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what is the hardest thing to adapt to in college?

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Douglas’s Answer

I found there were four major challenges, when I went to school and lived in the dorms.
1 - freedom. Without parents/family procrastination and distractions can lead to poor grades/performance.
2 - the difficulty of the courses, one semester college is like one year of high school. Math required 2-4 hours homework a day.
3 - the "newness" new places, new classes, new people, new instructors to adjust to.
4 - freedom to eat. They call it the freshman 15 (pounds), it is much easier to gain weight and be less fit.

Some suggestions for the four.

1 - finish as much as possible early, schedule when you will start doing assignments. Find a study group (virtual?) it can be
much easier to learn with your classmates
2 - do not underestimate how long homework and learning will take - so do everything asap for the first semester, until
you get an idea how fast you can do the work. When your instructors say there will be 5 hours of homework a week - believe them. Estimate how long work takes, then measure how long it takes, that skill will serve you well all your life.
3 - It will take a while to settle in, that is ok, if after four weeks you are not comfortable, it could be home sickness, call your family and friends and talk about it. One of the best way to meet others is to ask questions, find out their interests, learn about the college.
4 - Before I left for college, there were three meals a day and a rare snack. With freedom to eat what you want, when you
want and what you want - you can make (temporary) mistakes. Further with others inviting you to share a meal, count that
as one of your meals. Walk or ride a bike when you can, both are good for the heart, lungs and fitness.

Have fun, life without fun, is not fun. Obvious, but very true.

One last tip, new people means new opinions about you, not facts, opinions. Be critical in how you accept things said
about you and what you are capable of doing. Nearly everyone underestimates what they can do and how well
they can perform - measure yourself against who you can potentially be and put the opinions behind you.

Great advice Douglas! Christine Overweel

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Saurabh’s Answer

I there are two things which are hardest to adapt in college. My 2 cents are that if you adapt to these two, you will lay a strong foundation in succeeding at college and in life:

1) Planning every day and avoid distractions: You must prioritize where you are going to spend you time and in which activities. If you plan your day early morning and ensure you achieve what you set out during the day, you will make steady progress, gain confidence and get good grades. It sounds simple but this is something i struggled with and saw many around me struggle because they got carried away with distractions and could not utilize the time properly. College give lot of freedom and people are not able to use it to their advantage. Days and months drifts away in not so important things. You will often find that you want to avoid distractions, and focus on studies but no matter how many times you tell it to yourself, it become very difficult unless you pen it down with precision. Therefore, plan precisely and in detail. I think to let your plan known to those around you is also very effective way to ensure that people also understand you priorities.

2) Doing deep study work: When you get to college scope of work and studies increases. You almost can start feeling that i am studying too many things but at high level. College is your opportunity to learn how to go deep into the courses you are doing. You have to understand your subjects in depth and invest time in the practical application of the concepts. If you invest time in gaining deep understanding in college, you will truly do justice to your grades.

Hope you find that useful.


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Laura’s Answer

Hi Karoline! For me, one of the hardest things is to adapt with changes in learning environment. The transition from a classroom setting with 30 students to a lecture hall with 200 students is a bit tough in my opinion. Since it’s a bigger setting, you need to figure out the best way for you to concentrate and build up courage to ask questions if you have any (tip: if you’re shy, email the professor or come to office hours). College also gives you a lot of freedom in terms of how you want to approach your studies. It was difficult for me to balance my time spent on assignments, studying and extra curricular activities. I’d recommend you join a study group and have regular sessions in between your extra curriculars, just to keep you on track and avoid last minute cramming before exams. Plan out your days and I believe you’ll get to do both what you have to do and a what you love to do!

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Sindhu’s Answer

Karoline, great question! The hardest thing for me to adapt to was the pace of learning. Despite having done AP courses in high school, I found the pace of the classes a lot faster in university and so there was a lot more to study every day, and so it was harder to fall behind quickly by a week or two or more! I did a couple of things to keep up 1) being disciplined about keeping up with the reading/homework and 2) finding a group of classmates in each course to study and be more productive together.

Hope that helps!

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Sagar’s Answer

Hi Karoline, there could be a few adaptation challenges when you join a college:

1. Getting to know classmates well
2. Adapting to the professor's style and speed of teaching
3. Adapting to cultural differences
4. Adapting to local weather

Personally I did not find hard to adapt to above challenges as I had made up the mind with respect to challenges I'd have to face. I would suggest you get ready for the challenges as you get to learn new things every day while adapting to challenges. Once you face your challenges, they no longer appear that challenging!

