Are you ready to move onto campus? To make your own decisions? To not have anybody nagging you to (insert issue of the day here). Going to college is an exciting, amazing time! You’ll be making new friends. Studying what you enjoy. Maybe getting a bit overwhelmed? Not to worry.
It’s not unusual for new first-year students to be stressed, homesick and anxious during their first semester. But before you run home for some of Mom’s famous meatloaf, take advantage of existing support systems on campus to help you find your way.
Your resident advisor (or RA) will be your primary support system on campus, your first contact for random questions. Typically a junior or senior, an RA is almost like a big brother or sister giving advice as you navigate this new environment. Your RA will organize floor meetings and activities so people living on your floor get to know each other. He/she works to build community and implement campus standards for community safety.
The benefits of living on campus >
Find your people. All colleges plan multiple Welcome Week activities to help new students get to know each other, make new friends and get acclimated to their new surroundings. Get involved in clubs and organizations that interest you.
You’ll be developing a support system, an informal network of people who rely on each other for emotional and physical support. Not feeling well and need food? Feeling a melt-down coming on? Call on your friends to pick up a meal from the dining hall or to let you vent, knowing that you’ll do the same for them when they need it.
Coach/music director/club advisor/supervisor
By getting involved in on-campus organizations or with a campus job, you’ll make connections with adults who want to see you succeed. As you work side by side to meet a common goal you’ll get to know these folks on a deeper level. Sometimes these advisors become surrogate parents. Asking how you feel when you look tired. Encouraging you to get to bed at a decent hour.
The benefits of working on campus >
Professors, especially at small liberal arts colleges, often have an open door policy during office hours. They are available to answer questions, give advice and serve as mentors as you work toward your degree and career goals.
When life gets too heavy, reach out to the campus counselor or campus pastor. They not only will listen, but know the questions to ask to help you see your problem in a different light, to help you think things through.
No matter your age, life has its ups and downs. Know that the ups are higher with people to celebrate with, and the lows aren’t quite as low with friends offering support.
The people around you want to see you succeed! Take advantage of the existing support systems on campus and get ready to rock your first year of college!
At Bluffton University, you will find a community dedicated to living, learning and growing together.