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What's the best way to survive culture shock in college?

I'm going to college across the country and I'm worried about living somewhere new. I've lived in the same town all of my life and I don't want it to be too hard to adjust to a different culture and atmosphere. How can I avoid being overwhelmed? #culture-shock #college

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Lori’s Answer

Hi Sierra! There are definitely some things you can proactively do to help soften the culture shock of moving out of town you have always lived in and starting somewhere new. One thing that can help if it is possible for you is to take trips before you move to the college and explore campus. Once you arrive to start your experience, there should be Freshmen Orientation and lots of other activities going on to help with all of the new students in finding out what student groups, support centers, etc. are available at your school. This is a great chance to explore and seek out something that builds on your interests and helps you find like minded people (sports, volunteer groups, other extracurriculars, etc). If you do start to feel overwhelmed - seek out available help on campus (student counseling centers, support groups, etc.).


Your school may even have an option available to start to get to know your roommates / fellow freshman with social media groups or discussion boards / penpals, etc. That may help you feel connected and get you set up with an informal network before you even arrive!


For me personally when I move somewhere new, I need a healthy balance of embracing new experiences and taking breaks to enjoy personal time and continue with things that I enjoy doing to keep that continuity and grounding of myself so I don't feel lost or like I am missing part of myself. I sometimes feel guilty for turning down invitations from coworkers and neighbors, but I recognize that especially for me as an introvert I need some downtime to recharge my batteries and take care of myself :-) culture-shock self-care

Lori recommends the following next steps:

Read this culture shock article and research other tips and tricks http://www.collegebound.net/content/article/college-culture-shock/19357/
Research what student resources and transition assistance are available to you at your intended school of choice
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Mark’s Answer

Your feelings and concerns around culture shock are certainly normal as you take this important step in your leadership journey. I went through this when I went away to college after leaving a town that I lived in my whole life, and then I continue to go through it in my professional adult life as I have relocated my family five times to different States with my employer.

The first piece of advice I would give you is that it is going to be OK, and you will persevere in the end. In fact, it is my belief that these types of experiences will absolutely strengthen you and help you to become more adaptable and resilient in your overall life. It could also allow you to fall in love with new places that you never would have experienced if you did not move in the first place.

I recommend getting involved with as many activities as you can handle without getting overwhelmed and falling behind on your school work. These activities (sports, clubs, societies, etc.) will help you to meet many people and serve as forum for you to create a new network of people in your life. This will also keep your mind off of missing home and feeling sad for sure. I also recommend exercise, it is so important for a strong healthy state of mind in addition to the obvious health benefits. Develop a positive winning attitude that you can always fall back on when times are tough.

Finally, stay in touch with those you love from back home and use different mediums to communicate. While nothing is better than a live conversation in my opinion, you can text, write letters, social media, etc. Ask your favorite people to come and visit you and spend time with you and also take trips back home from time to time. This will help a great deal.

In the end, nothing is forever so take the opportunity to explore yourself and a new place, you will not regret it.

Mark recommends the following next steps:

See if the college has an orientation or opportunity for you to visit in advance
Try to get to know your potential room mates in advance
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