Tips & Tricks to Adjusting to On-Campus Life in College
by Kayla Trujillo, Press & Written Media Team
Emily, my new roommate, was exasperated and glaring at the assortment of paper sheets that spread all over her table.
“What’s wrong?” I said tentatively. This was my new roommate, after all, college is odd.
We’re suddenly thrown into a playing field where no one is at an advantage, everyone is just as lost and clueless as the person next to us. How do we go about living on our own, being separated from our families and thrown into a campus that we’re unfamiliar with? For people like Emily and I, we had a hard time adjusting to this new change that came about after high school in transition to a university. At first, we were frustrated and homesick, wanting nothing more than to leave the twin XL’s and wound up in our beds at home. Home is where the heart is, so how can we transfer those same sentiments to a dorm or campus that we’ll be living in for the next four years?
“I know it seems like a lot at first, but we’re always here if you ever need to talk or need help adjusting,” Tejas Narayanan, my sophomore friend, said.
I had opened up to him about the difficulties of adjusting to this new world at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He brought me comfort, reassuring me that living here would be the best choice for my future. In excitement, I ran back to my dorm and called my best friend from my hometown, asking how she was handling living in Houston apart from her family. With this topic, we began offering each other different forms of encouragement and advice that I think every college freshman needs to hear. I present to you: The Rules for College Survival.
#1: Be open to meeting new people.
For anti-social butterflies like myself, I struggle to talk to strangers and connect with them on a deeper level. I find myself staring down at my fingers and twisting them rather than meeting the eye of a person standing right in front of me. It’s something that definitely needs fine-tuning, but I’ve pushed myself to get closer to my roommates and make more friends. It worked! Making an effort has definitely benefitted me in a way that I wouldn’t have imagined. Now, I always have someone to grab lunch or dinner with, to study with or to even do simple chores like laundry.
#2: Share your location with someone you trust.
Now this might seem odd and even a bit invasive for others, but I’ve found this extremely convenient. Living alone on campus can be scary, and someone’s safety should always be top priority. With apps like Life360 or sharing locations on Apple, a lot of people I know definitely feel more comfortable walking alone on campus knowing someone can see where they’re at in case of an emergency. There was an instance where someone needed my location because of my worry to walking alone at night, and I felt so comfortable with the thought that my phone could be used as a focal point for safety. Your location doesn’t have to be shared all the time, but it wouldn’t hurt to turn it on if you might be alone or exploring somewhere you’ve never been
#3. Study and work hard, but also relax and take time for your well-being.
I won’t lie, being an academic overachiever can be stressful at times. There are times when I feel like I can’t find the balance between dedicating myself to school and taking the time I need to cool down and relax. Time management is key, and with some simple schedule planning, everyone can find a way to keep the balance scale from tipping over. If I study consistently for the whole day, I’ll go for a walk at night, hang out with friends or watch some TV and relax with my cat. It’s simple things like that that will really benefit us in the long run to keep from burning out or neglecting our mental and physical health.
#4. Utilize campus resources!
At first, I didn’t realize how much my university had to offer in terms of resources, but now that I’m aware, it’s hard to not want to maximize how much we can benefit from the universities we attend. Guys, if you’re paying for tuition, fees and other charges, don’t be scared to try their recreational center or their free covid testing! Even using accessible locations like study rooms, signing up for free yoga classes and attending all the on-campus social events would not be possible if I wasn’t trying my best to use my services to its full capacity. If you ever have the time, walk around campus and keep an eye out for services they can offer. Health services, nutritionists and counselors are usually free of charge on campus, so make sure to check that out!
#5. Lastly, try your best.
I know, we hear this all the time and allow it to be one of those phrases that goes in one ear and out the other, but it really is true. No one should be asking you to stretch yourself thinly, but trying your best is always okay and a good path to tread. If you feel like your best isn’t enough at this very moment, that is also okay, but make sure to take that time you need to encourage yourself and relax in ways that can treat your mind to a little break. Just as much as it is good to try your best, it is also good to take breaks! I hope that if anyone is reading this and struggling to adapt to life on campus, these simple tips should be a gateway or comfort of some sort. Remember, you’re not alone in this. Even if it’s a professional, a friend or a random stranger in a study room, you can always reach out to anyone if you need help on trying to readapt yourself into a new environment. There will always be someone willing to help, including the person writing this.
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