Transitioning to college means stepping into this great unknown. You’re stepping into new living spaces, with new people, eating new food, as well as finding a new routine. For the last 18-ish years, you’ve lived with the same people primarily. We don’t lay that out to scare you, but it is an adjustment when learning to live life among the unfamiliar.
Whether you’re coming to Boise Bible College or attending another college, we want to help you with this new transition.
10 Transitioning to College Tips
Eat and sleep well; get plenty of fresh air; explore the town
Taking care of your body, especially sleeping well, is an important factor in your mental health wellness. In a recent study, researchers found that 50% of college students were impacted by depression and attributed this mental illness to a lack of sleep. In another study, it states that it’s not the amount we sleep but the quality. The research continues by saying, “if you want to increase your likelihood of feeling rested, follow the usual sleep doctor suggestions: exercise, maintain a healthy weight, reduce your caffeine, and wake up at a consistent time”. We understand that in the age of Netflix, Tik Tok, and late-night Taco Bell the idea of sleeping well in college is a lost art. However, this is an important factor in preventing mental illnesses, insomnia, and others.
Learn conflict resolution strategies
Remember, you’re moving in with people that you’ve never lived with or let alone met beforehand. While Boise Bible College, and others, try to place you with like-minded people to prevent major tensions, it’s bound to happen. Try to learn some conflict resolution strategies or learning to listen well. This will make a difference in how you transition, because you won’t be spending your time in tension but rather reconciliation. Roommates can be difficult, but the possibility of new friendships are worth it.
Get to know your advisor
Your advisor is someone to help guide you in making choices about classes and other academic items. These people have been around long enough to understand the process and offer valuable insight. However, don’t be afraid to challenge their suggestions or ask questions. In addition, they’ll have great ideas on how to succeed academically!
Take part in student life and spiritual life activities
A large part of college, especially Boise Bible College, is a community. The events and activities held on campus are for spiritual growth as well as deepening relationships. They offer the space for you to get to another person without the awkwardness of asking them to hang out when you barely know the person. In addition, we can’t spiritually grow if we are alone all the time. We are designed to be in community – biologically and spiritually (Gen. 2:18; 1 Joh. 1:7; Prov. 27:17).
Get to know your RA
The RA (Resident Assistant) and RD (Resident Director) live on campus with you and are equipped to help you. Get to know them while they get to know you. If you don’t “click” relationally with them, find someone else who is an upperclassman to build a relationship with as a mentor. They will help you navigate the transition to college and create space for you to process everything that you are experiencing.
Make academics a priority
. . . but don’t make academics an idol. If you are spending the money on attending college, then we assume that education an important value to you. However, in order to make your investment worthwhile, balance academics with a social life, taking care of yourself, and discipline. Making an idol out of academics may cause more stress, and if your personal expectations of getting straight A’s are unmet, you’ll likely feel a blow to your self-worth. While academics should be a priority, they shouldn’t be a golden calf.
Budget and learn money management
Paying for college doesn’t stop once you get to college. Remember, you have 3 more years to pay for college. When applying to college, think long term, pass your freshman year. Many colleges give more scholarships out for freshmen in order to recruit than for returning students. This means while you’re freshman year is paid for, the next 3 years may not be as well funded. In addition, you can help yourself by learning to budget and manage your money. College is affordable with effort.
Try something different
College is the time to spread your wings (wisely). The newfound autonomy can bring fear, but also, excitement. College offers many experiences you may not have encountered before, so try something different or do something you wouldn’t normally do (wisely). Learn a new skill or learn from someone with a different perspective. Join a committee. Do something different. You’ll likely grow and come to understand yourself better as well as make new friends.
Don’t overextend yourself
Yes, try something different, but don’t overwhelm yourself. Take time to slow down, learn the art of Sabbath, and rest. Including a rhythm in your life to really reset or learning to say to “no” when you’ve booked yourself full is nothing to feel guilty about. The American culture (and others) glorifies working late and being busy or productive. We’re here to tell you that it’s okay to stop, delight, and worship in order to prevent burnout and unhealthy habits.
Take one day at a time
Lastly, don’t worry about next week or even tomorrow. While it’s wise to plan, it’s also wise to take each day as it comes rather than spend time worrying about what might happen. Your transition to college doesn’t need to happen quickly, just take one day at a time, and step into God’s will as it comes.