10 Biggest Struggles College Freshmen Face And How to Fix Them
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Two of the most exciting days in a young person’s life might be the day they receive their letter of acceptance to a great college, and the day they head to campus to start school. It would be wonderful if the only thing that students faced was the prospect of making new friends and stimulating academic challenges.
Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. Nearly every college student faces at least a few obstacles that can get in the way of their academic and personal goals. The following is a list of 10 of the biggest of these challenges, along with some advice on overcoming them.
1. Getting Overwhelmed on a Big Campus
Unfamiliar faces, worries about getting from one building to another on time, getting adequate face time with professors when class sizes are are huge; these are just a few of the struggles that students can face during their first year on a big campus. It can be more than a little intimidating.
The key to solving this is preparation. This starts with taking the campus tour and taking a few dry runs once you get your initial schedule setup. Finally, make sure that you know where all of the relevant landmarks are such as dining halls, quiet places to study, and the cleanest restrooms on campus.
2. Being Homesick
You’ve just finished your first week of school, and you’re in your dorm scrolling through Facebook. It seems as if every another post is from one of your friends or family members back home. All you can do is think about what you are missing and how much you would love to see everybody. Homesickness impacts almost all college freshmen that are living away from home.
It may seem counterintuitive, but the best way to get over feeling homesick is to stop focusing on home. Calling people, spending hours chatting on Facebook, and letting everybody know how much you miss them will only make things worse. Check in once every couple of days. Then, focus on making new friends and finding fun things to do where you are.
3. Lack of Funds
It’s quite rare for any college student to make it four years without struggling with being broke. As a college freshman, you might feel the pinch of an empty wallet sooner rather than later. It’s a real bummer to have to sit at home and miss out on good times because you cannot afford to go out.
The obvious solution is to find a job. It’s a good solution, but often easier said than done. You can also pad your wallet by selling unwanted items and signing up for college discount programs. Take your college ID with you wherever you go. You never know who is offering discounts. Finally, look into cutting expenses. Walking instead of driving can save gas money. Streaming movies at home are much less expensive than going out.
4. Trying to Eat Right
You will soon find that opportunities to eat junk food are abundant. In fact, here is a bit of a campus pro tip: If you hear music on campus walk towards it. Chances are you will find free food. Unfortunately, between hectic schedules, unhealthy dining hall options, and social temptations, you can develop some pretty unhealthy eating habits.
Good planning is key. If you get over hungry without having a plan in place, you are going to live on vending machines and fast food. Instead, pack a lunch with healthy options and throw it in your backpack. Instead of going out, cook your own food in your dorm room. Even if you aren’t allowed to cook, you can still stock your mini fridge with fruit, yogurt, cheese, and water bottles.
5. Not Getting Enough Sleep
At first, it almost seems like a rite of passage. Staying up all night with friends and then fueling yourself through the day with energy drinks or pulling all-nighters and forcing yourself to survive on just an hour or two of sleep is just part of the college experience. Isn’t it? Yes and no. Sure, it can build character, but if you do it too often there can be serious consequences. Sleep deprivation can impact academics, physical health, and even cause you to be a danger to others should you try to drive.
Learn to balance things out a bit. If you go out partying one night, plan to stay home the next. Plan to study every day rather than cramming at the last minute. Finally, make sure that your dorm room is as comfortable as possible. Invest in a good pillow and some earplugs if things tend to get noisy.
6. Struggling to Keep up With Academics
Even if you were an academic superstar in high school, chances are you’ll run into trouble at least one time during your freshmen year. This could be due to difficult subject matter, an instructor who isn’t as clear as you need them to be, or (let’s be honest) a little too much the first year partying.
You can get on top of things my making sure you don’t get too far behind. Join a study group or speak with your professor if you need assistance. Although you can always take look on writing services list if your situation will be too complicated. You might also consider blocking off a couple of hours each week for uninterrupted studying.
7. Getting Sick Away From Home
It’s never any fun to get sick. The first time you get sick away from home can be really miserable. If you’ve relied on your parents to deal with your medical care, figuring things out while you are sick is a real challenge.
Fortunately, most college campuses have a student health center. This means that if you come down with a cold, flu, or another ailment, all you have to do is head over to the clinic. It’s simple and easy, and you’ll probably find that the staff is super helpful. If you have ongoing prescriptions or other healthcare needs, you may want to create a folder that contains any relevant medical information that campus healthcare workers might need.
8. Academic Let Down
If you were hoping for a great academic experience, your freshmen year might be a bit disappointing. If you were an advanced student in high school, you might find that a lot of the material that is covered in your first-year classes is repetitive and boring.
Unfortunately, you can’t do much to change this. Although, before you begin your freshmen year, you might look into earning credit by examination or gaining AP credits. Another option to consider is finding intellectual stimulation outside of the classroom. Look for clubs and student organizations that focus on scholastics.
9. Troubles in Relationships Back Home
If you’ve left a boyfriend or girlfriend behind, you may discover that maintaining a long-distance relationship is difficult. Fights can become more intense and resentments can build up. There’s a reason that many relationships end during this time.
Set expectations that are realistic as possible. Keep lines of communication open and positive, but don’t stop socializing and enjoying new experiences. Statistically, the chances of your relationship lasting are fairly low. However, you can do what you can to increase those odds and to make sure that if a breakup does happen that it is on good terms.
10. Major Struggles
Yes, everything on this list may seem like a major struggle, but many freshmen also deal with major struggles. In other words, they either cannot decide on a major or they begin to have doubts about their choice as the year progresses.
First, don’t panic. Most students change majors at least once. It isn’t the end of the world. If you aren’t sure, try to focus on an area of concentration that interests you overall. Where do you see yourself when you graduate? For example, if you dream of making it in the corporate world, consider a Business major. Later, if you want to specialize further, it is easier to transition to something like Finance or Marketing than it would be had you started out as a Journalism major.
Every hardworking student deserves to have an amazing college experience. Knowing the potential challenges ahead of time is just one step in ensuring this happens. Having the tools and knowledge to overcome these roadblocks can empower students to create the freshmen year experience that they desire.