Adjusting to the First Weeks of School

Release date: September 18, 2008

So by now, you’ve gotten into a nice rhythm – settling into your room, attending classes, and feeling like things are familiar rather than all strange and novel. You are meeting a lot of new people and are starting to immerse yourself into the Goucher community.

But what if …...everything is not going as smoothly as you had expected?

What if ......you are questioning your decision to come here?

What if …..you are feeling incredibly homesick?

What if …..a previous medical or mental health condition flares up or you’re just not feeling good or like yourself?

What if ….all your fantasies about college are falling apart and you have nothing positive to replace it?

First of all, recognize that these are normal reactions to a new situation. Some of the more common behavioral and emotional experiences include:

  • Irritability
  • Social withdrawal
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Intrusive or repetitive thoughts
  • Increased dreaming and/or nightmares
  • Feelings of sadness, anxiety, or insecurity
  • More frequent calls to family or friends
  • Crying spells
  • Increased use of medication, cigarettes, alcohol, or other drugs
  • Increased sexual activity or loss of libido (sexual interest)
  • Submersion into either socializing or homework, to the exclusion of the other
  • Lower confidence
  • Excessive time on the computer (e.g., computer games or social networking sites)

Remember that it takes time to adapt and adjust to new living, academic, and social situations. However, there are other steps you can take to facilitate your adjustment. These include:

  • Strive for balance with work and play
  • Use your social support networks at school and at home
  • Get involved with activities or groups on campus
  • Set up a regular schedule for sleeping and meals, with some flexibility
  • Exercise on a regular basis
  • Get outside for fresh air and sunlight
  • Avoid using alcohol or drugs as coping strategies
  • Allow time for decision-making rather than make impulsive decisions

If these strategies are not sufficient to help with your distress, consider meeting with one of the counselors at the Student Health and Counseling Center. It’s free and confidential. Leave a confidential message at extension 6481 to schedule an appointment.