How to Keep from Being Overwhelmed Your First Semester

College is an exciting time, and it can really open your eyes to a variety of new experiences and ideas. It’s a time to really figure out who you are and what you want to do with the rest of your life. 

But when you first arrive, it can feel a little overwhelming. That initial jump from high school to college can be so jarring. About 30% of college freshmen drop out after their first year. While a variety of reasons contribute to this dropout, it’s safe to assume that many students withdraw because college isn’t what they were expecting or they felt overwhelmed by the pressures, schedules, and responsibilities. 

So what can you do to avoid feeling so overwhelmed during your first year of college? Finding ways to manage your stress can make the experience easier for you. Let’s look at a few ways you can enjoy your college experience as soon as it starts, rather than letting it completely overwhelm you. 

Plan Ahead to Avoid Surprises

If you’ve never been much of a planner, college is the perfect time to start. You’re likely going to have a busier schedule than ever before, and it’s your responsibility to stay on top of it. Organizing your schedule and writing it down is a great way to avoid unnecessary stress and to make sure you’re never “surprised” by anything that comes of. 

Of course, it’s also important to plan ahead when it comes to taking time for yourself. Schedule in some time with friends, plan a trip to go home to your family or go one step further by planning ahead for a great Spring Break trip to de-stress. Heading to the tropical beaches of Punta Cana or skiing the slopes in Aspen can be a great way to unwind with your new college buddies. 

Simply put, staying organized and efficient will make it harder for things to “sneak” up on you. You’ll feel less overwhelmed when you know what’s coming. 

Blow Off Some Steam With Sports

If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, one of the best ways to blow off some steam is to stay active. Many colleges across the country have on-campus gyms or athletic facilities where you can work out almost any time of the day. Exercise is a natural mood-booster and can help to combat stress. 

In addition to exercising on your own, you can choose to join an intramural sports team on campus. These teams are usually a lot of fun and can get you involved in unique activities like flag football, volleyball, or even ping pong! 

A survey of 850 students found that those who participated in sports had better overall mental health than those who did not. Making your mental health a priority in college can mean the difference between whether or not you stick with it. You don’t have to be a star athlete to have fun and get active. 

Form Healthy Relationships

One of the best ways to make college easier on yourself is to form solid relationships. The friendships you develop in college will be the ones that last a lifetime! Whether you find common ground by playing sports, joining clubs, or becoming best friends with your roommate, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there to find people you can connect with. 

Finding your “community” in college will make you feel like you’re a part of something bigger. You’ll also have a built-in support system, so when things do start to feel overwhelming, you can turn to that support for help. 

It’s true that the initial shock of the college experience can feel a little bit overwhelming. But, by staying organized, getting involved in things, and finding people to connect with, you can live out that experience to the fullest and enjoy the next few years of your collegiate career. 

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