Learning to overcome the struggles of the first semester of college

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I remember the first day of my first semester like it was yesterday.

I arrived 20 minutes early for my 8 a.m. History 201 class. When I got into the classroom, there was only one other person there.

I tried to talk to them in an attempt to get to know them a little better and possibly even make a new friend, but I was met only with a blank stare. As more people starting coming in, I tried to make small talk, but most of them ignored me.

Why was I so desperate to make a friend my first day of school? I barely knew anyone. All of my high school friends went to different colleges around the country. So, I was forced to meet new people. This fact made me dread my first day of college.

I was told my entire life that college would be an exciting time for me where I would get to meet great people and have the opportunity to pursue my passions. Yet, my first days of college were nothing like that.

This lack of social interaction affected me on almost every single level. I had absolutely no motivation to do well in my classes, so my grades suffered. I became extremely unproductive, choosing to stay inside and watch Netflix whenever I had any free time. I became distant from my family, coworkers and the few friends that I still saw on a regular basis.

I started questioning why I even chose to go to this university. I considered transferring to another university or dropping out all together, believing that it would solve all of my problems.

If I continued down this path, I probably would have ended up in a much darker place, but thankfully, I was able to find my place here.

I got involved with several campus organizations, most notably the Catholic Student Association. I was able to meet tons of great people who helped me get through the remainder of my first semester.

As soon as I began making new friends, I saw my grades improve, and I knew that I made the right choice by coming here.

Even though we are nearly two months into the fall semester, I am sure that there are still plenty of students who are struggling to fit in.

Whenever we prepare people for college, we tend to focus on things like preparing for the workload of college classes and living on our own. All of these things are important of course, but sometimes we forget how much our social interactions factor into our academic well-being.

If your college experience is just going to classes, you are going to have a miserable time over these next four years of your life. Getting involved and connected here on campus is very important, even if it is an afterthought.

Things will get better. Freshmen, if you are struggling this semester, if you are not doing well in your classes or you are having trouble making friends, it is all going to be OK. You have several more semesters of your college experience ahead of you.

If things get to the point where you feel like you cannot handle it anymore, do not be afraid to get help. The Counseling Center here on campus is a wonderful free resource that is well equipped to handle situations like this.

Trust me when I say that it is all uphill from here.

 

Dylan Meche

What challenges did you face during your first semester of college?

Raeleigh Joshlin Senior, Communication 

“I moved here from four hours away. So, probably meeting friends. I was kind of lonely the first semester. It was hard to get settled in.”

 

Brooklyn Sherrod Junior, Psychology

“The walk from freshman parking.”

 

Vivian McCalman  Senior, Music

“The biggest challenge was probably transitioning my study techniques from high school to college – where everything is very independent-based.”

 

 

 

Jaylon Turner Senior, Criminal Justice 

“The challenge I faced my first semester in college was time management. I felt like coming from high school, we didn’t get a good reading on what time management we needed.”

Daniel Lockhart Senior, History

“My first challenge was getting everything set up and getting acquainted with it. All that just getting used to it ‘cause it was a pretty different experience for me, seeing as how previously I was home-schooled the entirety of my life. ”

Kenneth Bell III Freshman, Engineering Technology

“The first semester of college, I faced the challenge of time management between having practice, getting study hall hours and math lab hours, and that was tough at first, but now I am used to it.”