Submitted by Hannah Schadler ‘27
Rule number one: You must be willing to rest in the unknown. Several times so far, I was overwhelmed by all the changes that college brought. For most people, the shift into college represents a considerable period of change and growth. It takes time to get used to the differences, but, with patience and flexibility, you adjust.
The three biggest areas of my life that I needed to adjust to in college were my spiritual life, my friendships, and college classes.
For a lot of people, the spiritual aspects of their lives were regulated on some level by their parents, and those decisions are now completely their own. That’s a big switch in a core part of life. One of my goals going into college was to spend more intentional time during the day reading my Bible, and I did... during the first week. As workloads got heavier and I got more tired, however, it became harder to set aside that time. If you aren’t intentional with your time, it’s easy to let things slip through your fingers. I’m still relatively new to college, so I’m still finding a balance for this, which means I need to set a more specific goal and do my best to make it happen. If you don’t get this perfect immediately, that’s normal; it just means it’s time to evaluate your priorities and adjust your goals to match them.
And of course, there’s our desire and need for friendship. For many people, it takes a long time to find close friends. In the first couple of weeks, it seemed to me that everyone at school had already formed groups and knew a lot of people. But as I talked to more people and got to know them, I found that other people felt insecure in their friendships and were open to getting to know me better too. If you are nice to others, they will generally return the gesture. Again, relationships take time; allow yourself that time, and you’ll reap the rewards.
The classes are very different as well. Even if you took college-level courses in high school, you must organize and motivate yourself to finish the work and go to class. No one is going to force you to do anything. You’re going to have to decide what is more important to you. As the semester has progressed, my class sizes have dwindled to the point where often only half the class or less will attend. Yet, teachers will sometimes do in-class exercises or give bonus points to those who make the effort to attend. What you value will become abundantly clear.
Yes, life in college is different than life at home. Yes, it’s a lot to take in at first. But, as many changes as there are, they very quickly begin to feel regular. The strange becomes routine. It will take time to adjust to college, but it can lead to a wonderful four years of learning and growing in community.
If you’re a soon-to-be freshman – or if you’re a freshman who’s still getting your feet under you at college – just know that soon enough all this will become natural. If you’re patient and are willing to evaluate your goals, you’ll do just fine! You’ve got this!