It’s normal and natural to feel some anticipatory anxiety about going to college for the first time. Remember that everyone else is feeling a bit anxious too! Dr. Melinda Massoff, Psychologist at Westmed Medical Group, has some advice to help you or your child get past the jitters during the first few weeks of college.
- Take advantage of all of the ice-breaker activities whether you are a residential student or commuting to school.
- If you are on the shy side, you might have to get out of your comfort zone a little at first and just walk up to someone and introduce yourself. The start of college is one of those times where everyone is in the same boat, and it’s completely normal to do this!
- Get into some good self-care habits such as exercise, yoga class, meditation (try a mobile app to help you get started, like Head Space or Insight Timer).
- Try not to text home too much so you can be present for your new experience.
- Start with some great organizational habits –block out your week on a piece of paper or white board so you can budget your time.
- Read your notes after every class and go to office hours if you don’t understand them.
- Go to office hours to introduce yourself to your professors. You will find that the better your relationships with your professors are, the more they want to help you.
- If you really feel anxious or depressed, get yourself to the counseling center. Most schools offer these services, and there is no shame in asking for help. Don’t wait until you feel really terrible. Most schools have drop-ins as well as appointments.
College is a very busy time. As you are having new experiences and soaking in all that school has to offer, be sure to check in with yourself and assess how you’re feeling from time to time. If you’re feeling down, try to use some of the tips above, it’s never too late to start a new exercise program, get organized or make a new friend. Your next fun and exciting opportunity could be just around the corner!