Are you stressed about going off to college? I know starting a new school can be weird and stressful but the best way to deal with it is to try to be as prepared as you possibly can. When I started community college at HCC in Texas I wasn’t sure what to expect because I was homeschooled but, I quickly learned that it was going to be pretty hard for me. What did I do to help myself get more comfortable at school? I started to make some friends who I stay in contact with to this day. They are all pretty active and hang out with each other but I have always been one who enjoys buckling down and getting work done.
What is the best way for you to get adjusted to your new school away from home? I would have to say the best way to get adjusted is to know that your ready, know that you are mentally and emotionally prepared because for some people it can be one of the most emotional experiences of their lives besides marriage. When I was a kid I was homeschooled so the best way for me to be social and get to know people was to go off to summer camps. I went to girl scout camps, horse camps, and I went to the sea camps down at A&M Galveston and it all prepared me for living away from home, but the one thing that most people take for granted when they move away from home is their parents. I have to say that when I left home I never thought I would miss my parents but I do and I email my mom regularly now. Yes, that is right I still email.
Is college difficult? College is only difficult if you have a negative outlook on it and take the first impressions in a horrible way. I had a roommate my first year here (fall and spring semester) that always was really down on herself and she went through a small depression and she would always bring her problems to me and I would be more than happy to listen but there were times where I just didn’t want too. There is a time that comes up in life when you have to make a decision about the people around you and it will be one of the hardest things that you will do. The best advice I can give to someone who is or was in my position is to help them as long as you can and then when you start to see it impacting you negatively then take a step back and let them know that you need to take some time for yourself.
How do you deal with negativity during college? In a dorm especially you can get stressed really easily but, one of the best things to do is find a place where you can be by yourself and have time to think and decompress everything that has happened. It can be anywhere, the courtyard, a library any place on your campus that you find where not a lot of people go is probably going to be your get away. My school has a small boat basin and when I really need it I go down and sit by the water and just let all my worries and stresses melt away. It is really important for your mental and physical health to find a place where you can sit down or workout and get everything out of your mind or you might have a breakdown and then no one will know why unless you tell them.
I had a week or so during the spring semester where I wasn’t talking to my roommate or suitemates because I was going through things. I knew that I wasn’t myself and the first thing I wanted to do was crawl into my shell and cry, but instead, I got myself out of the dorm and went for a run in the parking lot every day and I would sit at the boat basin and go to the library to study. It was the best choice that I made for myself and it happens pretty often to me and I know how to combat it when I feel like I am not being myself anymore.
What is the most important thing to have in college? The most important thing to have in college is to know who you are, what you stand for, know that you have your family behind you supporting you and to make friends that will support you no matter what. I started going with my friend to a cigar lounge where he would play Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) and I got to know the owner, and the other people which quickly meant that I was around people who were going to support me. It was important for me to have support around me because I do get stressed easily and when I am stressed I cry which is normal because it is just the body telling us to let out all the pent-up feelings.
After my first semester at University, I failed two classes and went on academic probation, during the spring semester I worked harder than I did before to pass my class but I only failed one class which was Business Calculus. I am still on academic probation and it sucks because I am at my dream school and if I don’t get my GPA up to a 2.0 or higher I can get suspended or kicked out of school. This is the type of stress that everyone will face at least once in their lives unless they are in the honors programs then they won’t worry. I work hard and I study a lot but what’s the point of studying if you aren’t doing good in school? Well, that is negative thinking and when I get into that thinking I like to go to the gym or go sit on the boat dock or the beach and get myself back into a positive mindset.
How does college change you? College can change you in the best way possible especially if you haven’t found yourself yet. If you have found yourself then it will help you learn even more and help you understand how you work and how things affect you. I know myself and I have continued to learn more about myself as I grow and change into the adult that I am today, but it’s also about changing into a better you. What do I mean by a better you? Well, I mean that if you know who you are, what you stand for and enjoy life then it will start to throw curve balls at you to see how it will affect you and it’s your choice always if it is handled in a good positive way or if it isn’t handled at all and things become negative. The best way to deal with that is to once again know who you are and know how to make yourself get into the process of thinking quick on your feet.
I have had to learn in the middle of a semester to change my study habits from occasionally studying to studying on weekends to studying every day. It is a constant struggle and there is no right way to do any of it but, our parents raised us to know how to deal with things like this ever since we were kids. The one thing about college is you leave knowing that your parent’s love you and care for you, but you never realize how much you appreciate them until they aren’t around 24/7.
One thing me, my brother and sister learned when we went off to Universities is that we grew up in such a good space where we could study what we wanted and know what we ant, read what we want and still have fun. However when we were homeschooling we went on road trips to state and national parks around the United States (I am from Texas), and we never realized how much we appreciated those trips till we left home and were around people who came straight out of high school. We learned that we were more mature and much more level headed and we never wanted to do anything too crazy. There are many people who are raised with going to public and private schools every day Monday to Friday and have become level headed and then when they get to college they just want to party and don’t realize how much work there actually is to do.
What advice do you have for incoming students? The best advice I can give to people is what has already been said. Know yourself, know what you stand for, know how you study and how to keep negativity out of your life or at least under control. It’s hard to know how to get things under control when your parents aren’t around. The best piece of advice I could give to anyone leaving home for the first time is that when something bad happens don’t go run to your parents or guardians try to handle it yourself first and then if you still can’t figure it out talk to the people you trust the most. I have had to do this on numerous occasions but I always manage to figure it out on my own. It’s also okay f you don’t have a job while in school because you can find ways to make yourself feel good about what you are doing by working your hardest. I don’t have a job and I feel so much better at the end of a semester when I see grades that aren’t failing grades.
Just know to be yourself and keep in touch with your parents but also learn who you are and how you work, don’t be afraid to ask for help and most importantly be sure to have fun when you are done studying.