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Transferring to a bigger university

Hi Auntie, I’m transferring to a bigger college than the community college I was at. I’m a bit nervous starting all over with new friends and everything. Do you have any tips to help make this easier?

Congratulations on completing community college! It’s pretty normal to have some anxiety around any big transition in life, so you’re definitely not alone there.

To start with, I might turn the question around to you: what were some things you did to make new friends and get settled when you started at community college? Take a moment to reflect on what worked and what you might do differently. The more time you spend reflecting, the better you will be at making the best decisions for yourself.

Here are a Few Tips for Making the College Transition Easier:

Get to Know Your New College Community. There are so many people available to help you—academic advisers, professors, student life staff, coaches, and other members of the community—but you need to actively seek them out. That means don’t let them come to you, it’s now your job to take care of yourself and find the help you need or want. The start of college is no time to be shy. 🙂

Get to Know Yourself. This will be a time for you to start learning the in’s-and-out’s of who you are. Are you a morning person? Late-nighter? Have no problem sitting for hours, or you can’t sit still through one lecture? Start to pay attention to these things. If you find out your not a morning person, don’t schedule classes for 8 am. Can’t sit still? Schedule classes with breaks in between, so you can go for a walk, or play a quick pickup game. Try things like walking around the track while reading, or setting up your laptop on a high shelf, so you have a standing desk instead of sitting.

Take Some Risks! The best way to get to know yourself is to take healthy risks. When we are outside of our comfort zones, we learn what things we like, what we don’t, what comes naturally, and what takes work. Have you always been interested in a certain field but thought it was beyond your reach? Go for it! Now’s the time to embrace your opportunities. Decide you’re going to give your best go and commit to doing the best you can.

Plan Your Luck. If you want to graduate with a degree, the most important thing you can do is to set a date for your graduation. Meet with your adviser your freshman year and build a plan for the classes you need to complete and programs you want to experience.

Put on your “I Want to be Friends” face. You can find a lot of articles on the best ways to meet people when going to college, but when it comes down to it you want to show people you’re open to learning more about them and maybe becoming friends. Try to make eye contact with people and smile. If you get some smiles back, ask them ‘how it’s going’ and go from there. Think about what attracts you to other people and try that out.

Be There for Yourself like No One Else Can. Moving away to college will give you new responsibilities like taking charge of your health and wellbeing. Things like your mental, emotional, financial, and social health. This is a time when you can learn to make good choices with your wellbeing. Since we are creatures of habit, this will likely carry over to your adult life, so try to set up good habits now.

Be Kind to Yourself! Part of taking care of yourself is being kind to yourself when you make mistakes or fall flat on your face. This is a part of life and something that every person in this world goes through. Don’t worry you’re not alone. What sets you apart is what you do after you fall. Recognize how bad that sucked and work out what went wrong so that it doesn’t happen again, or better yet, work out what you could do next time to make it a success.

Remember, big transitions are not easy for anyone. If you’re patient and kind to yourself, knowing that you’ll likely have times when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it can make it easier to get through. Know that most people on your campus are there to help and support you, including a place to seek counseling if you need it. Give yourself some time to adjust to your new experience and you will find it very rewarding.

Wishing you the best of luck. Be safe, have fun, learn, and make sure to call home once in a while because you’re always in your family and friends thoughts.

Take care,
Auntie Manda

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