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February 28, 2011 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Adjusting To University

University can be seen as the great escape from parents and rules providing the opportunity to discover who you are.  Loneliness and being homesick can come as quite a surprise and make us question if university is ‘right’ for us.  These feelings in a period of transition are normal.  Such feelings make us question our abilities to adjust successfully.  Some people are embarrassed to find that they are having these feelings, and the automatic response may be isolation.  At the very time we need to reach out to others, we tend to do the opposite.  It is easy to want to pretend that we are more independent than we are and to deny these feelings.  At times we do not want to ‘worry’ our families, and so we do not tell our parents that we are struggling.  These are normal reactions and usually subside as we become familiar with our surroundings and what is expected of us.

Lifestyle issues emerge with choices that we have not had before.  The pressure to ‘fit in’ can be over-whelming and can result in making choices that surprise and sometimes alarm us.  We may engage in behaviour that does not promote our long-term adjustment.  Anyone who matures makes mistakes—it is a part of the process of growing up and defining who we are.  These mistakes can be helpful life lessons that can clarify our values separate and distinct from our families and friends.  We learn from our successes as well as our mistakes.

The feeling of isolation at this time is common even if you have friends on campus.  Often we believe that no one else is experiencing difficulties in finding friends, dealing with relationship issues, or being uncertain about academic ability.  Most people stress about these issues to some degree.  Change requires time to adapt, and most people adapt very successfully.

Some people find it comforting to establish a routine.  Exercise can be critical to your adjustment.  Sound nutrition also gives you the energy you need to negotiate emotional issues.  Make a list of things to accomplish each day, and mark off things as you do them.  It is helpful to ‘see’ progress.  Use your diary to organize your workload to prevent forgetting which is easy to do in times of stress.  List some things that you enjoy doing, and put those in your schedule
as well.

Some things to do now:
– Engage in activities even when you are uncomfortable.
– Know you are not alone.
– Check for information about groups
and organizations that interest you AND attend organizational meetings.
– Use your parents as a base of support.
– Know you will make some mistakes—those do not define who you are.
– Give yourself time to adjust.
– This is an exciting and scary time that results in stress: expect that, and know that the stress will ease with time.

Student Counselling Services
463 5310


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