BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – College campuses around the nation are either already welcoming students for the Fall Semester of 2022 or preparing to.

Locally, campus activities are in full swing at Southern University as classes kicked off Monday (August 15) for the Jags. 

Image Credit: Southern University

LSU and Baton Rouge Community College students are also set to head back to classrooms, with both institutions preparing for a start date of August 22.

So, August is a significant month for a number of incoming freshmen.

Some will slide into college life with seemingly few issues and others may struggle to adapt. 

Those who encounter challenges as they acclimate to college life can take steps to make the transition easier. Six related suggestions are listed below.

#1 Plan to Have a Social Life and Be Open to New Relationships

This is a great time to learn how to balance a fulfilling social life with a career, in this case, your academic career. 

College life presents a host of opportunities to widen your social circle. To fully enjoy the benefits that come with knowing more people, you’ve got to be open to making new friends. How is this accomplished? 

For one, consider taking the initiative to make conversation with other students in class and in your dorm.

Experts also suggest that while engaging in small talk, make an effort to be positive and keep an open mind about the other person.

A website called Own Your Own Future advises, “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.”

It goes on to say, “By doing all this, you will manage to not only interact but also live amongst your new clique of friends who come from different cultures and backgrounds.” 

So, by being approachable, positive, and warm as you engage in small talk with other students, it’s likely you’ll form a number of lasting friendships. 

#2 Speak Up In Class and Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help  

Another way to make yourself known to fellow classmates and members of faculty is by raising your hand and actively participating in class discussions.

Along those lines, if you have questions about assignments, professors, teaching assistants, and advisors are always on hand to answer questions. 

So, don’t be afraid to use your voice and ask for help. 

You can also reach out to the student’s dean, mentoring programs, and fellow students. 

#3 Spend More Time On Campus 

There are usually a variety of events, meetups, and other on-campus activities held throughout the week.

To get more comfortable with your new community, join a few of these groups and get to know the other students and/or faculty involved. 

An article on Social Self suggests, “Even studying in public areas of campus or spending time in the library, gym, or other common areas provides more opportunities to meet other students. This can be especially important if you commute or aren’t living on-campus because you have fewer natural opportunities to meet people.” 

#4 Prioritize Self-Care 

If you begin to feel overwhelmed by course work and social obligations, remember that this is not a sign of failure. Many students begin to feel this way in college.

In fact, the American College Health Association reportedly discovered that 48 percent of college students said they’re experiencing moderate or severe psychological stress.

Some people mistakenly view this sort of stress as a badge of honor, but this is not the case. It can lead to burnout or mental and physical illness. 

So, go on the offensive when it comes to self-care and stamp out symptoms of burnout before it has the chance to take root in your life. 

According to Own Your Own Future, this can be accomplished by being, “mindful of your sleeping and eating habits. Always remember that sleep and nutrition are very important if you are to succeed in college. Take breaks between your study and class time. During the breaks, you can go for a run, walk or do anything that you are passionate about.”

The article also advises, “When you are unwell, do not hesitate to visit the college’s medical department. Share your issues with the relevant parties immediately you do not feel well to avoid escalating a simple issue to a complex one.” 

Essentially, you can make self-care a priority by:

  • Getting between seven and nine hours of sleep at night
  • Eating healthy meals
  • Exercising regularly
  • Taking breaks anytime you start to feel exhausted 
  • Talking to a counselor or therapist as needed
  • Seeing the assistance of a medical professional for any physical injuries

#5 Manage Your Time Wisely

It’s easy to take on a weekly schedule that’s either filled with hours upon hours of studying or hours upon hours of meeting up with friends and partying. Neither of these schedules are a balanced approach to college life. 

College Express recommends keeping a planner on your phone to stay organized. You can use it to record assignment due dates, time set aside for studying, test dates, social events, and time that’s just for self-care.  

#6 Avoid Procrastination

College life is typically an extremely busy life, and sometimes we simply don’t want to do what needs to be done. 

But procrastinating when it comes to studying or completing assignments can be detrimental. It may lead to pulling several all-nighters, which will leave you depleted of the energy required to fully enjoy this chapter of your life. 

College Express adds, “If you think it’s better to study all night and morning instead of sleep, you’d be wrong. It doesn’t help to study over and over again and never give your brain a chance to sleep on that new information. All-nighters will leave you without a foundation and total exhaustion. Not good.” 

To avoid procrastination, stay organized. Stick to the schedule you’ve created and be sure to prioritize self-care. This way, you won’t feel the need to put off course work and time set aside for studying. You’ll already have plenty of scheduled time to kick back and relax on your own or party with friends. 

Hopefully, one or more of the suggestions above will come in handy for students who are learning to adapt to life on campus.

Click here for an article from LSU’s Reveille with additional tips on how to adapt and thrive as a freshman.