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Adjusting to College

Welcome to Georgia Southern University! We are excited to have you join our community and want to help facilitate your transition to college.

Going to college and adjusting to a new lifestyle involves many changes whether you are commuting from home or have moved across an ocean. It can be thought of as going from one culture (high school or your previous institution) to a very different one Рwith a different language, norms, and expectations. Changes can be both exciting and sometimes scary. However, the more you can begin to think about and prepare for these changes, the more successful (and happy) you well be at the university. We at the Georgia Southern Counseling  Center want to offer you a few things to think about as you adjust to your college career.

Academics – College is often very different from high school. In high school your teachers often remind you of tests, assignments, and ask you to turn in your work if it is late. In college, you are given a syllabus at the beginning of the semester and are expected to be prepared throughout for exams and turning in your work. In addition, you are given more freedom and responsibility to attend classes. The challenge for many student is to decide whether they want to be a passive learner (i.e., an empty container; that just waits for a professor to fill it) or an active learner (i.e., someone who ensures that they learn what they need and will take initiative in the learning process).

Social Life – Will you be attending friends from high school or will you be the only one you know when you arrive at GSU? Those first couple of weeks of college can be difficult for some people. You may want to think about how you might want to meet friends. Often this takes a realization that you need to take some risks- for example, being the first on to initiate social contact or participating in activities for new student.

Family – Going to college is often the first time that a student leaves home. The student and family need to negotiate some new rules. How often should one call? Is it okay to talk about how one is doing in school? What happens if the student is not doing well either academically or socially? How often should the student go home? Starting to talk about these new ‘rules’ will make this transaction easier for the entire family.

Living – We encourage students to live in a residence hall. This is the best way to learn about campus and meet new people. Seniors often tell us that their best friends are those they meet their first year in the residence hall. Residence halls can be fun and exciting. One of the changes for many students is that living in the residence hall requires them to SHARE their room. You may want to begin to think about how you negotiate in order to make living in this new home as positive as possible.

Freedom – You will, in many ways, be on your own. How are you going to handle this new freedom? Will you go ‘wild’ or will you find balance between fun and academic requirements? Think about your goals and how you want to achieve them while on your own.

College is an exciting, scary and growing experience. We at the Counseling  Center are here to facilitate your journey while in college. Our staff is composed of psychologists who are trained to offer a variety of services to students-from individual or group therapy, career counseling, to providing outreach services to residence halls. Our services are free and confidential. When you arrive on campus, take some time to find our office and say hello. Once again, Welcome to Georgia Southern University!

Online Resources:

Set to Go: A Jed Program

For international students considering therapy, check out this article and video by the New Yorker.

Last updated: 7/29/2020