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How To: Adapt To College

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

By: Alicia Sylvester

Someone once said, “College is like losing your mom in the grocery store for four years,” and this could not be truer.

There are so many guides and tips and tricks out there on how to “survive” your first year, but it is really easier said than done.

Getting Through the Move

If you can survive the moving process, then you are ready to tackle your first year in college. Whether you are moving thousands of miles away or just down the street, it is never easy to pack up your life and move to a new atmosphere.

I moved 1,800 miles to Arizona from good ol’ Ohio and let me tell you, it was the most exhausting experience of my entire life. The days leading up were honestly the most tiring.

You most likely have friends and family in and out of your house all day — or week — and let’s not forget about all of the last-minute errands you have run.

I highly suggest starting to pack at least two weeks before your move-in date.

You do not want to be like me and realize you left an entire suitcase full of necessities all the way across the country — my mom was not happy about that one.

A super helpful tool to use the “Pack and Hold” option at Bed Bath & Beyond. You basically do all of your shopping online and then pick it up at a store closest to your final destination.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to know the essential packing items. These include oversized t-shirts, white sneakers, leggings galore, a pair of shorts to go with everything, easy on-the-go shoes, flannel or cardigan, and sports bras. It is only 3 weeks into the semester and I am already regretting not bringing more of these items.

Now, let’s talk about leaving your parents — this is the hardest thing. You have seen your parents and siblings every single day and now you have to say goodbye for a little while. Always be sure to tell them how much you love and appreciate them,

Remember, this is harder on them than it is on you.

Spend any second you can with them. Hug your mom. Make sure she knows you will be okay and ensure her that you will eat 3 meals a day. If you do these things, the transition will be smoother and your mom won’t be such a wreck after leaving your dorm.

Now that you know the basics, let’s continue onto actual college life.

Getting Involved

Getting involved is the most important thing to do in college. Most universities have hundreds or even thousands of clubs and organizations available to choose from.

Sign up for everything.

I signed up for water skiing even though I had zero experience. Just because you sign up does not mean you have to join. Just test the waters and see what you like. You might have a skill or interest that you have no recollection of.

Being involved is also good for your resume. This article is a perfect example of joining a club and being able to learn and grow in my desired profession.

I also decided to give the sorority life a chance. The entire rush process can be saved for another article, but I do want to share that it was one of the best decisions I could have made. I met some of the sweetest girls ever and through the process, gained great interpersonal and communication skills.

Even if you are unsure if Greek life is for you, I suggest trying it out first and see where it takes you.

Clubs are the perfect way to meet new people, learn new information, gain opportunities, and have fun while doing it. I hope whatever club you decide to join, it brings you all of the joy in the world and you absolutely crush it.

Studying and Homework

This is a completely different ball game in comparison to high school. You have more free time and independence in college, so you have to find a time to actually get everything you need done.

I highly suggest working ahead in the classes that are easier for you.

Set aside at least two hours a day to study and finish your homework. There have already been days where I spent four to six hours on my computer in order to free up time on the weekends just so I can live the “college life” and have fun with my friends.

It is very rewarding to check everything off your list for the day.

Find joy in to-do lists.

They keep me on track and I can visually see how much more I have to work on. Your note taking and studying habits might change drastically in college.

One thing that has helped me prepare for reading quizzes is summarizing each page in one to two sentences and writing the important facts or events that occurred. This will make it easier to review without having to re-read the chapter.

If you are having a hard time with either studying or homework, ask your friends what they do or seek assistance from tutors or your floor’s Community Assistances.

Final Thoughts

College is supposed to be the most memorable four years of your life. Make sure you are live it up to that expectation.

Explore things outside of your comfort zone. Make new friends. Stay up until the crack of dawn with your roommate talking about life. Find what makes you happy.

Adapting to college is not just a walk in the park, but if you believe in yourself, you will be able to conquer just about anything.

I hope reading this article has inspired you or helped you in one way or another. Until next time my friends.


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