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Thinking About College

By John Raftrey And Lori McCormick

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About this blog: We are writing this blog to give practical advice to students and parents, to reflect on issues affecting college admissions, and to provide a platform for a robust community discussion on post-secondary choices. We occasionally f...  (More)

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Uploaded: Aug 26, 2015
(written by Lori McCormick)

Transitioning to college, while certainly exciting, can also feel a bit overwhelming. Here are some tips to help make your transition a little easier.

Separating from your home, your community or even the high school you were accustomed to can trigger homesickness. Here are some things to remember to help you manage your homesickness:
1. Everyone gets homesickness ? this is normal! Give yourself time to adjust.
2. Bring familiar things to college (pictures are a great thing to bring!)
3. Stay focused on your goal ? to graduate from college!
4. Familiarize your new surroundings, get to know your new campus/community
5. Get involved on campus (even if you are staying local)
6. This is YOUR time to focus on yourself.
7. You DESERVE this opportunity! Don't ever lose sight of your past accomplishments that have paved the way for a greater future for yourself.

Managing Stress
1. Use academic and personal counseling on campus ? they are there to HELP you.
2. Find a quiet place on campus to retreat to when you need alone time.
3. Sleep! Eat Well! Exercise! - All of these will contribute to a healthy lifestyle and will naturally reduce your stress levels.
4. Manage your time to help elevate your stress levels.
5. Avoid drugs and alcohol ? these will trigger stress indicators such as headaches and depression.
6. Get to know your professors ? they are also there to help you.
7. Remember that EVERYONE feels stressed at some point in their life. You're not alone.

Time Management
1. Use a calendar to schedule everything in your day. This might seem excessive at first, but it will teach you how to realistically manage your time. For example, include all of your academic time (class time, study time, appointments with your professor, etc.) but also schedule in time for fun, sleep, errand running, exercise, etc.
2. Allow yourself a 15 minute break from school work every 45 minutes.
3. Break down your tasks into smaller ones.
4. Work backward from your deadlines.
5. Work during your "peak hours". For example, if you are a morning person, schedule your classes and study time in the mornings when you are at your best.
6. Find or create a study group ? choose people who will help you stay on track and can help you become more efficient at managing your time.

This is one of my favorite posts from San Diego State University. Take this advice to heart...

Attention Freshmen who are moving in tomorrow: A little request ... When your mom wants to unpack all of your clothes and make your bed - Let her. When your dad wants to introduce himself to all the people on your floor - Let him. When they want to take pictures of every move you make this weekend - Let them. If they embarrass you or act crazy - Let them. As you start the new chapter of your life, they are also starting the new chapter of theirs. And believe it or not, this is probably more difficult for them than it is for you. So let them treat you like their "baby" one last time.
Welcome to the Aztec family!
What is it worth to you?


Posted by mpmom, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks,
on Aug 26, 2015 at 9:13 am

I was wondering if you had a recommendation or favorite app that you felt was helpful in keeping students organized in their classes for college? Thank you for this series, I find it incredibly helpful!

Posted by Anneke, a resident of Professorville,
on Sep 1, 2015 at 7:58 am

What a lovely article and so true. Thank you for including the section on parents. You are right, becoming empty nesters can be very emotional.

We have two wonderful families with whom we are very close:

1. The first family gave us the gift of a precious goddaughter who all of a sudden is grown up, beautiful, intelligent, in college and spending a semester in Italy. The parents with their other two children are going to spend Christmas in Rome with their daughter, and all of them are looking forward to it. What a fantastic reward for this effort!

2. The second family has a son and a daughter. The son had no problems with adjusting to life in college. His mother had some of the signs you describe in your article, so we planned operation "Cheeky Monkey," where we arranged a frequent flyer ticket for him to come home completely unexpectedly four weeks after he started. Everyone loved it!

Their daughter moved farther away from home to go to college, and she was so homesick. In fact, she wanted to come back and attend a local college that had accepted her as well. Her parents, wise as always, gave her a choice with a condition attached: you can go to a local college, but you have to finish the year first at the college where you are right now. During this first year she made very close and wonderful friends (we met them at her birthday party), and she became emotionally involved in her new life away from home. The result, she has now started her third year at the original college and loves it!

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