New College Freshman Blues?

Ok.  Let’s look at the facts:

  • You’ve moved away from home.  (Possibly the first move in a primary residence–ever.  And, possibly in a brand new city, maybe even state.)
  • You’re living with a stranger in your immediate space (where you may have been used to your own room); not to mention the hundreds of other strangers in your entire residence hall.
  • You’ve been at the top of your class academically all through high school.  Now, you may be one of many smart-top-of-their-class kids.
  • You’ve been expecting to go to college for 17 plus years and NOW you’re sitting in your dorm room, dreams realized, and “Now, what?”

Challenged to transition and “get your feet under you” is typical and expected.  You didn’t think it was going to be that easy, did you?

Give yourself time.  Going from being a “big fish” or at least a respected senior on campus, to being one of many smart, top of their class students on a college campus can take some getting used to.  If you picked that school for its campus views or open green spaces, find one that’s comfortable and visit it regularly.

Novice college students often are intimidated to talk with professors.  Say, “Hi. You got me thinking about ______ from class today,” as you’re leaving class.  It’ll break the ice, as well as make the professor the actual human being s/he is, rather than simply an authority figure.  (Email may not be as effective as a face-to-face contact, since the professor may not be able to connect a real person to your message.)

Lastly, remember you’re paying for the privilege to be on campus.  As you’re giving yourself time to get used to a new city, new campus, new people, gently remind yourself, “Are you getting your (and/or your parents’) money’s worth of education and academic support?  And, what more, if anything, could I do to maximize the dollars (and the next four years of my precious life) that’s being invested?”

You don’t have to answer the questions alone.  The Resident Advisor in your residence hall, skype with high school friends at other campuses, a neutral counselor in the health center can all help as you’re sorting out answers.

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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