3 Tips to a Stress-Free College SemesterSep 12, 2021
On Tik Tok, there’s a trend that has been popping up all over my For You Page: college freshmen documenting their first day of college, only to claim to go back home in the matter of days or face absolute catastrophe. As hasty as it seems, it isn’t a secret that college is stressful: new city, new environment, new friends, and the impending doom of classes that are bound to be harder than high school. All in all, it’s a recipe for an anxiety filled week that runs high on emotions.
I too just entered my first week of college, but I was determined to make my first week as stress-free as possible. I’m proud to report that my first week of college was indeed stress-free, but that’s because I followed three simple tips to keep my anxiety at bay.
Start Off Strong With Your Roommate
Having a good roommate relationship is pretty important to having a good time at college, so you want to kick it off strong. You can do that in a variety of ways, whether that is helping them unpack, walking around campus with them, or staying up the first few late nights to explore and enjoy the city.
However, this doesn’t mean you need to be latched onto your roommate's side. Space is important to maintaining a healthy relationship, and you and your roommate shouldn’t be feeling like they have to do everything with you. While spending time with them, make sure to give them room to adjust as well. Let them meet new people, explore their classes, and have some vital alone time.
Starting off strong also means setting some ground rules. What are your policies on overnight guests? What things do you want to decorate your dorm with? When do they want to wake up so you can set your alarm to a softer setting? When will you both clean the dorm? Communication is key to a healthy roommate relationship, so be upfront about your concerns and needs before you regret it.
Don’t Put Too Much Pressure On Yourself to Make (or Maintain) Friends
Now this may sound counterintuitive, but stay with me. You are going to meet a ton of new people this first week, and it’s likely you won’t even remember half their names. Often, we feel like we need to pull together our new friend group in the first week unless we want to be lonely, but that isn’t true. The people I hung out with on my first day are not the same people I hang out with now.
Bottom line: don’t force friendships that aren’t meant to happen. You will find your campus. College is relatively big, and there are thousands of people on campus that are also looking for their people.My best tip is to go out and meet new people. Some will stick, some won’t, and that’s okay.
Similarity, don’t feel pressured to hang out with the friends or acquaintances you had from high school. If you want to, you totally should, but if you want that fresh start where you can explore yourself away from your high school past, that’s perfectly fine too.
Look At Your Course Material Before Class
While college is about finding yourself and meeting new people, it’s also about education. Start your semester off strong by going to your first class feeling prepared and empowered to learn. Look over the syllabus, read the required reading, and familiarize yourself with your schedule and where to go to get to your classes.
The first week of college is often syllabus week, but professors often expect you to go over the syllabus on your own time. Showing up prepared for class may not show anything to your professor, but it will create an inner sense of confidence knowing what to expect, and sets the tone for the rest of the semester.
With these three tips, you can make your first week, and semester, at college something you can enjoy rather than stress about. Inevitably, college will be stressful--that’s the nature of the beast, but the more prepared, connected, and happy you are, the better.
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