The following is a summary of emotions and experiences some students might face in their first year. The calendar of transition is provided as a way for you to anticipate what your student might encounter in his or her first year. As a result of reading this month-by-month resource, you might be able to anticipate concerns and provide more informed support and encouragement.
- Homesickness and feelings of insecurity are common.
- Sharing a room is a new experience.
- Initial adjustment to new academic environment and social life occurs.
- New and unfamiliar places and people seem overwhelming.
- Long distance relationships are navigated.
- For some, homesickness is more intense. For others, it fades.
- Roommate conflicts begin to surface.
- Some begin to feel disenchanted with college life, finding it isn’t what was originally envisioned.
- Academic reality arrives (long homework assignments, first quiz grades, test anxiety).
- Old study habits might not be working.
- Anticipate mid-term exams and grades.
- Some might feel a sense of loss and failure associated with grades.
- Struggle to handle social pressures of drinking, dating, sexual activity.
- If open option, may start to feel pressure to declare a major.
- Time management conflicts are a common concern.
- Expect some restlessness for a break or vacation.
- Pre-finals stress emerges.
- Academic pressure begins to rise due to procrastination or academic load is more demanding than expected.
- Student may focus efforts to maintain grades or make up for a rough start.
- Changes in weather, busy schedules, and poor eating habits make colds and sickness more likely.
- Depression and anxiety can increase.
- Financial concerns can emerge.
- Roommate conflicts may begin or intensify.
- Final exams may mean all-night studying and extra efforts to secure desired grades.
- Excitement builds for winter break and family time.
- Time management pressures are common due to academic demands and extracurricular responsibilities.
- Students worry about what it will be like back home for break.
- Some students may wonder if their major is right for them.
- Some students may experience homesickness.
- Relationships may have been strengthened or terminated over break.
- Stress associated with the new semester may appear.
- Students may feel pressure to keep up with school work.
- Applications for many student organizations or leadership roles begin.
- Student may over-commit to student activities.
- Anxiety over relationships or lack thereof may surface.
- Planning for summer jobs or internships begins.
- Mid-term exams and mid-term grades are expected.
- Anticipation for spring break builds.
- Concern for summer jobs or internships continues.
- Questions about the fall semester—class schedules, confirming major, living options—surface.
- Stress and fatigue continue.
- Academic pressure builds as finals near.
- Pre-enrollment for the fall begins.
- Financial pressures may increase.
- Spring fever may cause concerns about focus, lack of significant other, etc.
- End of year banquets and student organization activities are scheduled.
- Finals week creates some feelings of stress and anxiety, followed by relief.
- Packing and moving are necessary for some.
- Students may feel excitement of reconnecting with old friends and sadness over leaving new friends.
- Concern builds over parents’ reaction to grades and moving home.
- If starting summer school, concerned about not taking a break.
- If starting a new job, concerned about learning the expectations.