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Wayne’s Answer

Hi Karoline. For me the hardest thing about adapting to college was being away from my girlfriend and family for months at a time. Adapting to college during the first semester can be challenging but once you settle in, college life is incredible!

Here are 12 Tips for adjusting to college life.

1. Be Open to New Relationships. College life presents opportunities for new relationships. You must be open to forging new relations with teachers, loves, friends and roommates. One of the things you can do to ensure this happens is by learning impeccable flexibility and communication skills. In addition to this, you need to compromise. Not every situation will go your way.

2. Be Energetic. Classes in college demand more from students. This is unlike in high school. You need to put in more hours and effort both in and outside class. Unless you have high energy levels, these demands can take a toll on you. For you to be energetic, you must maintain a healthy lifestyle. It pays off in countless ways for sure. Take care of your nutrition. You need to consume foods that give you energy. In addition to this, get ample rest, create time for exercises, and socialize.

3. Do Not Be Afraid to Ask for Help. Teaching assistants and college professors are always available to help you. Ascertain their working hours. Every time you need assistance, feel free to step into their office and relay your needs. Fortunately, colleges have free tutoring services. It is your prerogative to seek help whenever you are in need. You can seek support via the student’s dean, mentoring programs, writing labs, academic advisors and scholarship offices.

4. Parties. A huge percentage of colleges in the country have party nights. As you party, do not overdo it in such a way that you make irrational decisions. The last thing you want is to quit school even before your lessons begin. You do not want to be part of the ugly statistics. Partying will always be there, but you need to be responsible while at it. Avoid prioritizing partying at the expense of your studies. This is especially true if you have project deadlines to meet.

5. Take Great Care of Yourself. College life can be overwhelming. There is plenty of things that you need to finish within a limited time. The countless things that need to be completed can put you under so much pressure. If not careful, you can lack enough time for yourself. Exhaustion and always being stressed can result in illnesses. Always take care of yourself. Get ample sleep. Do not push yourself to the limit. Have lots of ‘me time.’ Find adequate time to unwind and relax.

6. Be Open to New Experiences. On finding yourself in a new environment with new people, the secret is to become open-minded. Being open-minded means that you expect change to occur regularly. It means being open to new people and socializing with them. As a fact take it that education in college involves learning and exploring unfamiliar areas in life. The new areas include meeting people from diverse backgrounds and getting their points of view. Fortunately, most colleges offer orientation programs for new students. Be sure to check if and when your college offers one.

7. Your Roommate. Most students are usually disappointed when they find out their roommate is an unfamiliar person. For some students who are lucky, they may have a friend whom they plan to reside with. However, for most colleges such arrangements are impossible. You should not be worried when placed with a new roommate. This is because even people you know have an unknown dark side. This dark side of people you think you know becomes obvious when you live with them. The rule of thumb is to always consult your roomy before making any decision that touches on your room. This will go miles in making sure that you avoid any unnecessary friction between you two.

8. Connect with Your Peers. Being in a new environment with new people is overwhelming. However, you are not alone. To overcome loneliness, try and socialize with other students. These students could be course mates or other students in college. Making friends should not worry you. Take time to find students with the same personality and interests as yours. As for your roommate, get to them better. This because you will be together under the same roof for the whole year.

9. Join A Group. To feel more comfortable on campus, get to join a group. In most colleges, you will find student clubs and societies. These groups engage in different activities including sports. Find an activity you enjoy doing and join a club offering it. This will be handy in assisting you unwind and intermingle with fellow students.

10. Manage Your Time. In college, it is very easy to get carried away by non-academic activities. Most often than not students may forget that they need to study. To avoid getting carried away manage tour time properly. Find out the deadlines for upcoming exams and assignments. Mark the deadlines out in your calendar or set them in your reminder. Always find time to study way ahead of an exam. Remember college education is quite complicated and last-minute reading does not work.

11. Group Study Dynamics. You will find that carrying out group work in college is quite difficult. In college, you meet individuals unwilling to work as a team. Get to learn the importance of teamwork in a study group. Allow everyone in the study group to take responsibility for their assigned work.

12. Financial Freedom. For new students, financial freedom can be exciting or prove to be a challenge. Freshmen can easily get into financial trouble. This especially if they use credit cards. This is because credit cards allow you to purchase items without paying. The student may tend to forget about it until faced with the bill later. To avoid getting into financial trouble, use credit cards responsibly. It is also wise to keep off credit cards if you are not sure to manage it well.

Good luck!