Adjusting to college: ‘Embrace the change’

Emma Daniel


I was initially unsure of how I was supposed to get used to college, but I soon realized that 3 a.m. cheeseburgers were suddenly a glowing opportunity.

Going away to school for the first time is stressful, as any change is. To enjoy college, embracing change is key. Don’t look for comfort in familiarity; try to look outside your comfort zone.

Finding friends may be the first challenge you run into in college. There are activities on campus that you can participate in to make friends.

There are bulletin boards in every building to inform you of organizations and events.

Visit the Office of Civic Engagement in Eldridge Hall to help make an impact on your community with volunteer work.

To get a faculty member’s advice for new students, I spoke to Hal Fulmer, the associate provost and dean of undergraduate and first-year studies.

“Adjusting to college life as a freshman is all about understanding balance,” Fulmer said. “Balancing classes, work, social activities, as well as personal health and development activities, is a real key to success.

“The first semester counts. In fact, it counts a great deal toward ensuring a successful collegiate experience.”

In the John W. Schmidt Center for Student Success in Eldridge Hall, I also got a chance to speak to Rebecca Blankenship, a counselor in student development.

Blankenship stressed the importance of getting involved, but not overdoing it.

“Don’t overwhelm yourself,” Blankenship said. “Academics is the most important, but we’ve seen the opposite side with students.

“They (students) don’t get involved, and they close off and isolate themselves.”

Eldridge has a great number of services, including tutoring, a writing lab, undeclared career counseling and financial counseling, to aid students who are trying to balance everything.

Blankenship also offered some advice for first-time students.

“Learn to manage your time, but you have to reach out and meet other people,” Blankenship said. “Branch out; that makes your college experience.”

In college, the workload is bigger, and with that comes stress. It can be difficult and expensive to get mental health services off campus.

Troy provides access to counseling for students. The Student Counseling Center offers free, confidential mental health services. The staff works on an appointment-only basis, but you can call 334-670-3700 to make an appointment.

Never forget that the reason everyone is here is education. If your grades start to drop, make sure to go check out Student Support Services (SSS) in the Shackelford Hall Annex. Academic counseling and support are just a couple of the ways the SSS can help you.

Ask your professors for help now. The academic environment at Troy is probably different from high school. Some freshmen may not be used to studying; college is another story. Study, even when there’s no homework.

It’s also a good idea to try to build relationships with professors. Never underestimate the power of knowing people; you never know when a professor or faculty member may be able to help you.

I ran around for three days collecting all the information I could, and I learned so much just from roaming campus. I made new friends by exploring and talking to people around Wallace Hall in my major department.

While walking around, pay attention. One of the best things about freshman year is finding all the interesting places on campus. My favorite find is the convenience store in the Math/Science Building. The store is a great place to stop for a quick snack between classes.

Keep your eyes out for potential hangout spots in nooks and crannies, and make a point to try new routes and take new paths. Don’t forget that Troy University has an app with a map of campus and emergency function, so if you get lost, you can safely get where you need to go.

Adjusting is a matter of putting yourself out there and experiencing college. Things may seem hard now as you try to juggle everything in your new life, but give it time and try to do as much as you can. It may be stressful now, but new friends and experiences will come to you over time.

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