Leaving home for college means you’ll be exploring a new place, making new friends and setting your own priorities. You’re going to face big changes in a small amount of time, which can be both exciting and intimidating.
Getting Help and Support
Although being in college means that you have new independence, it doesn’t mean you’re on your own. College is full of resources – professors, tutors, counselors and advisors – and help is available, but it’s up to you to ask for it. Visit Campus Services: There Is Support When You Need It to learn more.
If you find you can’t keep up with your course work or other responsibilities, it’s time to talk to someone; don’t wait until you get your midterm grades. College freshman Breanna says that it took her a while to admit to herself that she needed support, “but once I did, it was amazing how helpful people were.”
Here are some of the many things you’ll be taking charge of in college.
After she started college, freshman Wen Hui realized, “I could wake up at 10 a.m. each day, could eat a steady supply of junk food, and had no one to harangue me about doing problem sets.” But this behavior resulted in a cycle of late-night homework sessions that led to “napping in the middle of a lecture on differential equations,” she says. Wen Hui learned the hard way that managing your time well becomes even more important when you leave high school for college.
Schoolwork is a priority, but extracurricular activities, jobs and internships are important parts of your college life too. Rula, a college sophomore, says, “One of the best and worst things about college is that there are so many things to do besides taking classes.” You’ll have to make choices regularly about where to focus your energy.
Handling a Social Life
College also means a new social scene. You may be moving to a new place where you’ll know few people, if any. This is a great opportunity to make new friends and try new things. You can even reinvent yourself if you want to.
In high school, there’s a clear line between school life and home life. But when you go to college and live on campus, you are constantly among friends. So it’s important to balance having fun with the other parts of your life: studying, staying healthy and even sleeping.
Dealing with Finances
Your new independence will probably include being responsible for your money and spending. You may have your own bank account and ATM card, shop for your own food, and pay your own bills. The keys to keeping your finances in order are to set a budget (and stick to it) and to keep track of how much you have in your bank account.
Some students are also responsible for their tuition and housing costs. For Kendra, a college freshman, this was a big adjustment. “I had to make sure I had enough financial aid and that my scholarship awards were coming in [on time],” she says.