat Lab, the CLEAR language lab, and of course the Academic Support and Access Center for tutoring, accommodations, and extra help!
8. Reality finally hits – but in a strange, good kinda way.
You’re probably feeling different every day! The funny thing about college is that there is no one way to do it right — if you’re homesick, that’s okay! If you’re totally hitting it out of the park, great! If you’re having a harder time than you expected, totally normal. If you alternate between these 3 every day, welcome to MY freshman year! Once you realize that all of the emotions you are feeling are normal and expected, that’s when you can actually start to be comfortable at your new home of AU. Stay on your own timeline, take the classes you want, and allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling and ask for help when you need to! You can do this!
College is a whirlwind of emotions. Here’s a few great on-campus resources to be aware of when the emotions get a little too much for you:
- The Counseling Center: http://www.american.edu/ocl/counseling/
- The Health Center (Psychiatric Care): http://www.american.edu/ocl/healthcenter/FAQs-for-Psychiatric-Care.cfm
- Academic Support and Access Center: http://www.american.edu/ocl/asac/
- Academic Advisors (see school-specific advisor or CAS advisor if undecided)
- and us, CAS Peer Advisors: http://www.american.edu/cas/advising/peer.cfm